Just So We're Clear, Trump's Gag Rule Will Result In More Abortions.
On Friday, the Trump administration announced a new rule that would bar family planning centers that offer abortion or provide referrals to doctors that perform them. This is bad. Very, very bad. And it's also extremely unlikely that the Supreme Court, in its current state, will be striking this down.
The $286 million will be redirected to "faith-based" programs like crisis pregnancy centers. You know, those shady places that lure women in by pretending to be abortion clinics and then try to talk them out of having abortions? And also don't offer birth control or condoms or STD tests or anything else remotely related to family planning? Yeah. Those. They're getting $286 million for, I suppose, especially ritzy Bible studies or something. Because that is a thing that is very helpful to people and a good use of our taxpayer dollars.
Naturally, the usual anti-choice morons were very excited about all of this:
Via The Washington Post:
The move represents "decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an antiabortion group, said in a statement.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers now have to choose between shuttering their abortion services or moving them if they want to continue to receive federal funds. "Either way, this will loosen the group's hold on tens of millions of tax dollars," he said.
There is no "big abortion industry." It is a medical service. A legal medical service. That is all. Conservatives are the ones who want medical care and pharmaceuticals to be a for-profit industry, so it sure is weird of them to complain about something like this. Abortion, by the way, costs a hell of a lot less than a pregnancy does. On average, a vaginal delivery costs 30K and a c-section costs about 50K -- and sure, if you have insurance they'll pay for a chunk of that (though not all). A medication abortion costs about $350-$580, and a surgical abortion in the first trimester is $1500 at the most. If you're trying to make money, abortion, clearly, is not the most efficient way to go. There is a lot more money to be made in people having babies than the opposite.
It is already illegal (unfortunately) for federal dollars to be spent on abortion. People who rely on the government for their health care -- soldiers, veterans, people on Medicaid -- cannot have their abortions covered by their health insurance. Literally no federal money goes towards abortions, whatsoever. This rule explicitly targets funding for things that would actually prevent abortion, in order to, I guess, spite abortion. Genius move!
A recent study out of Rutgers shows that the global gag rule has resulted in more abortions, not fewer. In fact, as a result of Bush's Mexico City Policy (which was less strict than Trump's), women in Latin America had three times as many abortions as they did before or after. The same phenomenon has been observed in Kenya under the Trump administration's rule. Why? Because there were fewer family planning services available to lower-income women. Duh.
As noted forced-birth advocate Ben Shapiro is so fond of saying -- facts don't care about your feelings. The fact is, this policy will lead to more abortions. As much as idiotic anti-choicers might want it to be true, cutting off funding for family planning services is not going to make any more women decide to waltz into crisis pregnancy centers to be talked out of having an abortion. Even if their offices are gold-plated and have fancy crystal chandeliers hanging from every light-fixture. It's just going to make it that much harder for them to get other services that have absolutely nothing to do with abortion.
This move proves that they don't actually care about abortion, or babies, or whatever it is they claim to care about. They care about controlling women and they care about getting to spread their religion. If they cared about "life," they'd be worried about the fact that we have the highest maternal death rate in the developed world. They'd probably also think that everyone should have health care. They care about exactly none of these things. They want women controlled and punished and that is it. They want us out of the workplace and back in the kitchen, and they think this rule will help them get there.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse