Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wasted zero time in showcasing her bigotry and hypocrisy in opposing the Equality Act, a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, and credit.
On Wednesday, Greene attempted to block the legislation by motioning to adjourn, claiming she was fighting for “women’s rights.” Later, she posted an anti-trans sign outside her office—directly across from the office of Rep. Marie Newman, an Illinois Democrat who has a trans daughter. The sign read, “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. ‘Trust the science!’”
Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called “Equality” Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) February 24, 2021
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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That a sitting member of Congress who once believed the September 11 terrorist attacks were a hoax and that wildfires are caused by secret Jewish space lasers is now urging people to “trust science” is beyond parody. Veep staff writers wouldn’t write a character that laughably hypocritical. But it’s in keeping with the GOP’s long-standing refusal to trust the science of climate change, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and, notably, abortion care. Those who work tirelessly to curtail access to abortion push laws that run counter to what decades of research has long proven about the safety of abortion care, the harm barriers to abortion care cause, and the financial importance of abortion care for those who need and want it.
Peer-reviewed studies have highlighted the safety of abortion care many times over. One 2012 study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that abortion is 14 times safer than childbirth. A 2014 study in the same journal found abortion to be safer than getting your wisdom teeth pulled.
Yet six Republican-led states attempted to ban abortion care during the pandemic, citing the need to “free up hospital beds.” But abortions don’t typically occur at a hospital, and they’re so safe that less than a quarter of 1 percent result in a major complication. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration requires patients to pick up the pills for a medication abortion in person at a clinic or doctor’s office, despite overwhelming evidence that medication abortions can be self-managed at homes.
If GOP lawmakers like Greene truly trusted science, they would stop pushing forced-birth laws that harm pregnant people and their families. States with the most restrictive anti-abortion laws also have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates. One 2016 study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that pregnant people denied access to abortion care report more anxiety symptoms, lower self-esteem, and lower life satisfaction in the short term. In 2008, the American Psychological Association found no evidence to suggest that having an abortion causes depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue. And the yearslong Turnaway Study, conducted by Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a collaborative research group at the University of California, San Francisco, found that children of people denied abortion care fare worse than the children of those who who had recieved a wanted abortion.
Yet the “pro-life” party continues to introduce legislation that claims abortion harms pregnant people’s mental health and the well-being of their children. Thirty-three states require abortion patients sit through mandatory counseling sessions before receiving care, and of those states, eight mandate that doctors lie to patients and tell them abortion care can cause adverse mental health effects.
Numerous studies have also highlighted the financial importance of abortion care. The Turnaway Study found that women denied abortion care are at greater odds of living in poverty, are three times more likely to live in a household that relies on public assistance programs like Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the children they already have are more likely to “live in a household in which their mother is not able to afford necessary living expenses such as food, housing, and transportation compared to children of women who received a wanted abortion.” Access to abortion care is a vital component in the financial liberation and economic stability of pregnant people and their families, yet the conservative party that consistently attacks poor people—particularly Black and brown poor people—is hellbent on keeping pregnant people in poverty by denying access to abortion and other reproductive health care.
So no, it is not in the least bit surprising that a QAnon conspiracy-theorist-turned-congressperson would ignore science when it contradicts her pro-forced birth beliefs, but pretend she trusts science when she thinks she can use it to harm trans people. After all, Mrs. “Trust the Science!” is ignoring studies that show trans youth are more likely to attempt suicide when their parents are not accepting, 1 in 2 trans people will be sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives, and 63 percent of homeless trans people are unsheltered, which puts them at greater risk than people experiencing sheltered homelessness.
Science shows that the Equality Act will save lives. But Greene doesn’t want to trust that science any more than she and her Republican colleagues want to trust—or even acknowledge—the science that proves abortion care is safe, common, and vital to the health and well-being of pregnant people and their families. And yes, those families include trans people.