On Friday, March for Life organizers gathered in Washington to spread their anti-abortion messages, filled with alternative facts and incorrect findings, with the aim to shame women and take away our control of our own uteruses. President Donald Trump was there, making him the first President in 45 years to publicly appear at the rally. Last year, Kellyanne Conway and Mike Pence attended, of course. Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush also took part in past March for Life rallies, though did so by loudspeaker unseen and telephone call respectively.
The President’s address took place in the Rose Garden, surrounded by youthful white faces and a sleeping baby (perfect for effect). Trump addressed the crowd with this message: “Right now, a number of state laws allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong. It has to change.”
One woman behind him smiled, another seemed to nod her head in agreement. No one seemed to notice the mistake, which makes me believe no one who “agrees” with him is really listening. This is just one thing of far too many that is extremely dangerous.
This was a flub (we suppose), however we still need to delve into this as it is. For a second, one could think that Trump cannot believe women have the audacity to birth a child in the ninth month. It’s apropos that he would think a woman could perform such a feat, such an act of power and be the ultimate force in creating life. He can’t handle that the pussy is a magic road where many babies come from. The word he meant to say, of course, is “torn” instead of “born” -- as in torn from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. He was trying to speak against late-term abortion, using a similar phrasing as he did during his campaign to appeal to pro-lifers. He once said, they “rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.”
But here’s the thing: This just doesn’t happen. No one is ripping babies from wombs in the ninth month.
Trump does have a habit of making mistakes with terms and words -- recall covfefe and mistaking "to" and "too" just to name two. But this shouldn’t be excused just because we know Trump does this all the time. Far too many people hang on his every word and believe them all as fact because he is the President of the United States and that title should come with truth and an upholding of the Constitution. It almost doesn’t exactly matter if he said “torn” or “born” because both are completely incorrect statements.
You can look to the Center for Disease Control for collecting the details, as well as OBGYNs who can attest to the fact that 91 percent of abortions happen before 13 weeks; 98.6 percent of abortions happen before 21 weeks. The “cut off” time period is between 22 and 24 weeks depending on what state you live in and here’s the most important part: A healthy woman with a healthy fetus just can’t walk into an abortion clinic beyond 24 weeks and get an abortion. The reality is that less than 0.3 percent of abortions happen at or after the 21 week mark unless there is an extreme genetic situation, a terrible accident which caused extreme trauma, and/or a life or death scenario. And these examples are very, very rare.
Let’s review this again: Ninth month abortions on healthy fetuses growing in healthy mothers just doesn’t happen. In fact, it’s just called birth. The technical term for me having my twin babies at 36 weeks and five days was “termination of pregnancy” and I have two thriving 8-year-olds now. One can say my babies were “torn” or “ripped” from my womb -- it was major surgery. I developed HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count), which is a life-threatening disorder, a more severe form of pre-eclampsia, and a leading cause of maternal death. I was in danger of having a stroke and/or seizure, and dying. The only cure to save my life was to terminate my pregnancy. And that’s what I chose to do -- I had an emergency C-section to deliver my babies and end my pregnancy. We’re all healthy and alive.
Medical terms can be tricky. Trump is easily and clearly confused by them (as is Pence). We have to really look at the whole situation and not just cherry pick the extreme parts and vilify women. Because that’s what this is about for Trump -- letting the March for Life types know that liberal women are killing babies and he’s not going to stand for it. Shoot your guns in the air if you agree! Pass me the health-insurance covered Viagra!
More rhetoric. This is yet another fear tactic that Trump is pushing, and another way to take women’s rights away because he fears us. He cannot handle that women have rights. My body, my choice. Your body, your choice. Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one. It really needs to be that simple.
The once “very pro-choice” Trump however continues to play to his base and tries to pass anti-abortion measures every chance he gets. He has made some strides. He did choose a VP in Mike Pence, who is as anti-abortion as one can get, as well as Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, and we can’t forget the funding cuts for international health groups that offer vital information about abortion. There are attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and our health care hangs in balance, most notably our reproductive health care.
This is one more way that Trump seeks to villainize women and remove our rights. The decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973 needs to be protected. Women’s rights need to be protected. Reproductive health needs to be protected.
Abortion rates are currently at an all-time low and have been on the decline. This is because we have had access to birth control and sex education -- though we still have a long way to go there. Currently, employers can deny birth control coverage to employees in the name of religious freedom. And talking about sex is still taboo for far too many.
All of this is an attack on autonomy, on choice; it’s an infringement on personal matters. Trump acts as if he cares so much about the fetus in the womb and yet once born, that care disappears, and it certainly isn’t there for mothers. He’s showing his support at a March for Life rally that happened days after the Women’s March, where people focused on equality and ending rape culture, and in this important area, he's silent.
That the answer to reducing abortions is not and never will be overturning Roe v. Wade. The way to reduce the number of abortions is to have free and accessible birth control (for men and women), to increase sex education in our schools, and have an open and honest dialogue about it instead of shrouding the topic in shame.
The shame here (with “born” or “torn”) is on Trump.