In Trump’s First Year, Anti-Abortion Forces Make Strides Despite Setbacks

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As a candidate, President Donald Trump promised abortion opponents 4 particular actions to “advance the rights of unborn children and their mothers.”

One 12 months into his presidency, three of these gadgets stay undone. Nevertheless, abortion opponents have made important progress altering the path of federal and state insurance policies on the problem.

Indeed, on Friday, as anti-abortion protesters gathered in Washington for the 45th annual March for Life, the Trump administration introduced two new insurance policies. One is a letter to states geared toward making it simpler for them to exclude Planned Parenthood services from their Medicaid packages; the opposite is a proposed regulation to permit well being care suppliers to refuse to carry out providers that battle with their “religious or moral beliefs.”

“In my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life,” Trump mentioned in a video tackle from the Rose Garden to the marchers.

A vendor sells buttons throughout the March for Life on Friday in Washington, D.C. (Julie Rovner/KHN)

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List, led the Trump marketing campaign’s Pro-Life Coalition. The then-candidate said he was dedicated to “nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court,” which occurred with the nomination and affirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch in April.

But regardless of many makes an attempt, Congress didn’t move a federal ban on abortions occurring after 20 weeks, didn’t reduce off Planned Parenthood’s federal funding and didn’t write into everlasting legislation the “Hyde Amendment,” which bans most federal abortion funding however wants annual renewal.

Still, there was progress on scaling again abortion and, in some circumstances, entry to contraception on the federal stage.

The administration made myriad modifications. It reinstituted and expanded the “Mexico City Policy,” which forbids funding of worldwide assist packages that “perform or promote” abortion. It issued guidelines geared toward permitting religious-affiliated and different employers to not provide contraceptive providers if they’ve a “religious belief” or “moral conviction” towards them, though federal courts have blocked the brand new guidelines from being applied. And simply final week it created a brand new “conscience and religious freedom” division within the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. That new division is designed to implement each current legal guidelines defending the rights of conscience for medical personnel in addition to the brand new rules.

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Most necessary, in accordance with many within the anti-abortion motion, the president nominated and the Senate confirmed a dozen and a half federal district courtroom and appeals courtroom judges who’re thought-about prone to rule of their favor.

Abortion rights supporters concede that whereas the priorities on their opponents’ want record weren’t completed, loads nonetheless occurred.

“This administration is the worst we’ve ever seen for women and families,” mentioned Kaylie Hanson Long of NARAL Pro-Choice America in an announcement. “Its attacks on reproductive freedom are relentless, under the radar, and aren’t supported by the majority of Americans who believe abortion should remain legal.”

Dannenfelser mentioned one of many greatest modifications is the variety of anti-abortion advocates now working within the Department of Health and Human Services in key roles. “I can say there is more unity in this administration than there has been in any presidency on this,” she mentioned.

Abortion opponents know their greatest impediment is the U.S. Senate, the place they don’t have the 60 votes required for many laws. “Without making advances in the Senate, it’s going to be really tough,” mentioned Dannenfelser.

Meanwhile, outdoors Washington, states continued their efforts to limit entry to abortion and household planning. States have handed 401 separate measures since Republicans took over most state legislatures in 2011, in accordance with the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights analysis and advocacy group.

During 2017, 19 states enacted 63 separate restrictions, mentioned Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state laws for Guttmacher. Among the notable legal guidelines was one in Ohio to outlaw abortions of fetuses identified with Down syndrome. Arkansas and Texas handed legal guidelines to ban “dilation and evacuation” abortions, a process that makes use of suction and medical devices to take away the fetus and is the most typical process for abortion after the primary trimester of being pregnant. Both bans have been blocked by federal courts.

Some of the brand new restrictions got here from states that haven’t been lively on the problem in recent times. A Wyoming legislation requiring ultrasounds to be provided to pregnant ladies in search of an abortion was that state’s first in 30 years, Nash mentioned.

But 2017 was additionally notable for states in search of to widen or guarantee entry to abortion and different reproductive providers. For instance, Delaware handed a legislation enshrining abortion rights, whereas Oregon and New York require non-public well being plans to cowl abortion with out sufferers’ price sharing. Legislators in California, which has a protracted historical past of defending abortion rights, have been pushing a invoice that may require public universities to offer abortion tablets to feminine college students who’re lower than 10 weeks pregnant. The bill stalled final 12 months, however it’s being picked up once more this 12 months.

As a consequence, mentioned Nash, “we are really living in a bifurcated country. The states that are progressive are looking to protect access” to abortion and contraception. “The states that are conservative are looking to restrict it.”

In different phrases, a nation that appears lots prefer it did 45 years in the past, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in Roe v Wade.

California Healthline Reporter Ana B. Ibarra in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this text.

KHN’s protection of ladies’s well being care points is supported partially by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Julie Rovner:”>, @jrovner

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