Trump, Pence, and the Future of Planned Parenthood
As I am sure many Skidmore students know, the results of the current election spell trouble for Planned Parenthood. Vice President-Elect Mike Pence has been at the forefront of the anti-abortion campaign – as well as against other women’s health rights – for many years. Many students scared of the Trump presidency actually find Pence to be the more dangerous of the duo. He has done all he can as Governor of Indiana to ban legal and safe abortions.
What makes this situation all the more dangerous is that Republicans have already passed bills to defund Planned Parenthood, most recently in 2015. And with the current war against the Hyde Amendment – which bans certain federal funding of abortions except if the birth would result in the death of the mother or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest – reproductive rights have been at the forefront of political talk for a while now. Trump’s win will most likely not result in the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and, if Pence gets his way, will only further defund the clinic.
In response, the Obama Administration proposed an act to protect Planned Parenthood funding. However, the response is not as final as many think. The plan will prevent states from stopping the funding of Planned Parenthood for political reasons. Sounds good, right? Well, there are still ways to weasel around this act and to defund the clinic. The act is specific as to how states could politically and personally react to abortions, thus leading them to defunding. This means that states can still defund Planned Parenthood, as long as their reasoning is not based around abortion; the ambiguity of the act's language ultimately results in political flexibility. This means the future of Planned Parenthood is very much still unknown, and hangs in the hands of supporters and donators.
So, what can we do? For starters: donate. Donate to Planned Parenthood or ask for donations for the holidays. There has already been an influx of donations to the clinic in the name of Mike Pence (he even gets a certificate sent to his home). If you want to join the conversation, go to Vox, a voices for Planned Parenthood club, which meets on campus every Monday at 7pm.
Most importantly: educate yourself. The best way to understand what is happening with the clinic and other targeted organizations is to keep updated and read what you can. Planned Parenthood is a safe and legal clinic open to all women. It does not just administer abortions. It also provides safe, clean, and informed procedures of women’s health to women from all walks of life.