Before any election, it’s crucial that the voter knows where they stand in the political realm and understands the ways in which their vote can come back to affect them directly.
I am a white, cisgendered female, and I’ve been grateful to live the unbothered, dare I say, privileged life that I’ve been living these past 21 years. The name Trump leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Everything he says, does and doesn’t do irks me for just about every reason possible. But despite my intense dislike of the man, I haven’t yet been directly affected by his policies or absurd requests, and for that I would call myself lucky, or at least luckier than most.
As I’m sure is the case with many others, my primary reason for voting is to replace this current man who sits in office. America has been the butt of every joke in a multitude of countries for too long, a trend that desperately needs to end.
But in the last four years, the threat has moved from jokes to my personal rights being challenged. More specifically, the right to access safe and legal abortions.
That’s why I am voting to protect the right of women to choose for themselves which path they must take in a time of unparalleled uncertainty. I am voting for the revitalization of the female voice. I am voting to help scared, young women across the world not feel so helpless. I am voting to liberate women who are suffocating under the totality of a patriarchal voice. I am voting to secure the rights of women to seek out a safe, legal abortion.
In the last four years, the Trump administration has made it increasingly more difficult for women to access safe, legal abortions.
A global “gag rule” exists, first established by Reagan in 1984, that prohibits any foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO) that receives family planning resources from the U.S. from providing abortion services.
In 2017, the Trump administration expanded this gag rule to prevent any NGO that receives U.S. global health assistance from conducting or even advocating for abortion services. This is a massive threat for women across the globe, as this expansion prevents a much larger, more diverse population from accessing abortions.
To better understand just how massive this increase was, take a look at the numbers: the policy, pre-expansion, affected about $600 million worldwide in family planning funding. Now, the policy affects about $12 billion worldwide in all sectors of public health funding.
In 2019, the gag rule was expanded again, this time to include all foreign NGOs and sub-recipients, even those that don’t receive U.S. global assistance.
Immediately, organizations around the globe that in no way are supported by the U.S. had become subject to an outrageously suppressive policy simply because of a tie to another organization that does receive U.S. funding.
The gag rule has instilled fear and uncertainty in women– intimidating them from seeking critical information about their health. Foreign health care providers are also now at risk of losing financial aid if they refuse to accept the terms of this policy. NGOs are left with no choice but to refuse certain information, as well as their honest advice, to their patients.
Trump does not dance around the issue of abortion. No one is left wondering where he stands. He strategically uses his executive authority to ensure that abortions are difficult to come by without making them outright illegal. A vote for Trump is a vote against the health and safety of many women.
The Trump administration has done more in support of anti-abortion than simply tighten up the vocabulary on this policy.
Trump nominated Republican Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a position he successfully assumed back in early October of 2018. In the duration of his two years on the court, Justice Kavanaugh has been a reliable vote for conservatives, tending to push the court right, according to Time.
If this weren’t nerve wracking enough, the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has left an empty seat on the Supreme Court. The landmark decision of Roe v. Wade is hanging on the line. The next person chosen to fill this seat could potentially determine whether or not abortion is still legal in a year or two, if not sooner.
Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday. Barrett, if chosen to fill this vacancy, would confirm a 6-3 conservative majority and would be Trump’s third nominee sitting on the court.
In an interview with AP News, Barrett called herself a “faithful Catholic” but stressed that her religious beliefs bear no weight on her duties as judge. In a 2016 interview, Barrett said she doesn’t think Roe v. Wade is likely to be overturned, but she could see tighter restrictions being placed on legal abortions.
However, it’s still not certain whether Trump will successfully fill the seat on the Supreme Court before the November 3rd election. This means there is still a chance that, if elected, Biden would be able to nominate a Democrat with liberal views on abortion.
I will not sugar coat Biden’s views on abortion. He is a religious man and has maintained a very middle-of-the-road stance throughout his political career. In his 2007 book Promises To Keep, Biden writes, “I’d like to make it easier for scared young mothers to choose not to have an abortion, but I will also vote against a constitutional amendment that strips a woman of her right to make her own choice.”
While I don’t think Biden would jump at the opportunity to drive you to a clinic, he would not try and stop you from going. Biden supports a woman’s right to make decisions about her body, and when you boil this argument down, that is what it’s all about. It is as simple as that.
Coming to terms with the reality of this situation is not an easy thing to do. Honestly, it feels like I’m living in a dystopian society, but that’s also because I have been very lucky and have always had control over my thoughts, my decisions and my body.
Trump has successfully stripped women of their autonomy, and will continue to do so if he is elected for another term. Another four years under the current administration could be detrimental to the already fragile state of our nation.
Before you put your pen to the ballot, I have to ask: do you really understand what actions your vote is supporting?
Coulture’s mission statement says that we aim to be a magazine for people of all shapes and sizes, for those who speak up and stand out. We recognize that it is important to hear from people with personal views, strong perspectives, and something to say. This article is part of Coulture’s “What I’m Voting For” initiative where members write about the issues they care about in the 2020 election.