Trump's election fuels fear of reproductive rights rollback

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s election to the presidency Tuesday has sparked fears among many doctors and women about the future of abortion and reproductive rights.

One Colorado doctor, who for the past 45 years has helped women by performing safe abortions, writes that he has personally been the target of anti-abortion protests and numerous death threats, so the election results have instilled anxiety for the future of his practice.

 “I fear for my life, I fear for my family and I fear for my future. I fear for my staff and my patients. Even more, I fear for my country and I fear for the world,” writes Warren M. Hern, M.D., who directs the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, in an opinion piece on STAT.

Women fearful that the Trump administration will limit reproductive rights are giving support to Planned Parenthood, which has seen an increase in donations, emails and phone calls following the election, according to a separate STAT report. “I just feel terrified,” Sue Riddle, who had accompanied her niece to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston to get birth control Wednesday, told STAT. Unsolicited donations are also pouring into the advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America in unprecedented numbers, the report said.

Fears center on the fact that a Republican majority in Congress will work with Trump to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood and to elect a Supreme Court justice who will oppose abortion.

In the first look at Trump’s plans for healthcare since the election, the president-elect posted a brief document today on the website set up to provide information on the presidential transition. It included language indicating opposition to abortion, as Trump said his administration will act to “protect innocent human life from conception to natural death, including the most defenseless and those Americans with disabilities.”

Adding to women’s worries is Trump’s promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which gives women access to 18 FDA-approved type of birth control at no out-of-pocket costs. Online, women are sending each other the message via social media that they should get to their gynecologist’s office before Trump takes office in January, according to a report. Some advocates were urging women to consider long-term birth control such as intrauterine devices or implanted contraceptive rods, according to The Denver Post.

Another factor that can limit access to reproductive healthcare is the growing number of Catholic-owned or affiliated hospitals in the country, a number that has grown by 22 percent since 2001.