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Remember when conservatives thought President Obama was so pro-choice he would practically require women to have abortions to both show how thankful they were that they even had such a right and to demonstrate the importance of it?  No? Me neither. That’s because President Obama never said such a thing — nor did any media, right of center, speculate he might believe that. To do so would have been false, dangerously reckless, and just plain absurd.

Yet, ever since President Trump won the election, the media has been anxiously predicting the era of a woman’s “right to choose” will soon be over, as all Republicans are apparently working to curtail access to the wonder of abortion. (Strangely, nothing is said of the lives of actual babies at stake.)

In this, the Left not only acts unfairly, but misses the point altogether of where much of the conservative movement stands on abortion. Hint: It’s not in the middle of a back alley, beckoning women to get abortions via coat hangers, risking life and limb.

What Trump will do

In this New York magazine cover story, “Warning: Abortion’s Deadly DIY Past Could Soon Become Its Future,” the writer all but predicts Trump will single-handedly overturn Roe v. Wade, forcing women to have abortions illegally in secret.

Upon his November election win, Americans Googled “abortion” so much it looked like the “manifestation of collective anxiety about what would become an early flash point in the Trump administration—and a first test of whether much of the social progress of the past 40 years can be undone over the next four.”

The piece describes how our great grandmothers had to seek abortions secretly and dangerously: “This isn’t ancient history; this was the lived reality of many of our mothers and certainly of our grandmothers. And it is entirely possible that it could become our future as well.”

One of the things they worry Trump will do is what Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. (F, 52%) has often said Congress will (and attempted to do last year) — defund Planned Parenthood. The New York cover story suggests that if this were to occur:

60 percent of Planned Parenthood patients — who rely on those programs for Pap smears, breast exams, STD testing, and, of course, contraception would no longer be able to get that care from Planned Parenthood. For many, that would mean not being able to get treatment at all.

This could not be more false. Defunding Planned Parenthood simply means they won’t receive taxpayer dollars. In fact, last year the House Oversight Committee found Planned Parenthood was able to function without taxpayer subsidies. If the absence of taxpayer dollars forces the group to shut down, perhaps they never should have been in operation in the first place.

So is this an attempt by Republicans to handle taxpayer dollars wisely that doubles as an attempt to save the lives of unborn babies? Absolutely. Bloomberg did report last February abortion clinics were closing at a “record pace.” Since 2011, 162 clinics closed, not all operated by Planned Parenthood.

And while most of those closings were due to legislation, some closed because they were not fit to practice medicine — a fact that doesn’t seem to bother the Left. By contrast, the number of crisis pregnancy centers, which typically steer patients away from abortion, are growing at an alarming pace.

Babies have rights, too

New York mag explains, “The truth is, conservative activists and legislators have been chipping away at American women’s access to reproductive health care for years, with more and greater restrictions in more and more states.”

Remind me again why and with what logic should the government provide health care, birth control et al., for free? That’s the central issue.

While the above might appear to the Left as a strategic maneuver to strip women of the supposed right to choose, the statistics — abortion clinics defunded or closing and crisis pregnancy centers rising — more accurately show a two-pronged effort to stop murdering babies in utero.

The piece continues:

That the right wing’s focus is not simply opposition to abortion but also reducing women’s access to contraception gives away the game: Theirs is an effort to keep women from making decisions about when, if, and under what circumstances to have children, and thereby to keep them from exerting agency over their families, their work, their partnerships, their sex lives, and their bodies.

Sigh.

Speaker Paul Ryan, when asked if birth control would still be free when Republicans repeal Obamacare, called it a “nitty-gritty detail,” and was lambasted for his callousness toward what is apparently a central issue in U.S. health care. The issue is neither central nor an “effort to keep women from making decisions about when, if, and under what circumstances to have children.”

Remind me again why and with what logic should the government provide health care, birth control et al., for free? That’s the central issue. When my husband and I were newly married and just beginning to talk through if or when we might like children, it never occurred to me the government should pay for my birth control, just like the government does not pay for my dentistry.

While they’re not always successful at implementing this, the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility sometimes tries to enforce these ideas.

Ignorance is bliss

Despite the fact that Roe v. Wade was decided decades ago, the Left still feigns outrage when conservatives try to curtail abortions by any means, legislatively or otherwise. Articles like and the New York mag story show how they even pretend to not understand why.

Over the years, conservatives have embraced science from Princeton that shows when life begins, studies from Oxford that describe how babies feel pain in the womb, and how ultrasounds change women’s minds about their babies. The Right has encouraged marches, picketing, legislation, safe clinics, care for moms and babies postpartum, and adoption. In fact, conservatives are doing this so successfully it’s spawned abortion-armageddon hysteria. 

It’s baffling as to how the Left continues to insist, after four decades, that Republicans — who have repeatedly fought for women’s rights over the last century actually care more about limiting women’s freedoms than saving lives.

It’s such an obvious truth it’s hard to know if this ignorance is feigned or real. Only one of these efforts between the two political parties is beneficial for mom, baby, dad, and society. The other is harmful, if ever progressive and “liberating.” 

Conservatives can and do care about women’s rights and babies’ rights — the two aren’t mutually exclusive. And doing both doesn’t mean women are going to be forced to have abortions in back alleys; it means women might actually think twice about aborting their babies, thus sparing emotional trauma, life, and making a difference in society’s cultural makeup. That’s what conservatives are trying to do.



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Nicole Russell is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Federalist, The American Spectator, Reason, National Review Online, and Parents magazine. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator’s Young Journalist award. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and four children.

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