It wouldn’t be a day that ends in “y” without an abortion-related misstep by at least one of the GOP Presidential candidates, and Republican frontrunner Donald “None of my girlfriends had abortions” Trump started the week off with several. On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that Trump had taken “five different positions on abortion in three days,” first declaring that women should be punished for having abortions, then saying he agrees with Reagan and is pro-life with exceptions, then saying abortion laws should be up to the states, then saying what he meant to say in the first place was that clinics should be punished, and finally shifting gears again and saying that the legality of abortion is settled and that he won’t try to change the law.
Compared to that whirlwind of hot air, fellow abortion-hater and GOP also-ran John Kasich’s view on abortion rights was positively succinct, if not coherent. Kasich told CNN that he believes that when abortion is outlawed, “you’ll look at, you know, clinics whatever” to bear the brunt of legal punishment. The other Republican contender, Ted Cruz, also chimed in on Trump’s rapidly vacillating views, saying he wouldn’t punish women who get abortions because they’re the real victims, and should be treasured because of “the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.” This is your weekly reminder that all three of these candidates have garbage beliefs about women and would like nothing better than to turn women’s rights back 150 years.
Over in the party that doesn’t believe women should be housebound incubators, the two candidates are both strong supporters of abortion rights and women’s rights more broadly. However, the Atlantic’s Li Zhou argues, Hillary Clinton has a longer, stronger, altogether more convincing record, going back decades, of prioritizing bills and policies promoting reproductive rights, equal pay, and family leave. Zhou agrees that millennials shouldn’t vote for Hillary because she’s a woman–they should vote for her because she has placed reproductive rights, equal pay, family leave, and other “women’s issues” at the center of her platform, and because merely checking the right box is “necessary, but not sufficient” to be called a champion for women’s rights.
As California authorities raided the house of anti-Planned Parenthood video fabulist David Daleiden to investigate possible criminal activity by Daleiden and the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress this week, the National Abortion Federation released research showing that attacks and threats against abortion clinics spiked dramatically after Daleiden’s CMP released doctored videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood staffers negotiating to sell fetal body parts. (Not one investigation at the state or federal level has found any evidence of wrongdoing by the health-care provider).
Time reports that after the videos were released, “Clinic blockades almost doubled between 2014 and 2015, NAF said, and picketing increased fourfold to 21,715 reported incidents—more than any other year on record. The number of suspicious packages and hoax devices sent to clinics also quadrupled to 35 in 2015 from nine in 2014.” Inciting terror by spreading lies about “selling baby body parts” works, apparently, which is yet another reason Daleiden and his crew should be held accountable for the actions they’ve provoked.
Finally, here in this Washington, the Stranger has a must-read take on the Republican senate’s successful efforts to thwart women’s health legislation this session, including expanded access to birth control and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a NARAL priority that would have guaranteed reasonable accommodations to help pregnant workers stay on the job. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington ED Rachel Berkson told the Strnger, “It seemed like Republicans knew they couldn’t just explicitly be terrible to women… They had a sense of the electorate,” but that at the end of the day, they weren’t really willing to go to the mat.”