OPINION: Presidential election will help determine fate of US reproductive rights

Presidents are split on the issue of abortion; Biden, Trump hotly contest the legality



The debate over reproductive rights continues to rage in the presidential debates and in the Supreme Court.


Election day is less than a month away, and there are many policies left to discuss. President Donald Trump leans toward pro-life while Biden leans toward pro-choice. This debate is one of the most controversial, so it’s essential to do the research, and especially to understand how the presidential policies could affect abortion rights in America.

One of the milestones in the history of abortion rights is the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Esther Hurni-Ripplinger, executive director of the Human Life of Washington, wrote in an email that there have been over 60 million abortions in the United States since Roe v. Wade.

“In addition to the tragedy of more than 60 million innocent lives being lost, we must also consider the devastating effect that abortion has on other populations,” Hurni-Ripplinger wrote. “Particularly, abortion exposes the women who have them to significant mental and physical health risks. Abortion also disproportionately harms minority communities, especially the African American population, which has reduced by an estimated 25 percent since 1973.” 

Human Life of Washington also mentioned that 80 percent of Planned Parenthoods are in minority neighborhoods.

There are skeptics about the company that founded the Black Preborn Lives Matter website, which can be found here.

Dr. Charlie Browne, medical director at an abortion clinic in Seattle called All Women’s Care, said minority groups are impacted because they tend to earn less income.

“If you look at the absolute numbers, certainly that is not the case. Another spinoff is that people of color tend to earn less, so they can less afford another addition to the family or may have limited resources and cannot have another child,” Browne said. “The reasons are many and not simply ‘Let’s get these women of color in so we can abort these babies.’ Basically, that’s not the attitude.”

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump have almost opposite agendas when it comes to this topic. Another point of debate between the two candidates is the funding of the Title X program. Browne said Title X funds preventative healthcare for women.

“Title X is a program that is federally funded for preventative healthcare for women who are low-income and maybe uninsured. It’s for breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing, pregnancy tests, contraception counseling and provision,” Browne said. “What it is not for is abortion services.”

Federal funds are legally not allowed to go to clinics that carry out abortion procedures, forcing places like Planned Parenthood to split their services between family planning and abortion provision.

“What many clinics have done, including Planned Parenthood, have a side that’s family planning,” Browne said. “Then they have a side that is abortion provision. What Trump did is he approved legislation and policy that those clinics could not get any federal funds for the Title X program.”

Hurni-Ripplinger wrote she supports Trump blocking Title X funding for those who perform abortions. She wrote that Trump’s administration efforts help protect preborn children and their families.

“By contrast, the Trump administration’s efforts to protect preborn children and their mothers from the dangers of abortion have been fairly consistent,” Hurni-Ripplinger wrote. “To note a few examples, he supported the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. He issued regulations to ensure Title X funding does not go to facilities that perform or refer for abortions.”

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a bill that, in most cases, makes abortion after 20 weeks unlawful.

Browne said time plays a role in late-term abortions.

“Any pregnant woman undergoes an ultrasound around 18 weeks of pregnancy. By the time those results come back, there might be some inconclusive findings. So she has to be referred to another center to have it worked out or followed by serial testing,” Browne said. “And sometimes that takes a few weeks … That is often why women would elect to terminate the pregnancy in the third trimester.”

Hurni-Ripplinger wrote she does support Trump and his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

“Amy Coney Barrett is a brilliant legal scholar and eminently qualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Hurni-Ripplinger wrote. “Human Life of Washington enthusiastically supports this magnificent nomination.”

Browne said Biden’s policies would help people who depend on these services.

“Biden has a history … that is more in line with the democratic policies to provide those provisions to keep and enhance provisions of abortion services,” Browne said. “So even if you take the abortion part of it, just by establishing and strengthening Title X, you have people who are the only source of access to healthcare and that being through Title X, you enhance and strengthen that program.”