Forget Trump: US already punishes women for abortions

Donald Trump’s comments may be shocking, but he is not alone in his extreme views on assaulting women’s rights to their body, says Kate Baldwin

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On the abortion offensive: Trump
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Kate Baldwin
On 31 March 2016 00:54

Most liberals - especially those of us lucky enough to be on this side of the pond - have found moments of Trump’s election campaign laughable. We laugh in disbelief that he continues to drum up support in spite of his blatant racism, sexism and verbal assaults on every group in society that isn’t a white, heterosexual man.

The latest comments which advocated punishing women for having abortions (later back peddled to just those who provide the abortions) was just one in a long line of comments that have angered women voters across America - taking snide remarks of being 'disgusting', 'slobs' and 'fat pigs' to extreme levels.

Though as shocking as it is for many of us - again, especially those of us lucky enough to be on this side of the pond and not having to frequently defend our abortion rights - such a stance is not altogether unsurprising of Camp Trump nor many groups in America.

For despite two terms of a Democratic President, abortion rights in the US are increasingly at risk in certain states. A couple of years ago Senator Wendy Davis spoke for 11 hours to stall a bill that would close almost all Abortion clinics in Texas.

But despite this impressive display, new restrictions were passed that would close down all but 9 abortion clinics across the entire state. Such measures only  lead to more unwanted births, medically unsafe abortions undertaken, and a vast social divide between those can afford one and who can’t.

And while this case currently been blocked in by the Supreme Court, it’s not the only place in the US inadvertently - and blatantly - punishing women for unwanted pregnancies. Rennie Gibbs was accused of murder for the a stillbirth 36 weeks into the pregnancy following (unsupported) allegations that her cocaine habit caused it.

While in 2009, a young woman was charged with homicide by child abuse after police say her unborn baby died when she tried to commit suicide.

Vulnerable women continue to be punished for their ability to reproduce. The addicts, the mentally ill, and those who just don’t have the money to travel across the state to seek an abortion are being punished by circumstance everyday.

So while Trump’s comments were extreme, hideous and wrong, it does little value to demonise him as a lone lunatic agent advocating to - and directly trying to - restrict women’s rights to their bodies.

Instead, let us use his misjudged comments to bring women’s rights back to the table. American women deserve better than Trump. And they deserve universal access to abortion.

Kate Baldwin is a political activist and communications professional based in London @KateBaldwin18

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