Trump is okay with states monitoring women’s pregnancies

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The criminal defendant’s so-called Restoration agenda is festooned with fascist goodies.

Donald Trump is vowing to fire any U.S. attorney who refuses to prosecute whoever he wants prosecuted, he’d unleash the National Guard wherever and whenever he wants, he’d abolish the U.S. civil service and pack every federal job with MAGAts, he’d pardon the criminals jailed for the Jan. 6 insurrection, and he’s threatening violence again if he loses this fall.

But one particular exchange, in a must-read Time magazine interview from late last month, really caught me eye.

Question: “You think (abortion) should be left to the states. You’ve made that perfectly clear. Are you comfortable if states decide to punish women who access abortions after the procedure is banned?”

Trump: “I don’t have to be comfortable or uncomfortable. The states are going to make that decision.”

Question: “Do you think states should monitor women’s pregnancies so they can know if they’ve gotten an abortion after the ban?”

Trump: “I think they might do that.“

Question: “Prosecuting women for getting abortions after the ban. But are you comfortable with it?

Trump: “It’s irrelevant whether I’m comfortable or not. It’s totally irrelevant, because the states are going to make those decisions.”

Has any other president in memory oppressed women the way Trump has?

Trump put three MAGAts on the Supreme Court, and Roe‘s federal protection of reproductive rights went into the trash. Now he’s washing his hands of the entire issue and declaring that if a red state wants to police women’s private lives, then hey, don’t blame him.

One in three American women of childbearing age live in states where abortion is now essentially banned, but if those states want to monitor women’s pregnancies and craft other draconian measures, Trump won’t care a whit. He’s too busy lying to himself, insisting (contrary to all polling evidence) that most Americans wanted Roe overturned.

In the 2020 election, 44 percent of women cast their ballots for Trump. Worse yet, according to the number-crunchers at the Pew Research Center, a whopping 53 percent of white women voted for Trump.

I’d dearly love to know how many, if any, regret the choice they made and intend to vote more sanely this year.

President Biden’s campaign is banking on mass female outrage, driven by the true belief that Trump and his MAGA cult view women basically as vessels in a 1950s time warp. Maybe Biden will indeed benefit. A recent New York Times-Sienna College national poll showed Biden leading Trump among women by 16 percentage points – 53 to 37 – and that’s encouraging, although one could argue that Trump’s share of women should be smaller, given his vile policies and misogyny.

I see two potential problems with forecasting a pro-Biden surge on abortion:

1. Women voters who live in critical swing states – such as Pennsylvania and Michigan – don’t need to worry about the loss of abortion access, because their blue governments are protecting it. As a result, they may be less likely to prioritize the issue and vote on it. By contrast, abortion will likely be a top-tier voting issue in red Florida, where a virtually total ban went into effect earlier this month. But because the Sunshine State has been strongly trending MAGA for the last eight years, it’s highly questionable whether even a surge of outraged women voters can turn it blue.

2. The racial divide among women is a critical factor. As I mentioned earlier, Trump won white women in 2020 – and in 2016 as well. Broadly speaking, white women have more income and resources than black women, and are thus better positioned to travel to a blue state for an abortion. Bottom line, nationwide: White women may be less likely to prioritize abortion as a top-tier issue despite the destruction Trump has wrought – whereas Black women, broadly speaking, are more vulnerable. But they’ve been voting blue already, favoring Biden over Trump in 2020 by a 95-5 margin.

I hope my skepticism is proven wrong.

Vice President Harris, talking about abortion in Florida earlier this month, identified the obvious flaw in Trump’s post-Roe agenda. Historically, “state’s rights” has been an instrument of oppression, of granting freedom to some while denying it to others. Now it’s happening with abortion.

“This is a fight for freedom, the fundamental freedom to make decisions about one’s own body and not have their government tell them what they’re supposed to do,” Harris said.

Will women voters in sufficient numbers hold Trump accountable? The fact that I even need to pose the question is a symptom of despair.

Copyright 2024 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at [email protected]

Cited by the Columbia Journalism Review website as one of the nation's top political scribes, and by ABC News' online political tip sheet as "one of the finest political journalists of his generation, " Dick Polman is the national political columnist at Philadlephia NPR affiliate WHYY, and has covered or chronicled every presidential campaign since 1988.

A Philadelphia resident, Dick roamed the country for most of his 22 years at The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has been blogging daily since 2006. He's currently on the full-time faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, as "Writer in Residence." He has been a frequent guest on C-SPAN, CNN, MSNBC, the BBC, and various NPR shows - most notably Philadelphia's "Radio Times" on WHYY-FM.