On February 11, demonstrators protested the federal funding of Planned Parenthood at 220 rallies in 45 different states. “These rallies have sparked a national conversation about Planned Parenthood and whether they deserve the $430 million of federal funding they receive from taxpayers each year,” said Eric Scheidler, the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago and the organizer behind the demonstrations.
The rallies to defund Planned Parenthood are just one product of the new presidential administration’s stance on abortion. During his campaign, President Donald Trump claimed he had changed his mind and was no longer pro-choice. He later expressed his desire to defund Planned Parenthood, appoint a pro-life Supreme Court justice, and prevent federal tax money from supporting abortion by make the Hyde Amendment permanent.
Since his inauguration on January 20, President Trump has already begun taking steps against Planned Parenthood, much to the excitement of many pro-life Americans. Within days of entering the Oval Office, President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which requires that non-governmental organizations “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”
The policy, originally instated by Ronald Reagan in 1984, has been rescinded or reinstated depending on the political party in power. Many pro-choice Americans have spoken out against the Mexico City Policy, dubbing it the “Global Gag Rule” and claiming that it interferes with communication between doctors and their patients, reduces access to contraceptives, and actually increases the prevalence of abortions.
High-level members of the Trump administration also made an appearance at the 44th March for Life, the annual demonstration that marks the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Both Vice President Mike Pence and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway spoke to the crowds gathered before the March.
“March for Life 2017, let me make it very clear: We hear you. We see you. We respect you. And we look forward to working with you,” said Conway.
While the Trump administration has seemingly begun the journey of reversing the effects of Roe v. Wade, many pro-life Americans still feel a sense of unease toward its other positions. Trump has previously expressed support for the death penalty, something that many pro-lifers oppose, and his recent travel ban has led many to fear for the lives of refugees. Despite the tensions caused by a number of Trump’s policies, many pro-lifers are still hopeful that the new administration will be committed to protecting the value of human life.