Health Policy

May 18, 2021: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides, Who Pays

Posted on May 18, 2021 at 12:00 AM

Today’s far-right Republican Party has been terrified of “Replacement” since Democratic gains in the 2018 national and state midterms, and the election of President Joe Biden in 2020. The increasing numbers of non-white voters has resulted in new voter restriction laws in 43 states:  fewer voting stations, decreased hours available for voting, more difficulty in obtaining mail-in ballots, harsher photo ID laws, and lack of sanitary facilities plus banning of water availability during long voter lines.
And the far right is obsessed specifically with the decreased fertility of white women, whose birth rate numbers have been dropping for the past decade. So, we are seeing white male politicians who have no medical training writing and passing legislation that not only interferes with safe abortions and safe contraception, but puts the woman’s life at risk. Sadly, both religious and political leaders, again, ignorantly or deceptively label all contraception other than “natural family planning” (AKA “rhythm/calendar method) as abortion inducing. More lies to prevent use of safe and effective birth control.
Ten states have laws, again written by men with no medical knowledge, that dictate that women who choose medical abortions must be told by their physicians, FALSELY, that the abortion can be effectively and safely reversed between taking the initial pill (Mifepristone) and the follow-up pills (Misoprostol) taken 2 days later. An injection of progesterone is touted as able to reverse the medical abortion. This is totally false and the woman risks death via sepsis from a retained dead fetus.
More non-physician derived laws in Ohio and Indiana demand that an ectopic pregnancy MUST be surgically transplanted into the woman’s uterus. This is a fictional procedure, not done anywhere on the planet. Untreated ectopic pregnancies are 100% fatal to the embryo and to the woman who will die by hemorrhage when the pregnancy ruptures.

Many states plan to follow Tennessee’s lead in giving the presumed biologic father total veto power over the woman’s choice to abort her pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. And there is no concomitant mandate that the biologic father contribute financial support to the pregnant woman for prenatal care or to the prospective child after his/her birth.

Several states withhold Title X funding for women’s health care when provided by Planned Parenthood, or other medical offices that also provide abortions. Some commentators wonder if the Republican obsession with prohibiting care for citizens who identify as “trans” is rooted in fear of diminished fertility in the white population. One might also wonder if the recent spate of police shootings of Black and brown men is also related to the myth of super virility of nonwhite men. Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oklahoma have “trigger laws” that would immediately make abortions totally illegal if SCOTUS strikes down Roe v Wade.

Of course, few mandates or restrictions are present re: the medical care provided to most white, heterosexual men. Very few legislators or religious leaders meddle in the doctor–patient relationships of heterosexual men. All women and the trans and gay communities deserve the same privacy and respect given to today’s equivalent of the Plantation Master.


If you would like to work with Rosalyn Coates on the new Racial Equity Task Force, please contact her at

Karen Pataky, Chair, Health Policy Task Force

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