On March 30, 2016, Donald Trump stated that he would want to “punish women” for seeking termination of their pregnancies (See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-abortion-punish_us_56fc497fe4b0a06d5804b1ee and http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/us/politics/donald-trump-abortion.html

Within an hour, his campaign quickly tried to edit those comments and qualify that he wishes to, instead, “punish doctors” for helping women end unwanted pregnancies. Here is the statement: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-regarding-abortion

Unfortunately, Donald Trump is merely articulating what has been the clear agenda of Republican legislators for years: punishing women by creating a climate in which Roe v. Wade (1973) becomes irrelevant, with the advent of TRAP laws: Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.

The result has been a return to the “coat hanger” – as access to safe and legal abortion has disappeared in dozens of states. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/opinion/sunday/the-return-of-the-diy-abortion.html?_r=0

John Oliver recently did a comprehensive piece on TRAP laws, which you can view here: http://www.newsweek.com/john-oliver-last-week-tonight-abortion-law-429026

On March 2, 2016, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments about TRAP laws in Texas in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (See: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/us-supreme-court-whole-womens-health-v-hellerstedt/471546/). It will soon decide whether Roe v. Wade has any real meaning anymore when it comes to abortion access. Several editorials about the Texas law appeared earlier this month. See, for example: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/policy-dose/articles/2016-03-02/supreme-courts-texas-abortion-law-case-is-bad-medicine



TRAP laws don’t just impact adult women; they impact any girl old enough to menstruate who can be raped. Do we really want to force preteen children who are raped and/or victims of incest  to become mothers because they can’t afford to travel to another state? These laws place unfair burdens on poor women and their children by punishing them for being poor and vulnerable by their biology. Contraception is typically inaccessible to many poor women, too, while many school districts even have bans on sex education (See: http://deadstate.org/texas-banned-sex-education-in-schools-now-theres-a-massive-chlamydia-outbreak/).

But the most morally egregious TRAP law was recently passed in Indiana, in which it is now illegal to terminate any pregnancy due to a genetic abnormality. (See: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/midwest/ct-indiana-abortion-ban-genetic-abnormalities-20160324-story.html). This will now force girls and women without means to care for a potentially profoundly disabled child that requires lifelong, complex medical care. But at the same time, the very legislators who support TRAP laws, also support cutting government benefits for the poor.

Many young women probably don’t remember the iconic image of Geraldine Santoro, whose image was the cover story of a 1973 Ms. Magazine. The picture spoke to millions of women trapped by biology and circumstance. Desperate to end her unwanted pregnancy, Santoro and her boyfriend embarked on a DIY procedure, which ended with her bleeding to death alone in a motel room. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerri_Santoro). Santoro was not identified until the 1990s, when a film was made of her life (See: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/31/movies/film-festival-review-the-woman-behind-a-grisly-photo.html). She died in 1964, and 52 years later, other women living under TRAP laws are at high risk of dying in exactly the same way.

It seems this month was a March to Access.