iOS app Android app

Laura Bassett
GET UPDATES FROM 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 lbassett@huffingtonpost.com or on Twitter @lebassett.

Entries by Laura Bassett

Supreme Court Abortion Decision Will Affect These States Next

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 9:40 PM

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down abortion restrictions in Texas that would have forced most clinics in the state to close, judges are likely to block similar laws in seven other states. 

Six of those states -- Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wisconsin -- have laws being challenged in...

Read Post

Democrats Add Major Abortion Rights Pledge To Proposed Platform

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 2:38 PM

The Democratic Party vowed for the first time in its proposed new platform to repeal the Helms Amendment, a longstanding U.S. foreign aid restriction that makes it more difficult for women around the world -- especially women raped in conflict -- to access safe and legal abortion. 

The proposed platform "strongly...

Read Post

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Smacks Down Future Abortion Restrictions In A Single Paragraph

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 10:20 AM


In a 5-3 ruling on Monday, the United States Supreme Court struck down a pair of Texas abortion restrictions that would have shut down dozens of clinics across the state.


While Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice Stephen Breyer in his majority opinion, she penned 

Read Post

GOP's Zika Bill Limits Contraception Access And Prevents Planned Parenthood From Helping

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2016 | 2:55 PM

The rapidly spreading Zika virus -- which can be transmitted sexually and by mosquitos -- is most dangerous for pregnant women. But Republicans in Congress on Thursday released a funding proposal limiting the distribution of contraceptives and preventing family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood from participating in the effort to...

Read Post

The CEO Of The Democratic Convention Will Watch The GOP's ‘To Get A Good Laugh’

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2016 | 4:36 PM

WASHINGTON -- Rev. Leah Daughtry, the CEO of the Democratic National Convention, is the first person ever to plan two of the party's conventions. She ran the event in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) became the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party. Next month, she'll...

Read Post

Kerry Washington Is Working To End Financial Abuse And Empower Women To Walk Away

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2016 | 10:40 AM

Actress Kerry Washington is well-known for her role on the political primetime drama "Scandal," but in real life, she is using her star power to raise awareness of financial...

Read Post

Kerry Washington Had To Block A Lot Of Twitter Trolls After Abortion Episode Of 'Scandal'

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2016 | 11:08 AM

When Kerry Washington's character on the primetime political drama "Scandal" chose to have an abortion without shame or regret last year, the actress says she faced a backlash on...

Read Post

Women's Rights Groups Criticize Obama For 'Excuses And Silence' On Abortion Policy

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2016 | 9:20 PM

WASHINGTON -- As President Barack Obama celebrated his legacy on women's rights at the United State of Women White House summit on Tuesday, reproductive and human rights advocates gathered outside the event to demand his action on abortion access for women raped in conflict

Several groups, including Reproaction,...

Read Post

GOP Lawmaker To Give Away Two AR-15 Assault Weapons As Door Prize At Fundraiser

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2016 | 3:46 PM

One day after the worst mass shooting in American history, Tennessee State Rep. Andy Holt (R) said he plans to give away two AR-15 rifles -- the same kind of weapon used in the massacre -- as a "door prize" at an upcoming political fundraiser.

Holt, a self-described conservative Christian,...

Read Post

Ebola Czar Rips Congress On Zika: 'The Mosquitoes Are Not Going To Wait'

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 3:36 PM

As temperatures rise in the United States and mosquitoes become more active, public health officials warn that insects carrying the Zika virus are going to start infecting Americans in...

Read Post

Hillary Clinton Makes U.S. History As First Woman Presumptive Presidential Nominee

(1) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 8:37 PM

Hillary Clinton became the first woman presumptive presidential nominee for a major U.S. political party Monday night, inching closer to the invisible barrier that has kept women out of the nation’s highest political office.

Clinton surpassed the 2,383 delegates needed for the Democratic nomination, according to...

Read Post

New Jersey Baby Born With Zika-Linked Birth Defects May Be First In Continental U.S.

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2016 | 11:17 AM


A Honduran woman infected with the rapidly spreading Zika virus gave birth to a baby with microcephaly, a severe birth defect linked to the virus, in New Jersey on Tuesday, The Record reported. The birth is the first reported case in the continental United States of...

Read Post

Louisiana Bans Common, Safe Abortion Method

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2016 | 10:16 AM

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed a bill into law Tuesday night that bans the dilation and evacuation procedure, the safest and most common method of abortion for women in their second trimester of pregnancy. 

About 10 percent of women seeking abortions do so after 12 weeks of pregnancy,...

Read Post

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