NARAL president: We are ‘preparing’ for the overturning of Roe

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 27, 2016. | (Screengrab: YouTube)

During a recent appearance on a podcast, the president of an abortion advocacy organization explained that the pro-abortion movement was preparing for the possibility that the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide could be overturned.

Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, appeared on “The New Abnormal” podcast co-hosted by The Daily Beast’s Molly Jong-Fast and former Republican strategist and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump Rick Wilson. Jong-Fast expressed concern that “we could really lose Roe” following the appointment of pro-life Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

“We absolutely could and we are certainly preparing, with our partners in the movement, for that,” Hogue replied. “A lot of our work over the last few years has been about making sure that we have what we call ‘islands of access’ … blue states that are codifying the right to abortion.” According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, 13 states and the District of Columbia have codified the 1973 Supreme Court decision into law.

“We have to make sure that we are advancing federal legislation … that actually secures this right. That never happened because Roe was handed down from the Court,” she added. President-elect Joe Biden vowed to codify Roe into law should he win the 2020 presidential election. Despite the fact that abortion is legal at some point in pregnancy in all 50 states and that all attempts to ban abortion completely have been met with resistance from the courts, Hogue asserted that “Roe doesn’t exist in many states as it is.”

Hogue repeatedly used her appearance on the podcast to impugn the motives of pro-life activists: “They’re not about life. This is absolutely about control. And the minute that they start marching in the streets with us for nutritional assistance and addressing maternal mortality and stop separating kids from their loving parents, that’s when I am going to start to believe they have some moral or ethical approach but they don’t do any of that.”

Additionally, Hogue shared her visions for a Joe Biden administration: “We’re looking at the first 100 days as a way to just restore normalcy and there are a number of things that the Biden administration can and should do, including rescinding ‘the global and domestic gag rule,’ which literally strips money from clinics and health professionals that even talk about … the word abortion.”

The Mexico City Policy was enacted and expanded by the Trump administration and bans foreign organizations that receive federal global health funding from promoting or performing abortions overseas.

Jong-Fast asked Hogue “why don’t we have … a ... women’s health czar?” In addition to expressing support for the idea of a “women’s health czar,” Hogue proposed the creation of an “office of … gender equity.” According to Hogue, the creation of those positions would “send such a clear message that that terrible era that Trump ushered in is over.”

Hogue also expressed a desire to “put in place someone who cares about science at the FDA; one of the big things that has been held up is the advancement of the very safe medication abortion that, especially during COVID, would allow people to terminate pregnancies without exposing further risk.”

She lamented that “we have had ideologues at the FDA and not actually people who put public health through a lens of science ... and facts.”

The pro-life group Live Action put together an investigative report calling into question the idea that medication abortions are “very safe.”

While she expressed optimism about the direction of the United States under a Biden administration, Hogue said she was “absolutely worried about these crazy people in red states who took Trump’s not just presidency but attitude as a green light to really just vilify women.” She shared a particular concern about “some of the things we were seeing in the state legislation that we hadn’t seen previously is jail sentences for women” who have abortions.

“I am really worried about the forces unleashed by Trump continuing to dominate in some of the states where, quite honestly, women and people of color simply already have less rights, less freedom and less pathways to justice,” she said.

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