Donald Trump’s comments are horrific — and telling.
All of the Republican frontrunners for president want to make abortion illegal. Now Donald Trump has said how he’d enforce that prohibition: punishing women and doctors.
Donald Trump can try to distance himself from his comments all he wants. But we all heard what he said. As Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
Donald Trump keeps showing us who he is. We should believe him.
But it’s important to remember that he’s not alone. Donald Trump is just saying what Republican politicians across the country believe — everyone who has signed and voted for laws to defund Planned Parenthood, force women to undergo invasive and medically unnecessary procedures before ending a pregnancy, mandate that doctors recite misleading information to patients, and shutter every abortion provider for miles. These are laws that are meant to shame women and block their access to health care. That’s their purpose.
We don’t need to imagine the consequences of these laws. It’s unfolding right before our eyes.
Right now, the Supreme Court is weighing whether a Texas law imposing unnecessary, expensive requirements on doctors who perform abortions will be allowed to stand. It’s the biggest challenge to Roe v. Wade in a generation. There are so few abortion providers in Texas that getting an abortion can mean taking time off work, finding child care, driving halfway across a state the size of France, and spending a night in a hotel — any one of these things many women simply can’t afford. If the Supreme Court rules that this law is constitutional, there could be just 10 abortion providers left in all of Texas — a place that 5.4 million women of reproductive age call home.
If you have to jump through multiple hoops to access a right, it’s like not having that right at all. It’s a privilege for the wealthy. And when politicians put up barriers that make it all but impossible for low-income women to get an abortion, they’re jeopardizing women’s health, economic security, and futures. That’s just plain wrong.
I come to this issue as a woman, a mother, a grandmother, and a former lawyer. I also come to it as a former First Lady and Secretary of State. On behalf of the United States, I traveled to places where girls are married off as soon as they’re old enough to bear children, because their worth is determined by their fertility, and where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of hardship. I visited countries where governments have strictly regulated women’s reproduction — either forcing women to have abortions or forcing women to get pregnant and give birth.
Everything I’ve seen has convinced me that life is freer, fairer, healthier, safer, and far more humane when women everywhere are empowered to make their own reproductive decisions.
And everything I’ve heard from Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates for president has convinced me that they have no regard for women or our ability to maintain autonomy over our own lives and futures.
They all want limited government — except when it comes to intruding on women’s health.
Reproductive health and rights are a fundamental part of women’s health and rights. And reproductive health includes abortion. So defending women’s health and rights means defending access to abortion — not just in principle but in practice.
In 1995, I traveled to Beijing for the Fourth U.N. World Conference on Women. I addressed human rights abuses in China — including violations of reproductive rights. The message of that conference still echoes around the world today: women’s rights are human rights. And reproductive rights are human rights, too.
We need to repeal laws like the Hyde Amendment that make it harder for low-income women, and disproportionately women of color, to exercise their full reproductive rights. We need to fight against the erosion of rights at the state level, where Republicans have signed laws designed to shame and coerce women and defund Planned Parenthood. We need to ensure that patients and staff are safe to walk into health centers without facing harassment, bullying, or violence. And we must always, always stand with the brave women and men across our country who are as committed as ever to providing safe and legal abortion care, even in places where that right is under concerted attack.
Whenever politicians become involved in deciding whether, when, and how a woman becomes a mother, it’s not just degrading — it’s dangerous. Few decisions are more sacred or intensely personal, and women deserve to make them for ourselves.
Here’s the good news: While Donald Trump is a bully, voters will have our say at the ballot box. So if you disagree with his comments, you’ve got to vote. Vote like your health and rights depend on it. Because they do.