Opinion: Is Reproductive Healthcare just a women’s issue?

Reproductive Rights supporter holding a Planned Parenthood sign in front of the Pennsylvania Capitol on Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Lynn Strauss

April 17, 2024

In this op-ed, Pennsylvania resident Lynn Strauss discusses the Republican Party’s conflicting stance on reproductive healthcare policy and the impacts on all Americans, not just women.

For as long as I can remember, and I just retired, so yeah…a long time, the Republican Party has organized around and campaigned on two-competing principles: abortion is murder and therefore must be outlawed but also the government should be small and stay out of the citizen’s personal business.

  • The Republican platform on abortion states, “The rights of the unborn child shall not be infringed.” The platform makes zero exception for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. Nothing is more important than protecting every fetus, every embryo.
  • In his 1981 Inaugural Address President Reagan famously said, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Nothing is more important than protecting American citizens from the intrusion of the government into the lives of individuals and families.

Talk about a catch 22. Republican policy: government must stay out of our personal lives AND “Republicans want to force women to stay pregnant against their will while also preventing women who want to get pregnant from doing so.” Congressman Lois Frankle (D-FL)

People often talk about family planning as if it is a female issue. Family planning allows individuals and/or couples to decide if and when to have children. Choices on the use of contraceptives, adoption, abortion, prenatal testing, and IVF are reproductive health choices made by males and females. Those choices affect single people, married people, and families.

Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. Suddenly, after 50 years of precedent, the power to regulate every aspect of abortion reverted to the individual states. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruled that the Constitution of the United States does not confer a right to abortion. This ruling overturned Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).

And thus began the assault on everyone’s right to intimacy, family planning, protection from the consequences of rape and even protecting the life of an expectant mother. Justice Clarence Thomas, in his opinion agreeing with his conservative colleagues, wrote that striking down Roe v. Wade should also open the court to review other precedents deemed “demonstrably erroneous.” Thomas continued “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

These rulings refer to the rights that legalized contraception, legalized same-sex relationships, and legalized marriage equality. Thomas believes each state should decide if birth control is legal. Yes, you read that right, birth control. Women, husbands, families, and doctors do not decide under what circumstances a child is brought into the world. MAGA decides.

In just the two years since a national right to abortion was overturned twenty-two states have banned or restricted abortion earlier in pregnancy than the standard set by Roe v. Wade. Life threatening pregnancy? Nonviable pregnancy? Raped? Used birth control but the birth control failed? Your state determines your right for family planning. But it might get worse. In 2023 Donald Trump announced, ‘I was able to kill Roe v. Wade’.

We live in an era of forced birth. This affects everyone. Women, husbands, families.

Before all 5 current Justices voted to overturn the right to abortion in 2022, from Clearance Thomas through Amy Coney Barrett, each put their hand on the bible and swore in their nomination hearings to tell the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. All five acknowledged the right to abortion was settled law. The precedent of the Supreme Court. Affirmed and reaffirmed. Of course, they all said they would listen with an open mind to every case. Ambiguous, deceitful, disingenuous, evasive, false, inaccurate. A few of those words may apply to each Justices sworn testimony.

Just a few years ago no one believed the Republican platform to overturn Roe and send the decision back to the states. Voters heard the Republican candidates, but after 50 years it became background noise. Stir up the base, raise money, and get their voters to the polls in rainy weather. All they wanted was ‘states’ rights – the right of states to pass and enforce laws and operate independently, with minimal interference by the federal government.

Abortion has been up to the states for just two years and extremist Republicans are already trying to move the goal post. Last month MAGA Republican nominee Trump tested the idea of a national ban at “15 weeks”. Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that’s done to determine whether a baby has certain genetic disorders or a chromosomal abnormality. It’s usually done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. A couple of days ago Trump reverted to states rights. And after that new trial balloon, swing state Arizona’s Supreme Court outlawed abortion based on a law from before Arizona became a State. That Republican moral certainty that abortion is murder is looking like maybe not such a popular platform. So the new MAGA platform has swung from states’ rights, to national ban, to states’ rights to so convoluted that voters have no idea.

IVF is already not available in all states. The Alabama Supreme Court temporarily suspended the practice of IVF after it ruled that embryos are the same as children under state law. Alabama is one of 13 states that have ‘personhood laws’ that set up a legal roadblock to IVF treatments. MAGA extremists are looking to ban birth control. Think it won’t happen? A Louisiana House committee passed a bill saying that “human personhood” begins at the point of fertilization. This could potentially be used to outlaw Plan B drugs, IUDs and other forms of birth control. And Justice Thomas already indicated he agrees.

In 2024, in the United States, the reproductive rights of women, girls, men and families to obtain IVF, birth control, prenatal healthcare, and abortion are all under attack by the government. When the government takes control of women’s bodies, the government controls who has a family and under what circumstances. Who does that effect? Everyone.

Related: A second Trump term could lead to abortion and IVF bans

Author

  • Lynn Strauss

    Lynn Strauss is a recently retired small business owner. From 2010 thru 2024 she was the owner operator of an interior landscaping business in the five county Philadelphia area and northern Delaware. She is married and the mother of three adult children. Lynn became politically active after the 2016 election. She is currently a member of Chester County Marching Forward and a member of Women for Biden Harris.

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