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Reviews |  The only regret of my time as head of family planning

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Reviews | The only regret of my time as head of family planning

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The 1994 Republican landslide helped show that protesting against abortion could be an effective political tactic. Years later, when Mike Pence, then still a congressman from Indiana, introduced legislation to abolish Planned Parenthood, I met one of the few remaining moderate Republican lawmakers in another conservative state. We had three health centers in her district, and she was always a supporter. She couldn’t vote with me, she said, her voice full of regret. She was convinced that the Republicans would run someone against her in the primary and she would lose her seat.

I could see this for the farce it all was when, in one of the most surreal moments of my life, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner asked to meet with me a few weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration. If Planned Parenthood stopped providing abortions, they promised, Mr. Trump would not only stop the organization from being funded, but he might just to augment funding for Planned Parenthood. But what they really wanted, more than anything, was to get Planned Parenthood out of politics. The meeting only underscored how few Republican politicians actually care about abortion; their opposition is to offer a victory to their base.

As we now know, Mr. Trump has kept his promise to appoint judges who he believes will help overturn the constitutional right to abortion. With enthusiastic help from Mitch McConnell, he confirmed the three Supreme Court justices now poised to overthrow Roe. If they uphold Mississippi’s unconstitutional ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, 26 states would be certain or likely to implement their own bans. We know what life will be like there, because Texans are living it right now. Amna Dermish, a physician in Austin, recently described to me what it was like to have to turn away patients just days after Texas imposed limits on abortions in the state. She called it a “moral injury. Having to do this several times a day is unbearable.

Looking back over the past 20 years, I see that I was not cynical enough to fully understand the extent of the Republican Party’s willingness to trade people’s lives for political power. I was convinced that if we provided excellent health care and showed how access to reproductive rights had helped women, as well as our economy, and if we kept most of the country on our side, that too would pass. I was wrong. As a movement, I know we couldn’t have worked harder, but maybe we could have been harder.

However, all hope is not lost. Despite years of headlines and sensationalists, the myth that Americans will always be divided on this seemingly intractable issue is just that: a myth. According to Gallup, 80% of the country thinks abortion should be legal under all or some circumstances. And last year, American Bridge 21st Century, in partnership with Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Emily’s List, found that a majority of voters surveyed (71 percent of women and 64 percent of men) believed Republicans were “out of step.” with their own opinions. on abortion. This may be because women from all walks of life seek abortions, regardless of their religion, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation.

Reviews | The only regret of my time as head of family planning

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