Gloria Steinem warns of the dangers Trump poses to women's rights

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NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women's rights advocates must pay attention to threats in individual U.S. states where policies could set back abortion availability and health care as much as the plans of President-elect Donald Trump, activist Gloria Steinem said on Thursday.

Some of the most right-wing politics are found not so much in Washington, D.C., but in several of the 50 U.S. states, Steinem said at an evening panel held by Donor Direct Action, an organization that supports women's groups.

This month, a law is due to take effect in Texas that requires burial of fetal remains from abortions, which pro-choice advocates call unnecessary and an effort to shame women who have undergone abortions.

In Ohio, lawmakers this week approved a bill that bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks after conception.

If signed into law, it would be one of the nation's most stringent abortion restrictions.

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Gloria Steinem through the years
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Gloria Steinem through the years
American feminist writer Gloria Steinem. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Portrait of American publisher and political activist Gloria Steinem, 1970s. (Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Gloria Steinem (far left) and Gail Sheehy (far right), contributing editors of New York Magazine, discuss Love in the City with program hostess Roberta Hammond (center) on the current affairs program The Urbanites. New York, NY. Image dated September 28, 1970. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
THE TODAY SHOW -- Democratic National Convention -- Pictured: Congresswoman/Official Delegate to Democratic Convention Bella Abzug, feminist/public relations executive Liz Carpenter, NBC News' Barbara Walters, feminist/journalist Gloria Steinem, writer/feminist Betty Friedan at the 1972 Democratic National Convention held at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida on July 10-13, 1972 -- (Photo by NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 15: Activist, journalist and leader of the feminist movement Gloria Steinem addresses the crowd at a fundraiser and rally for California State Senate candidate Catherine O'Neill (in Checked dress) at actor Lorne Greene's house on October 15, 1972 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Portrait of American author and political activist Gloria Steinem, April 1974. (Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images)
Portrait of American author and political activist Gloria Steinem, April 1974. (Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images)
OCT 23 1974, OCT 24 1974, NOV 30 1995; Gloria Steinem, Left, Accompanies Pat Schroeder Down Denver Street; Ms. Steinem spoke at a $10-a-plate luncheon on he half of Mrs. Schroeder.; (Photo By Duane Howell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
GOOD NIGHT AMERICA (PART OF ABC'S WIDE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT) - Shoot Date: April 3, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) GERALDO RIVERA;GLORIA STEINEM
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: (left to right) Diane von Furstenberg, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and Barbra Streisand are photographed December 23, 1981 in New York City at a benefit for Women USA in Streisand's honor. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - DECEMBER 23: Gloria Steinem attends Woman USA Benefit Cocktail Party on December 23, 1981 at Diane von Furstenberg Studio in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Gloria Steinem (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL - JUNE 18, 1983: Feminist leader Gloria Steinem awaits the launching of the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-7) carrying the first woman astronaut, Sally Ride, into space. Steinem was among dignitaries watching the lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center VIP launch observation area in Kennedy Space Cente, Florida. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
SEP 11 1983, OCT 13 1983; Gloria Steinem signs books at the Auraria college book store.; (Photo By Duane Howell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
American author and political activist Gloria Steinem walks on the beach, arm in arm with Canadian-born businessman Mortimer Zuckerman, New York, January 1, 1984. (Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - DECEMBER 15: Businessman Mort Zuckerman and Gloria Steinem attending 'PEN Celebration' on December 15, 1985 at Broadway in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Carol Bellamy, Donna Shalala and Gloria Steinem during Women's Action Alliance Roast of Donna Shalala at Windows of the World in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
American feminist writer Gloria Steinem in her Manhattan apartment, New York City, March 1992. (Photo by Michael Brennan/Getty Images)
Portrait of writer Gloria Steinem, New York, New York, 1992. (Photo by Chris Felver/Getty Images)
Gloria Steinem during 13th Annual Gloria Steinem Awards - May 17, 1993 at Pierre Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
238849 04: National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League leader Kelli Conlin, feminist Gloria Steinem, actress Olympia Dukakis and other protestors hold up a banner at the Women's Rights rally October 7, 1995 in New York City. The rally protested the arrival of Pope John Paul II, whose conservative doctrine on issues such as abortion, sex, and homosexuality contradict the ideology of many women's rights groups. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 09: Gloria Steinem attending the Ms. Foundation's 10th anniversary Comedy Hour at Caroline's Comedy Club. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 04: Gloria Steinem (left) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) speak at news conference at the headquarters of Equality Now on W. 57th St. They called on local and federal officials to crack down on a Queens group they say has been running sex tours to Thailand and the Philippines for years. (Photo by Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Businessman Mort Zuckerman and Gloria Steinem attending 'Liz Smith Women's Auction Alliance Gala' on February 11, 1986 at Studio 54 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Gloria Steinem at the Ms. Foundation for Women's 13th Annual Comedy Hour at Carolines in New York City. 10/29/01 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
(l to r) Amy Irving, Gloria Steinem, and Kathleen Turner at the Ms. Foundation for Women's 13th Annual Comedy Hour at Carolines in New York City. 10/29/01 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
Gloria Steinem during Equality Now Celebrates it's 10th Anniversary at The Gramercy Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by L. Busacca/WireImage)
NEW YORK - JUNE 17: (L-R) Actress Kathy Najimy, activist Gloria Steinem and Mo Gaffney pose for a photo as they attend the after party for the opening night of 'Afterbirth: Kathy And Mo's Greatest Hits' at West Bank Cafe June 17, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 8: (L-R) Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt, Diane English, Diane Keaton and Gloria Steinem attend the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Event : 'Policitics, Sex & Cocktails' on October 8, 2004 at Astra West at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
TOLEDO, OH - OCTOBER 25: Filmmaker Michael Moore and Roseanne Barr talk to the media before taking center stage on Moore's Slacker Uprising Tour October 25, 2004 in Toledo, Ohio. Moore was joined on stage by Toledo native Gloria Steinem, Roseanne Barr, and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello in speaking out against policies of the Bush Administration during a nationwide political tour. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 3: (L-R) Jane Alexander, Imelda Staunton and Gloria Steinem attend a lunch for Imelda Stauton hosted by Fine Line Features at Michael's restaraunt on February 3, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 21: (U.S. TABS OUT AND NO SALES TO A.M.I) Feminist Gloria Steinem poses for a portrait on January 21, 2005 in New York City. (photo by Todd Plitt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 24: Gloria Steinem speaks at the 36th Anniversary Gala of The Feminist Press at the City University of New York at Tavern On The Green on October 24, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/ Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 01: Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Gloria Steinem promote '50 Is The New Fifty' at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Center on June 1, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Feminist and author Gloria Steinem attends the 21st annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 7, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: President of the Rockefeller Foundation and honoree Judith Rodin (L) is presented an award on stage by Gloria Steinem during the Brooklyn Museum's Sackler Center First Awards at the Brooklyn Museum on April 18, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Gloria Steinem -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Gloria Steinem and Mariska Hargitay -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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Courts have struck down so-called heartbeat laws in North Dakota and Arkansas, but supporters hope such measures could withstand a legal challenge in the Trump administration.

Trump has promised to appoint an anti-abortion justice to the U.S. Supreme Court and supports stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood, whose clinics offer women's health care services including abortion.

"The overall political lesson is that we need to pay as much attention to our state legislatures as we do to Washington," said Steinem, a pioneering feminist who co-founded Ms. magazine in 1972.

"We have not done that," she said. "The battle is being fought there."

Steinem said she is heartened by a renewed energy among women's rights advocates since the Nov. 8 presidential election, such as a planned women's march on Washington on Jan. 21, the day after Trump takes office.

"What I see in the streets and online and in all kinds of ways is that people are taking power unto themselves," she said.

"There are a lot more of us than there are of him."

Steinem also proposed a tax resistance movement similar to that used by opponents of the Vietnam War in the 1960s who refused to pay a percentage of their income taxes that would have gone toward funding the unpopular conflict.

"In this case, we can say 'I'm sending the part of my income tax that should go to Planned Parenthood, I'm sending it directly to Planned Parenthood. Come and get me.'

"They come and collect eventually, but it costs them way more to go through the process."

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