Conservative 'Project 2025' plan for a GOP presidency includes the elimination of abortion - TAI News
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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Schnecksville, Pa., April 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

A coalition of influential conservatives spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation has created a plan for a potential Republican takeover of all branches of the U.S. government, and it provides a terrifying view of a nation under the GOP. 

Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise” a “presidential transition project” compiled by the Heritage Foundation and 100 other conservative groups. According to the document’s introduction, it is “the conservative movement’s unified effort to be ready for the next conservative Administration to govern at 12:00 noon, January 20, 2025.”

Known colloquially as “Project 2025,” the 920-page blueprint includes plans for reforming the federal government, dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency, abolishing the Department of Education, and banning abortion. 

Former President Donald Trump has claimed not to know anything about Project 2025 but is mentioned over 300 times in the document, and over a dozen of its authors served in the Trump administration. 

In the area of reproductive rights, Project 2025 outlines actions to erase the word “abortion” from all laws;  activate an archaic anti-vice law from 1873 that bans mailing and receiving “obscene” items, including abortion medication; restrict the use of contraception; and require federal agencies to collect data on patients who obtain abortion care. 

The American Independent spoke to reproductive rights advocates and legal scholars about Project 2025 to find out how these policies could impact access to abortion nationwide, including in states that currently have legal protections in place.

One of the first items on Project 2025’s hit list is reviving the Comstock Act of 1873.

The Comstock Act is a so-called zombie law, still on the books but rarely enforced, that criminalizes the mailing of “Every obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy or vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance; and— Every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use.” 

Project 2025 announces a plan to use the Comstock Act to criminalize abortion federally.

“Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, there is now no federal prohibition on the enforcement of this statute,” the plan says. “The Department of Justice in the next conservative Administration should therefore announce its intent to enforce federal law against providers and distributors of such pills.”

David Cohen, a professor of law at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, told the American Independent in early June that he believes a Republican administration enforcing Comstock is the “No. 1 threat to abortion nationwide right now.” 

“Comstock, at least the interpretation that many people in the anti-abortion movement are putting forth, would in effect shut down all abortion, in every state, every type, every context,” Cohen said.

The document also calls for removing words such as diversity, equity, inclusion, gender, gender equality, reproductive health, reproductive rights, and abortion from “every federal rule, agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists.”

Unsurprisingly, the authors of Project 2025 believe the current government doesn’t do enough to surveil and collect personal health data from Americans. 

A section on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes criticism of its data collection: “The CDC’s abortion surveillance and maternity mortality reporting systems are woefully inadequate. … Accurate and reliable statistical data about abortion, abortion survivors, and abortion-related maternal deaths are essential to timely, reliable public health and policy analysis.” It says that all states must supply patient data on abortion to the CDC, including the gestational age, the reason for the abortion, “the mother’s state of residence,” the abortion method, and information about miscarriages and stillbirths.

It proposes cutting U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funding to states that don’t comply.

“Project 2025 also suggests launching an Orwellian data system that would track everyone who is pregnant in the U.S., which would be a shocking government intrusion into people’s private lives,” said Dr. Samuel Dickman, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Montana.

In April, President Joe Biden announced new rules that strengthen the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, to protect the privacy of patients seeking abortions and health care workers who provide them.

In addition to cutting Medicaid coverage, Project 2025 authors would also like to rescind waivers that allow federal funds to be used to cover out-of-state travel for abortions.

The Project 2025 authors call for the withdrawal of waivers issued under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act that make it possible for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide funding to help patients in states with abortion bans travel to states without such bans..  The authors say that those waivers violate the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion.

According to Project 2025, life begins at conception and it’s these fetal personhood laws that could be used to ban or severely restrict abortions and the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) by giving fetuses the same rights as human beings.

A section on the Department of Health and Human Services states that life begins at conception, noting, “The Secretary must ensure that all HHS programs and activities are rooted in a deep respect for innocent human life from day one until natural death: Abortion and euthanasia are not health care.”

In a February interview with the Pennsylvania Independent, Jessica Waters, a professor of justice, law, and criminology at American University, sounded the alarm on the potential effects of fetal personhood legislation on IVF after an Alabama Supreme Court ruling resulted in IVF providers halting operations: “So the real fear that people should have is, even in states where they think abortion will remain accessible, and I think that’s a big if, but even in states where they think it’s accessible, there are so many other areas of law where fetal personhood is quietly being created.” 

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The Michigan Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.