iOS app Android app

Laura Bassett
Laura Bassett is a political reporter at The Huffington Post focusing on women's issues. She has a Master's degree in English Literature and gender studies from Georgetown University and has previously worked for U.S. Congress, Island Press and the Washington Post. She can be reached at or on Twitter @lebassett.

Entries by Laura Bassett

CDC Head Tom Frieden Delivers Emotional Plea For Zika Funding

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 4:06 PM

Dr. Tom Frieden has dealt with a number of epidemics during his seven-year tenure as director of the Centers for Disease Control. But the rapidly spreading Zika virus, the terrifying birth defects it causes and Congress' inexplicable foot-dragging on funding anti-Zika efforts has him feeling downright desperate. 

"Imagine that you're...

Read Post

Donald Trump On Elizabeth Warren: 'She's Got A Big Mouth'

(1) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 2:56 PM

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) must be getting under Donald Trump's skin: The presumptive GOP presidential nominee added "big mouth" to...

Read Post

Buying And Selling Sex Should Be Decriminalized, Human Rights Groups Say

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 10:12 AM

Amnesty International, an influential movement of more than 7 million human rights advocates around the world, adopted a new policy on sex work Wednesday night, urging governments to decriminalize and protect people engaged in the consensual exchange of sex for money.

The new policy, based on years of...

Read Post

Donald Trump's Campaign Staff Is 75 Percent Men

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 10:23 AM

As likely Republican nominee Donald Trump attempts to make peace with skeptical female voters after years of sexist comments, he may need to take a hard look at his own campaign. Nearly three-quarters of the staffers on Trump's campaign payroll are men, according to an analysis of his...

Read Post

Some Harsh Truths About The Life Of A Black Abortion Doctor In The Deep South

(0) Comments | Posted May 17, 2016 | 10:28 AM

COPENHAGEN -- In 2014, black abortion provider Dr. Willie Parker was talking to a white reporter from New York City at the "Pink House" -- the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi -- when the reporter asked Parker if he ever feared for his safety. As...

Read Post

Donald Trump Promises To Appoint Anti-Abortion Justices To Supreme Court

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 10:22 AM

Despite his wildly fluctuating stance on abortion rights over the years, presidential hopeful Donald Trump said on Tuesday that if elected, he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would likely overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in America. 

Asked on Fox News what one thing he would do to "protect the sanctity of life," Trump told host Bill O'Reilly, "I will protect it, and the biggest way you can protect it is through the Supreme Court and putting people on the court. Actually, the biggest way you can protect it, I guess, is by electing me president." 

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee acknowledged that he was once, "in a meek fashion, pro-choice," but said he's now swung the other way on the issue and would make sure to appoint anti-abortion justices to the high court. 

"I've become pro-life," Trump continued, "and the reason is, I've seen -- in my case, one specific situation -- but numerous situations that have made me to go that way."

Trump's promise sharply raises the stakes for women in the 2016 presidential election. Before Roe v. Wade, abortion was illegal in the United States, forcing an estimated 200,000 to 1.2 million women per year to have dangerous, clandestine abortions. In 1965, nearly 200 women died from unsafe abortions in the United States -- a number that accounted for 17 percent of all maternal deaths in the country that year. 

In the decades since abortion was legalized, it has become statistically safer than a penicillin injection. One in every 100,000 women dies from abortion-related complications today, compared to 2 in 100,000 for the antibiotic injection.

But anti-abortion legislators in conservative states have been chipping away at abortion rights with law after law, hoping to invite a legal challenge that could eventually advance to the Supreme Court and challenge Roe v. Wade.

A Trump presidency could mean a return to the days when a woman did not have the legal option to end a pregnancy. 

"[Trump's] disdain for women knows no bounds, and if he's elected president, it would have the impact of endangering women's lives," said Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America. 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told reporters on Wednesday that she remembers the "desperation and tragedies" caused by illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade, and said it would be "intolerable" to have a president who uses opposition to abortion as a litmus test for judges. 

"Donald Trump doesn't want a Supreme Court nominee who can be an objective umpire; he wants a nominee who's picked a side already," Stabenow said. "And the side he wants them to pick is against women and their health care." 

While anti-abortion groups actively campaigned against Trump throughout the primaries, they are quickly warming up to the New York real estate mogul. In the past few months, Trump has both praised Planned Parenthood and swung to the opposite extreme, saying that women should "face some sort of punishment" for having an abortion -- a position he immediately reversed when conservatives pointed out that he was undermining the anti-abortion movement's strategy to appear supportive to pregnant women.

But Trump's promise to appoint socially conservative justices goes a long way toward making peace with the leaders of the anti-abortion movement. 

"This alone – preserving the balance of the court and preventing any more pro-abortion extremists – would be a powerful step forward for life," anti-abortion leader Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote in an op-ed on Monday.

This story has been updated with a comment from Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the...

Read Post

Anti-Abortion Group Embraces Trump After Being 'Disgusted' By Him For Months

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2016 | 10:44 AM

When a sea of Republican presidential candidates were gunning to win the Iowa primary in late January, the prominent anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List penned a strongly worded letter imploring Iowans to choose "anyone but Donald Trump." 

"On the issue of defending unborn children and protecting women from...

Read Post

It's A Tough Day To Be Female And Republican

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2016 | 10:54 AM

Tuesday night was a rough one for Republican women. When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) dropped out of the primary, Donald Trump -- a man who has referred to women as "dog," "slobs," "fat pigs," and “disgusting animals” -- became their likely only GOP choice in November. 


Read Post

Ted Cruz Suggests Near-Extinct Fish Just Has A Libido Problem

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 12:07 PM

WASHINGTON-- The delta smelt is a nearly extinct freshwater fish that has become an icon of California's drought crisis. But Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz suggested on Saturday that state officials only need to play some romantic tunes to make the fish feel more inclined to...

Read Post

Here's How Many Times The 'Woman Card' Has Helped A U.S. Presidential Candidate

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2016 | 9:27 AM

Donald Trump said Tuesday night that if Hillary Clinton were a man, she would barely get any votes. 

“I think the only card she has is the women’s card. She has got nothing else going," said Trump, a reality TV star who literally defended the size of his penis

Read Post

Congressional Candidate Was Once Pranked By Marco Rubio For Hitting On College Students

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2016 | 3:49 PM

WASHINGTON -- Florida State Sen. Darren Soto (D), a candidate for U.S. Congress, once had a reputation among his former colleagues for using his position of power to seduce local coeds -- so much so that Sen. Marco Rubio (R), then Florida House Speaker, played a prank on Soto to teach him a...

Read Post

Bernie Sanders Says He's Lost States Because 'Poor People Don't Vote'

(1) Comments | Posted April 24, 2016 | 10:49 AM

Bernie Sanders said many of his primary losses to Hillary Clinton in states with the highest levels of income inequality can be chalked up to the fact that "poor...

Read Post

Charles Koch Compares Donald Trump To A Nazi

(1) Comments | Posted April 24, 2016 | 10:09 AM

Conservative billionaire Charles Koch called Donald Trump's support of a registry for Muslims "reminiscent of Nazi Germany" in an interview that aired on Sunday.

Koch said Trump's proposed temporary...

Read Post

Bernie Sanders: Tax Cigarettes, But Not Soda

(1) Comments | Posted April 24, 2016 | 9:39 AM

Bernie Sanders on Sunday came out against a plan being considered by the city of Philadelphia to tax soda as a means of paying for universal pre-kindergarten programs.

He argued on NBC's "Meet the Press" that it would be regressive, affecting the poorest families who often buy soda precisely...

Read Post

Republicans Present Mysterious Evidence Of Illegal Fetal Tissue Sales

(1) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 2:37 PM

House Republicans claim to have new evidence that abortion providers are illegally profiting from fetal tissue donation -- but a stem-cell research company says that evidence appears to have been manipulated.  

Republicans presented documents at a hearing on Wednesday that they say show Planned Parenthood and other...

Read Post

Congresswomen Of Color Denounce 'Racist' Abortion Bill

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2016 | 2:59 PM

An all-male panel in the House of Representatives considered a bill on Thursday that would ban sex-selective and race-based abortions in the United States, saying such a bill is needed because women of color have higher than average rates of abortion.

Several congresswomen of color slammed the...

Read Post

Wage Gap Costs U.S. Women $500 Billion A Year, Report Finds

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 1:33 PM

The wage gap between full-time working men and women in the United States short-changes women by nearly $500 billion per year, according to a new report from the National Partnership for Women & Families. 

To put it in individual terms, if women earned as much as men,...

Read Post

Anti-Abortion Movement Panics Over Possible Choice Between Clinton And Trump

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 3:51 PM

A week after Donald Trump said women who have illegal abortions should "face some sort of punishment," the Republican presidential candidate tried to redeem himself on Tuesday by insisting that women should still vote for him because he will protect them from terrorists

Anti-abortion leaders balked. "My question is,...

Read Post

The Supreme Court Birth Control Case Is An Insult To Science

(1) Comments | Posted March 23, 2016 | 12:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- Sister Agnes Marie, 74, stood outside the Supreme Court Wednesday morning in a sea of protesters holding up signs about birth control and explained why she had come 600 miles to show her opposition to it. 

"I've never done anything like this before," said the...

Read Post

Should Washington D.C. Have A Vote In Congress? Donald Trump Is OK With It.

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 11:41 AM

The issue of statehood and voting representation for the District of Columbia seeped into the 2016 presidential race this week, when Republican candidate Donald Trump said he wouldn't mind allowing D.C. to have a vote in the House of Representatives. 

"I think that’s something that would be okay," Trump told...

Read Post