No need to worry about Roe v. Wade overturning; we already have TRAP Laws.

Overturning Roe v. Wade, as presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested would happen should he be elected president, is the least of American women’s worries. The real issue we should be focusing on today and not what could happen come January are TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion) Laws. They exist and they are preventing many women from obtaining the safe abortion they want and need. TRAP Laws are a product of the anti-choice movement looking to “impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers—but not other medical professionals—in an obvious attempt to drive doctors out of practice and make abortion care more expensive and difficult to obtain” argues Pro-Choice America.

The unnecessary and burdensome regulations range anywhere from requirements on room size and corridor width to the distance from the nearest hospitable but are all characteristically overcompensating for patient safety when it is in fact unneeded. “State standards, however, do vary, with the most burdensome standards in place in states such as Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia” reveals the Guttmacher Institute.
Here are some of the statistics provided by the Guttmacher Institution illustrating what some states are doing through TRAP Laws to prevent women from obtaining abortions:

  • 25 states have laws or policies that regulate abortion providers and go beyond what is necessary to ensure patients’ safety; all apply to clinics that perform surgical abortion.
    • 15 states’ regulations apply to physicians’ offices where abortions are performed.
    • 18 states’ regulations apply to sites where medication abortion is provided, even if surgical abortion procedures are not.
  • 21 states have onerous licensing standards many of which are comparable or equivalent to the state’s licensing standards for ambulatory surgical centers.
  • 20 states have specific requirements for procedure rooms and corridors, as well as requiring facilities be near and have relationships with local hospitals.
    • 11 states specify the size of the procedure rooms.
    • 10 states specify corridor width.
    • 10 states require abortion facilities to be within a set distance from a hospital.
    • 8 states require each abortion facility to have an agreement with a local hospital in order to transfer patients in the event complications arise. (Including requirements on clinicians a total of 21 states require a provider to have a relationship with a hospital.)
  • 11 states place unnecessary requirements on clinicians that perform abortions.
    • 11 states require abortion providers to have some affiliation with a local hospital.
      • 4 states require that providers have admitting privileges.
      • 7 states require providers to have either admitting privileges or an alternative arrangement, such as an agreement with another physician who has admitting privileges.
    • 1 state requires the clinician to be either a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist or eligible for certification.


In 2015, the Supreme Court decided to take on the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which brought before the court “two provisions in a Texas law – requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and requiring abortion clinics in the state to have facilities comparable to an ambulatory surgical center”. This is a very typical TRAP Law.

But on June 27, 2016, the Court ruled 5-3 on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion. The next day the Supreme Court refused to hear challenges from Wisconsin and Mississippi where federal appeals courts had struck down similar laws. Perhaps this was a small victory and a move in the right direction for Pro-Choice policy. The staying power of the decision is yet to be seen. Your move Anti-Choice proponents.

And that’s your #ExpertOpinionoftheWeek

Written by: Lauren King


How Abortion Made Clinton Radical and Trump Establishment

During the final Presidential Debate on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were asked a question about the Supreme Court, which eventually led to the two presidential candidates discussing the topic of abortion.

Obviously, both Clinton and Trump took wildly different positions on the issue, both as a whole and as well as how it relates to the Supreme Court. Clinton defended the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion access, and promised to appoint Justices who would uphold the ruling. Trump, on the other hand, promised to put Justices on the Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade and remand the decision on abortion back to the states.

Furthermore, the two candidates diverged when it came to what has been termed as late term abortions. Trump painted a picture of babies being ripped from the womb and killed, however that is not the case. Late-term abortions rarely occur, and when they do, it is because of serious risks to the mother’s health or severe fetal abnormalities. Trump accused Clinton of supporting this practice, after which she clarified the medical reality of the procedure and explained why it can be necessary.

All of this was expected from both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as they appeal to party bases and activists alike. What was most interesting about the abortion debate is how it framed both 0f the candidates. One was revolutionary; the other, run of the mill.

By decidedly standing up for women’s bodily autonomy, Clinton whole-heartedly embraced the label of first female candidate for President. Hillary Clinton, the potential first female President in the history of the United States, stood up on the debate stage and took down a man who was trying to control and limit the choices that women should be making for themselves. Rather than a vague, superfluous defense of abortion and Planned Parenthood, Clinton gave impassioned reasons as to why both the practice and the institution are necessary to the health and well-being of women across the country.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, employed the same rhetorical fallacies and policies that Republicans and anti-abortion activists have been using for ages. For a candidate so dedicated to railing against the “Republican Establishment”, Trump was the physical embodiment of decades of misogyny and anti-choice policies. He spouted the same lies that Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, who Trump defeated in the primaries, used earlier in the year.

On that debate stage, during the time that abortion was being discussed, the two candidates flipped their narratives: Hillary Clinton was the radical outsider and Donald Trump was the establishment puppet.

Ethan Flanagan

#AMainstreamMessage: Trump and Toomey: Anti-Abortion Coalition?

There are Clinton and Trump competing for the presidency, and, in Pennsylvania, there is McGinty(Democrat) and Toomey (Republican) each running for Senate from PA. The campaign relationship, between the two PA, political officials can be described as very similar to the tumultuous relationship between the presidential candidates.

On issues like abortion, candidate Mcginty is for abortion rights and has been endorsed by Emily’s List. McGinty’s Republican counterpart has an opposite view. The New York Times reports, Pat Toomey is known to have a pro-life stance, and he even once voted to fund health care establishments that do not provide abortion information. Also, Toomey wants to defund Planned Parenthood. This PA politician holds similar, if not, the same positions on political issues like abortion as the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

A “Trump America” could be the same as a “Toomey Pensylvania” because things like abortion are not policy priorities for these republican candidates. Recently, in The Washington Post, the news outlet reported on the Pro-Clinton super PAC ad that takes notice of the anti-abortion Senate candidate supporting Trump’s comment on enforcing punishment on women who choose to receive abortions if they are banned, and their doctors. The punishment comment was made by Trump earlier in the year, but it remains relevant. Trump and Toomey, apparently, do not agree with a woman making that difficult decision for herself. Then, if she does then she will be punished, and this does not seem right.

This news ad, sponsored by a political action committee that supports Clinton, attacks Toomey and it shows the comment Toomey made after Trump made his “punishment” comment: “I would support legislation in Pennsylvania that would ban abortion, and I would suggest we have penalties for doctors who perform them.” The comment proves how similar the republican candidates are. Toomey for Senate would not be in the interest of women who want to be able to choose for themselves.

The purpose of this ad was to show the conservative similarities and to show the support for a Democratic, Clinton view for America. Also, it released so that the Democrats have a better chance at gaining back control of the Senate.

In conclusion, Anne Caprara, executive director at Priorities USA made a moving comment about Toomey: “Pat Toomey and Donald Trump are one in the same when it comes to being wrong for the women of Pennsylvania who deserve a senator and a president who won’t punish them or their doctors for making decisions about their own health care. We can’t allow Pat Toomey and Donald Trump to hurt Pennsylvania’s women by doling out punishments for abortion.”

by Rodesha Washington


Occupy Democrats Fact Check Trump

Occupy Democrats, a political organization and information website formed in 2012, posted an article on Facebook Thursday morning about Trump’s statements on abortion Wednesday night at the final Presidential debate The article was posted in response to Trump’s statement “I think it’s terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”. The article refutes the claim that this kind of abortion exists using the first hand account of a woman who had a late-term abortion.


In the article, the woman, Alyson Draper, tells the story of the conditions which required her to undergo the procedure. She refutes the image Trump creates of violent medical procedures done to women who enjoy killing their children by telling a humanizing story of the reality of late-term abortion and the heartbreak women who undergo it have to face. Many Facebook users commented with words of support for this brave woman, and with words of disgust for Trump’s comments. For obvious reasons, most of Occupy Democrats’ Facebook followers are pro-choice, and are therefore more likely to already support a woman’s decision of late-term abortion. However, that does not take way from the importance of sharing stories such as this.


I related this to the video we watched about the Move On effect. In his presentation, David Karpf spoke about the phenomenon of organizing without organizations. Voters come together to form groups online that are able to reach people all over the world, and encourage political participation. Occupy Democrats is an example of one of these groups. The way Occupy Democrats works is that their website is maintained by people in different places throughout the country, and the work they do is to help keep Democrats everywhere informed and mobilized. The most essential participation is through subscribing to their emails. Because of their online participation, they are able to reach so many people (more than offline organizations could due to costs), raise money for specific causes quickly, and to spread news that is current and relevant. This is also a phenomenon that is exclusive to the Left. Without the ability to assemble publics online, the Right misses out on the impact and benefits of the Move On Effect.


Sara Leonetti

#ExpertOpinion: So where is this money coming from?

As of September 30, 2016, the Hillary Clinton campaign had raised $1.1 billion compared to the Donald Trump campaign’s  $712.1 million. As of September 30, 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign had $68.4 million left to burn compared to the Donald Trump campaign’s $50.3 million.
With such a large amount of support, where do supporters and opponents of women’s reproductive health and rights fall in their donations towards the two candidates? In the case of the women’s issues overall, a total of $24,794,008.00 were contributed. As shown in the graphic belimg_3623ow, most contributors tended to donated 100% of their contributions to one party over the other. Only two organizations, EMILY’s List and the Women Under Forty PAC split their contribution totals among Democrat and Republican candidates, but even so, EMILY’s list donated a mere 0.6% of their $3,220,580.00 in contributions or $19,3750.02.
Diving deeper into financial contributions of various interest groups, I decided to analyze the contributions based on an individual issue. Looking at the issue of abortion policy, contributions were divided among anti-abortion and pro-abortion supporters. For those contributing on the basis of anti-abortion support, $992,551.00 were contributed during this election season by four groups. Unsurprisingly, the groups gave overwhelmingly to the Republican candidates. Susan B. Anthony List stood alone in contributing 5.4% or $4,967.00, of the $91,983.00 to a Democratic candidate.
On the other hand, eleven organizations contributed to the pro-abortion initiative contributing $2,599,803.00 to support the issue. Pro-abortion supporters were even more decided in their initiative to support democratic candidates with only Planned Parenthood contributing a very low 1.6% to a Republican candidate totaling $14,450.62 out of the $903,164.00. Interestingly, pro-abortion policy interest groups contributing 38% more in funds than interest groups supporting anti-abortion policy. It is important to note however that only four interest groups contributed on behalf of anti-abortion policy compared to the eleven supporting pro-abortion policy.
So how exactly our interest groups helping candidates not only in supporting the issue effort but also the candidate? Well, Planned Parenthood is a great example of this effort contributing money in order to create powerful advertisements on behalf of Hillary Clinton like the two included below. Have a look!
And that’s your #ExpertOpinionoftheWeek
Written by: Lauren King

#AMainstreamMessage: “Grabbing” Trump by His Word

On Friday, October 6, 2016, before the second Sunday night Presidential debate, a video was released of Donald Trump, unknowingly being recorded, using  vulgar and abusive language when talking about a woman. Trump’s conversation, with at the time Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, was him bragging about being able to do things like grope women or even go as far as to, in Trump’s actual words, “Grab ’em by the pu**y” simply because he is a celebrity. Trump’s offensive language insinuated that he condoned and performed acts of sexual assault. During the second debate, co-host Anderson Cooper wanted to make it clear that Trump was talking about sexual assault on this video, but the presidential candidate tried to avoid the question. Cooper assertively kept asking Trump the question until the candidate said “No, I have not.” in the middle of trying to change the topic by mentioning he will keep the country safe.

The video of Trump’s lewd comments was him showing America who he truly is and America should “grab” him by his word. Also, Trump should be taken by his words when he brought up what he was looking for in a potential Supreme Court justice. The LA Times  reported that Trump said he wanted to appoint a justice that resembled the late Scalia. Justice Scalia was a conservative, known for opposing things like LGBTQ rights and abortion. If Trump was to become president what would happen to reproductive rights in America? Access to things like preventive health care would lessen greatly. Reproductive health organizations like Planned Parenthood would most likely be defunded. There would be a repeal of Roe v. Wade, meaning abortion would probably be a thing of the past.

A list was released by Trump showing the names of judges that could possibly be appointed to the Supreme Court if the Republican candidate won. This list read names that displayed Trump’s hopes to unify the Republican party by only listing conservative judges. Another article from The LA Times wrote that Trump chose judges that have been “skeptical” in the past on issues of abortion and reproductive rights.

In The Wall Street Journal the article noted how during the second debate Clinton even warned that the justices that would be appointed by Trump would overturn abortion rights. Trump’s plan does not support the woman’s right to choose and it does not appeal to women voters.


by Rodesha Washington (October 14 @ 11:40)

How Dangerous a Trump SCOTUS Could Be

During Sunday night’s debate, the candidates were asked a question about the Supreme Court, specifically what aspects of choosing a Justice would be most prioritized.

Hillary Clinton, answering first, rattled off a list of ideals that she believes a potential Supreme Court Justice should uphold: overturning Citizens United, protecting voting rights, not overturning gay marriage, and also protecting a woman’s right to choose by not getting rid of Roe v. Wade. Clinton went on to attack Donald Trump for floating names of potential Justices who would do just that. Donald Trump did not respond directly to those comments about picking anti-choice Justices in the moment.

However, in late September, Donald Trump released names of people he would potentially nominate to the Supreme Court, were he ever elected. Notable among those names is Charles Candy, a current justice on the Florida Supreme Court who led the congressional push against “partial-birth abortions”, a term Trump’s running mate Mike Pence brought up in the Vice Presidential Debate.

While Hillary Clinton has not named specific people she would like to nominate as Supreme Court Justices, by answering the debate question with a defense of a woman’s right to choose, it is obvious where her position is on this.

That begs the question: what would reproductive rights look like with a Trump or a Clinton Supreme Court?

With Trump as President of the United States, he would nominate Supreme Court Justices who would ensure that Roe v. Wade is overturned. There could be further repercussions against reproductive rights. With Trump’s focus on repealing Obamacare, that could lead to women losing access to birth control, as they potentially could not afford it without the Affordable Care Act. A Trump-chosen Supreme Court could see more cases like Gonzales v. Carhart or Zubik v. Burwell, both restricting women’s access to abortions and birth control.

In short, a Trump presidency, a presidency where he could potentially be picking Supreme Court Justices, would be disastrous for women’s reproductive health.

Ethan Flanagan