Kate Gilmore, the United Nations’ High Deputy Commissioner on Human Rights, recently spoke to the Guardian and cut through bullshit talking points about abortion bans, referring to the recent slew of anti-abortion laws in the U.S. as what it really is: a “crisis” perpetuated by extremist groups who hate women. “We have not called it out in the same way we have other forms of extremist hate,” Gilmore told the Guardian, “but this is gender-based violence against women, no question.”
States like Georgia and Ohio have effectively banned abortion by making it illegal to obtain an abortion after a so-called “fetal heartbeat” can be detected, often before a person knows they are pregnant; in May, Alabama state lawmakers passed a bill banning abortion from the moment of conception. Yet the term “fetal heartbeat” is misleading because, at six weeks, there is no heart—only cardiac activity. That the term has been embraced in media coverage is a reminder of how effectively the anti-abortion movement sets the terms of the debate, and Gilmore’s comments are a reminder of what’s actually at stake. “It’s clear it’s torture—it’s a deprivation of a right to health,” Gilmore said.