Image © Gage Skidmore
Let’s talk about vaginas.
If you have one, I assume you think you should be in charge of what goes into and comes out of it. If you don’t have one, you’d probably agree that it’s not your place to tell someone who does have one what they can do with it.
Unless you’re Donald Trump and his buddies.
Not content to simply control vaginas in America, Trump has decided that he needs to control ALL VAGINAS, EVERYWHERE.
On his first full day in office, Trump signed a bill putting a ban on federal money going to international groups that perform or provide information on abortions. Controlling vaginas was at the top of his agenda, even above that stupid Mexican wall he’s always banging on about. He just couldn’t wait to start messing with the world’s lady business.
This could have a major impact on NGOs that provide women’s health services in places where they’re desperately needed. Charity Marie Stopes International estimates that the loss of its services during Trump’s first term could cause 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths. It would also prevent them from reaching 1.5 million women with contraception each year.
But just because they’ve exerted their power over millions of international vaginas, don’t think that Trump and his friends have forgotten about American lady parts. Oh no.
The day after signing what’s know as the ‘global gag rule’, House Republicans voted to permanently ban US women from receiving any federal financial assistance for abortion too – for example, if they’re insured through public programs like Medicaid or purchase private health insurance through Affordable Care Act exchanges.
The Hyde Amendment makes exceptions for women who get pregnant through rape or incest, or if their lives are endangered by the pregnancy, but there are no exceptions for mental health issues, maternal health problems or fetal abnormalities.
The amendment already existed, but Congress had to vote to extend it each year. But no longer. Now it’s a permanent way to ensure that it’s super hard for poor women to end unwanted pregnancies.
Now, I’m not a big fan of Donald getting his tiny hands all up in the world’s vaginas. But I’m also not pro-abortion.
I don’t think being pro-abortion is a thing. No one is going around saying, “You know what would be great? If we all had more abortions.” But I am pro-woman (given that I am one, and was raised by one, and am raising one), and I think every woman has the right to choose what she does with her body.
I’ve been pregnant, and it’s hard in every possible way. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. You cry, you leak, you worry, you don’t sleep, you are stupidly fat for a very long time. It’s not something you should force someone to go through unless they’re really up for it.
And you know what’s even harder? Being a parent. This is a job that you really need to want, because it’s yours for life. Forcing people into a job that they’re not prepared for and can’t quit is as cruel as it gets.
I’ve often wondered why pro-lifers don’t push for free birth control. Surely if you want people to have fewer abortions, you should make it as easy as possible for them to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. Birth control in the US can cost up to $50 per month – money that many women simply don’t have. It should be more like the UK, where getting birth control pretty much goes like this:
Woman: I want some birth control.
Doctor: Cool. Here’s a bunch of it. FOR FREE.
Okay, there’s a bit more too it than that – the doctor will ask questions about your medical history first – but it’s a pretty straightforward process.
So, Trump and Trump’s buddies, how about putting less effort into controlling our vaginas, and putting a little more effort into giving us what we need to control our own?