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Though the US Supreme Court has controversially stood on a 1973 ruling that abortion is a “constitutional right” beyond the political authority of the country, the Trump administration is shifting in “tone and content” in upholding a pro-life culture.
In a span of 38 years, America legally refused 53 million fetuses to see the first light of day through abortion. It joins the ranks of other predominantly Christian nations such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Cuba, Romania, Ukraine, Sweden, and Russia with the highest abortion rates in the world, United Nations reported in 2013.
Just last year, Americans opposed the moral exegesis of the 6th commandment, “thou shall not kill” with 29% in favor of legalizing abortion under any circumstance it is chosen. On the other hand, 18% of Americans vowed it to be legal in none. About 21 states have passed proactive measures which expanded access to reproductive health and abortion.
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Abortion data of 2014 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) showed more than 920,000 abortions were performed on women. More than half of the number were women who were in their early 20’s, 34% were between 20-24 years old, and about 27% were done on women between 25-29 years old.
Generally, the abortion rate was 14.6 abortion per 1,000 women between 15-44 years old. When put into context, this means that 1 in 20 women will undergo abortion when they reach 20’s, about 1 in 5 women when they reach 30’s and 1 in 4 women when they reach 40’s.
About 75% of women who were counted in more than 920,000 abortions belonged to low income strata. About 49% of those women had incomes of less than 100% of the federal poverty level. This is equivalent to $15,730 for a family of two. On the other hand, about 26% of the women had incomes of 100-199% of the federal poverty level.
In addition, data showed that majority or 39% of them were white females, 28% were black females, about 25% were Hispanics and about 9% of them belonged to other ethnicities.
About 38% of more than 920,000 women who underwent abortion procedure did not have any religious affiliations, while 24% of the number were Catholics, 17% of the number belonged to mainline Protestants, and 13% of women were Evangelical Protestants.
About 75% of the women gave the following reasons for undergoing the abortion procedure, first is the concern for other individuals or having responsibility to other individuals; second is the financial repercussions of raising a child; and thirdly, the perception that having a baby would actually hinder with work or school.
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The Trump Steps
Limit access to birth control. Strengthen sex education, particularly abstinence. Limit abortion access.
The Trump administration is putting priority to these policies on reproductive health. The agenda to toughen further his administration’s pledge for “a culture of life” include targeted changes in the rules, regulations, and judicial influences. These include appointments of federal judges with postures on anti-abortion and heavily endorsed by pro-life groups.
Trump has recently taken leap when he restored the Mexico City policy. This policy delimitated opportunities of foreign NGOs involved in abortion from getting federal funds. In addition, he nullified the running guidelines which made it impossible for individual states to cut off funds from Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is a full-service family planning NGO which promotes sexual health care globally, with 159 medical and non-medical affiliates operating 600 clinics across the US.
Speaking before a gathering in the Susan B. Anthony List, an NGO front-running the anti-abortion campaigns, President Donald Trump reiterated, “When I ran for office, I pledged to stand for life, and as president, that's exactly what I've done. And I have kept my promise, and I think everybody here understands that fully.”
Social and religious groups have expressed their support to Trump's stance which came at the heels when the overall rates of abortion, birth and teen pregnancies are low.
On the other side of the spectrum, women’s rights and medical experts have expressed concern that the “shift” may result in increased incidences of abortion and unintended pregnancies. Another view reflected that Trump’s shift in policies could have an impact on the access of women on reproductive health and family planning.
According to Dr. Hal Lawrence, chief executive officer of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explained the consequences on the current administration’s policy shift. “The strange thing about this is that people who want to decrease the number of abortions is taking away access to the very services that help prevent them.”
However, Professor Michael New, economics teacher at Ave Maria University in Florida and pro-life advocate explained that, “The administration is seeking to redirect tax dollars away from entities like Planned Parenthood that treat abortion as a method of family planning and toward entities that affirm life and provide more holistic health care services.
The Trump administration puts value in every life, born or unborn. It argues that taxpayers’ money should not be used for abortion under the current law. The reforms it sought to implement support family planning and is “merely drawing a bright line between abortion and birth control.”