NEW YORK, Dec 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women's
rights advocates must pay attention to threats in individual
U.S. states where policies could set back abortion availability
and health care as much as the plans of President-elect Donald
Trump, activist Gloria Steinem said on Thursday.
Some of the most right-wing politics are found not so much
in Washington, D.C., but in several of the 50 U.S. states,
Steinem said at an evening panel held by Donor Direct Action, an
organization that supports women's groups.
This month, a law is due to take effect in Texas that
requires burial of fetal remains from abortions, which
pro-choice advocates call unnecessary and an effort to shame
women who have undergone abortions.
In Ohio, lawmakers this week approved a bill that bans
abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six
weeks after conception.
If signed into law, it would be one of the nation's most
stringent abortion restrictions.
Courts have struck down so-called heartbeat laws in North
Dakota and Arkansas, but supporters hope such measures could
withstand a legal challenge in the Trump administration.
Trump has promised to appoint an anti-abortion justice to
the U.S. Supreme Court and supports stripping federal funding
from Planned Parenthood, whose clinics offer women's health care
services including abortion.
"The overall political lesson is that we need to pay as much
attention to our state legislatures as we do to Washington,"
said Steinem, a pioneering feminist who co-founded Ms. magazine
"We have not done that," she said. "The battle is being
Steinem said she is heartened by a renewed energy among
women's rights advocates since the Nov. 8 presidential election,
such as a planned women's march on Washington on Jan. 21, the
day after Trump takes office.
"What I see in the streets and online and in all kinds of
ways is that people are taking power unto themselves," she said.
"There are a lot more of us than there are of him."
Steinem also proposed a tax resistance movement similar to
that used by opponents of the Vietnam War in the 1960s who
refused to pay a percentage of their income taxes that would
have gone toward funding the unpopular conflict.
"In this case, we can say 'I'm sending the part of my income
tax that should go to Planned Parenthood, I'm sending it
directly to Planned Parenthood. Come and get me.'
"They come and collect eventually, but it costs them way
more to go through the process."
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith;
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