Culture

How The Trump Administration Has Impacted Women’s Rights


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When President Trump‘s Access Hollywood tape went public, an already fraught relationship with female voters born from controversial and offensive remarks came to a head. But despite that and many allegations of sexual assault, 53% of white women voted for Trump, helping to clinch his victory. And in the First 100 Days of Trump’s presidency, it’s been made clear that a contentious back and forth is sure to continue as women have mobilized in protest of Trump and his actions while he has pursued a number of policies (some of which are accounted below) that have been unpopular with women and their allies.

Revoking Foreign Aid And Bringing Back The Global Gag Rule

One of the first moves Trump made when entering the White House was bringing back the Global Gag Rule, which prohibits giving U.S. foreign aid to programs that offer — or even discuss — abortion as a family-planning option, no matter what other services they provide, including AIDS treatment, malaria, and child care. This freeze, which could jeopardize $9.5 billion in funding, even applies to programs that used other funding sources to pay for abortion services. That could drastically affect women all over the world who receive critical health benefits from these programs, proving that Trump’s policies could not only have a harmful impact on American women but women all across the globe.

Additionally, the changes usher in cuts to UNFPA, which helps alleviate poverty while helping couples make their own decisions regarding when they are ready to bring children into the world.

Attacking The ACA

Trump has faced considerable setbacks in his mission to end Obamacare, and while he claims that Trumpcare will eventually be “insurance for everyone,” his proposals pose considerable stumbling blocks for women in their pursuit of quality care. And it’s not just Trump.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price threw up a “states rights” answer when asked if he was against so-called “gender rating” (which means insurance companies could charge women more for insurance) when it comes to premiums. Additionally, essential female services like maternity care and mammograms were also on the chopping block among congressional negotiators at one point. The latest update has that becoming a less automatic thing and more subject to the whims of each state, but the negative result would still be the same in those states that choose to embrace the idea of affordable insurance (even if it’s hollow) over the reality of insurance that is actually worth anything.

Working To Defund Planned Parenthood

The Trump administration is also seeking to cut programs that provide essential health services to women without insurance benefits. Defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides pap smears, breast exams, STD tests and treatment, sex education, and prenatal care, has been on the GOP’s hit list for ages. Despite being pro-choice in the past, Trump has aggressively toed the GOP line since he became a viable candidate, and it hasn’t let up (as some hoped it would) since he ascended to the Oval Office.

In April, Trump gave states the green light to defund Planned Parenthood after previously threatening Planned Parenthood with defunding unless they stopped providing abortion services (despite the fact that no federal funding goes towards abortion). Again, Trump’s policies create the kind of climate that could produce healthcare refugees within the United States as women in red states face a potentially shocking lack of options for essential healthcare.

Rolling Back Protections For Women In The Workplace

The notion that Ivanka Trump is some kind of guardian angel for liberal causes and women’s issues, always hovering over her father/boss’ shoulder is a popular one, but it has yet to be proven true. John Oliver made that clear on the April 23 episode of Last Week Tonight, and Ivanka demonstrated her lack of sway (and PR coordination) when she paid lip service to helping women succeed in the workplace on Equal Pay Day — after President Trump had rolled back President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order.

Signed in 2014, that order banned forced arbitration clauses in cases of sexual harassment and discrimination and required that employers release salary information to ensure that women received equal pay for equal work. Without these rules, it will make it easier for business to take advantage of their female employees.

Removing Protections For Victims of Domestic Abuse And Assistance For Low-Income Families

In his attempts to “make deals” and cut down America’s spending, Trump’s skinny budget proposed cuts to many essential programs. Some of the major cuts come from the Department of Justice, including potentially 25 violence against women grant programs, which could leave many women vulnerable to continued abuse in communities that will be short the resources to help shelter and protect them.

The skinny budget could also mean a $6.2 billion decrease in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which could lead to cuts from programs that provide rental assistance and money to revitalize economically depressed areas. The proposed budget would also eliminate all funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which currently provides free civil legal aid to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Creating An Administration That Lacks Diversity

It’s not just about policies, it’s also about the culture that has been put into place by Trump. Not only is his cabinet the whitest and most male since Reagan, but he’s also shutting out women’s voices when discussing women’s healthcare. Trump’s cabinet is so glaringly male (3 men appointed for every 1 woman) that the Swedish Deputy Prime Minister took the time to troll Trump with an especially telling photo.

And that’s to say nothing about the cultural impact of seeing Trump govern in such an exclusionary way after a campaign filled with painfully regressive remarks and attitudes about women, as well as revelations about his past interactions with women and their allegations. The message clearly didn’t make enough of an impact when Hillary Clinton used it, but it’s worth remembering that children (and everyone else, for that matter) are not just watching what Trump (and those empowered by his win) says and does, but they are also impacted greatly by these decisions. Not just in how they live, but in what they think is capable and appropriate.

As Trump’s First 100 Days come to an end, it’s increasingly important to remember that — for those who resist, for those who persist, and for Trump. Because these policies, his low approval ratings, and the increasing presence of protest marches are surely linked.

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