OPINION: What we can do to fight back and slow the attacks against women this November

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press / Matt York

By Gloria Frank, Linda Spar

May 23, 2024

This is part six in a series on the increase in violence against women since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and the future of abortion care and emergency medical treatment in the United States.

Read part one here.


By the definition we have laid out, Donald Trump is a domestic terrorist—and has been found liable by a jury for sexual abuse. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton—who has halted abortions in his state—is a domestic terrorist.


He stated that the case of Marlena Stell, a beauty blogger in Texas who found out she was carrying a dead fetus, was “fake news.” And his appearance where he uttered that phrase, on conservative Blaze TV, spurred thousands of hateful, vulgar messages to this woman.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is also a domestic terrorist,as are Idaho Gov. Brad Little and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.


All the US Supreme Court justices who ruled for the Dobbs decision—Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas—are domestic terrorists.


When men seek to subjugate women, they reveal their ignorance of women’s minds and women’s bodies. A lot of these men do not even understand basic female anatomy.


They perpetuate the stereotype of poor unmarried women who are pregnant because they are promiscuous or too stupid to stop having sex. These men say things that give them away, like women can’t urinate while wearing a tampon.


That if women are “legitimately raped,” their bodies have a way of “shutting down everything” so they cannot get pregnant. So – if she gets pregnant, it isn’t a “real” rape because she enjoyed it?


One male lawmaker said that if a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, the egg could be removed from the fallopian tube and implanted into the uterus. That surgery does not exist and is medically impossible.


Another male lawmaker from Idaho wondered aloud, during an actual legislative debate on abortion, if a “gal could swallow a camera for a gynecological exam.”


A male senator from Oklahoma declared that women with breast implants were healthier than women without them.


A Texas representative said rape victims didn’t need abortions because “the rape kits cleaned them out.”


Recently, a Wisconsin GOP lawmaker boasted that his training as a veterinarian proved that abortion isn’t healthcare, implying that women’s bodies were the same as an animals’.


When EMTALA was passed in 1986, it was promulgated for emergency departments across the country, to stabilize patients for all medical reasons and diagnoses, including labor (the “L” in EMTALA). It is a CARING law, written in now what may be viewed as a saner time, politically.


If your religious or personal beliefs discouraged abortion, you could choose not to have an abortion. But the option to save your life via abortion was permitted, and most of the religiously devout gratefully accepted that.


Those who wrote the law and the accompanying regulations never dreamed that Roe v Wade would be repealed, or that the religious right and the Republican party—now composed of Trump-worshiping, angry, science-denying, ill-informed, misogynistic lawmakers—would then hijack women’s bodies, causing suffering, grief, the breakdown of families, emotional distress, near-death experiences, and terror.


Abject terror.


Simply for getting pregnant and that pregnancy failing.


We have never seen this agony in America. Perpetrated against Americans by other Americans.


We all need to categorize what is happening against women and their minds and bodies as EXACTLY WHAT IT IS: DOMESTIC TERRORISM.


Urge every voter to use this new phrase. Shout it on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Tell your relatives. Email your representatives. Make their response public for all to see.


A prime example is Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s pathetic and vague response to Ohio resident Kyle Long, as shown in a social media screenshot.


The note read, “Thank you for your email. I am so sorry to hear about what you and your wife are going through. This must be so very difficult. Thank you for sharing your story. Mike DeWine.”


The fetus’s organs were developing outside of her body, and she would not survive. Kyle and Beth had tried for 5 years to get pregnant. The man who signed the abortion ban into law and who was thus partially responsible for the couple’s suffering simply tossed into his outbox an envelope containing uncaring platitudes.


Respond to the right-wing religious zealots with exactly what they are doing: terrorizing you, terrorizing your sister, terrorizing your mother, terrorizing your aunt, terrorizing your daughter. Terrorizing every woman. And terrorizing all gendered and non-gendered people who can become pregnant.


And please vote Democratic in November. It’s the most important way to unseat these damned, lying terrorist legislators, so President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris can continue to speak the truth about abortion rights, for all states, and for all citizens.


This crime will continue – unless we stop it. More plaintiffs like Amanda Zurawski will come forward and tell the harrowing tales of how they were abused by anti-abortion laws in states like Texas—where they respect their guns, land, and longhorns more than their female citizens.


She and her co-plaintiffs at first were fearful, but then got angrier and braver. (Plaintiff Allie Phillips is now running for Tennessee state office.)


How DARE these legislators try and control us? Almost kill us without a passing thought in their cloakrooms, driving home past their state capitols and the US Capitol, where at the very top of its rotunda proudly stands the 19-foot bronze Statue of Freedom.


A woman.


  • Gloria Frank

    Gloria retired in 2021 after a 36-year legal career, including leading Medicare’s EMTALA enforcement program in the late-1990s. She co-wrote the OIG Special Advisory Bulletin on EMTALA and assisted the Department of Justice in the Roberts v. Galen of Virginia EMTALA case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Linda Spar

    Linda is a former Presidential Management Fellow who wrote the EMTALA enforcement regulations while she was lead on the Medicare EMTALA enforcement program in the mid-1990s. She is the co-author of “EMTALA in the 90’s – Enforcement Challenges,” in Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, Case Western Reserve University.


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