9 Ways Trump's Decisions Are Hurting Women's Rights

by Lani Seelinger
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When the election results finished rolling in on that sad, sad day in November, one of the primary concerns among those who had supported Hillary Clinton was her opponent's history of outright misogyny and how that might affect American women. So, it's surprising to no one that Trump's decisions in his first 50 days in office have had many direct and damaging effects on women's rights.

OK, so we can still vote, there are still women holding political office and owning property, at least we haven't been pushed back to the 18th century, am I right? But given that that's about the only positive I can pick out of the situation, it's definitely proof that this is not a good situation. Plus, it's all the more jarring because the last occupant of the White House was such an avowed feminist. Trump, on the other hand, has done nothing to advance women's rights, plus a number of things to roll them back.

This isn't going to be an enjoyable list to read, but you've got to do it anyway to remind yourself to keep fighting. After all, if the president isn't going to fight for progress, women and their allies everywhere are going to have to do it despite him. Here are nine ways that Trump has made women's lives more difficult in his first 50 days in office alone.


Reinstating The Mexico City Policy

Probably before he had even adjusted the White House's heating system to his desired temperature, Trump reinstated the Reagan-era "Mexico City policy," which bans U.S. money from funding international organizations that perform and promote abortions. The U.S. had been funding health care organizations that provided all sorts of services to some of the world's poorest people, but now those organizations will have to stop providing abortions if they want to keep on getting that money. For the women in, for example, Sub-Saharan Africa who depend on largely American-funded clinics, this policy creates a lose-lose situation; either they lose their access to health care, or they lose their right to get a procedure that can be lifesaving.

Trump has never exactly positioned himself as a particularly empathetic person, but this decision was a particularly callous blow to some of the most vulnerable people on the globe.


Putting Bannon In A Position Of Power

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As Stephen Bannon is technically only an adviser, outside observers can really only speculate on what decisions have came directly from Bannon. However, thanks to leaks and a thorough study of Bannon's sexist history, it's not too difficult to trace what effects Bannon has had. He may not be directly acting to stand in the way of women's rights, but his presence in the White House is a clear signal that his voice is more important than those of millions of feminists.


Working To End Obamacare

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The Affordable Care Act was a huge relief to women everywhere because it required insurers to cover all sorts of birth control that women otherwise might have had to pay out of pocket for. The GOP replacement keeps that provision for now (albeit with the option to phase it out in 2019), but it also defunds Planned Parenthood for a year and doesn't allow tax credits to be used to purchase plans that cover abortion. This, in turn, will likely lead insurers to stop offering quality, affordable plans that cover abortion, which leaves women seeking to terminate their pregnancies with very few options.

Like the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy, this won't actually bring the number of abortions down — only comprehensive sex ed and access to birth control to do that. Instead, it'll just put women's lives at risk, attempt to take away their constitutionally-protected right to have an abortion, and force more women to turn to unsafe, potentially life-threatening abortions.


Assembling A Cabinet With So Few Women

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Among the most powerful people in the executive branch and his closest advisers, Trump has only chosen to name five women. Men have been making decisions on behalf of women for millennia, and this is a sure sign that that pattern is just going to continue in the Trump administration. He promised to surround himself with the best people, but apparently to him the best people don't have government experience and are mostly men. What does that say to ambitious women? Trump's cabinet nominations take women's voices out of the highest levels of government, however you want to slice it.


Promising To Make The Hyde Amendment Law

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One of Trump's early campaign promises to the religious right was to make the Hyde Amendment into law, and it looks like Congress is going to help him keep it. As it is, the amendment has been attached to budget bills for the last several decades, preventing federal funds from going to provide abortions. If they succeed in their aims, it will become a permanent law.


Using Women As An Excuse For His Travel Bans

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The re-tooled travel ban targets immigrants from six countries, and one of the justifications for the ban is that those countries are supposedly hotbeds of violence against women. There are so many facts that that ignores — the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States, for example, and the fact that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than American citizens — and it will obviously make neither women in the United States nor in the targeted countries any safer. Plus, going after countries that don't have great records on women's rights is certainly not a great strategy to get them to improve matters.


Only Offering Child Care Help To Wealthy Women

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Ivanka Trump is supposed to be the unofficial voice of reason in the Trump White House, but her plan for an improved government-supported child care system isn't much of an improvement. It's hugely more beneficial for wealthy families than for poor ones, and it carries the assumption that women are the ones who will be providing the child care. Yes, it does have some potential to improve what is a rough situation for many people, but it doesn't help the most vulnerable people. And even worse, it will allow Trump to claim that he's doing something for women even though not all of them will be able to enjoy the gains.


Giving Planned Parenthood An Unfair Ultimatum

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As I mentioned before, Trumpcare promises to defund Planned Parenthood for a year — but Trump himself offered a sort of mangled olive branch to the organization. They could keep their federal funding, he said, if they stopped providing abortions. Low blow, right? Planned Parenthood, of course, gave that one a hard pass.


Hurting The Violence Against Women Act

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As you might have heard, the Trump administration is interested in deporting a lot of undocumented immigrants. But with this push, undocumented immigrants who are suffering from domestic violence are feeling less and less comfortable reporting their situations to the police for fear that they'll then put themselves at risk of deportation. This puts women (and especially transgender women) particularly at risk — especially because their abusers could potentially now also threaten them with reporting them to the immigration police for deportation. Those things were once off the table because of the Violence Against Women Act, and then the Trump Administration began. With Jeff Sessions, a man who actually voted against the Violence Against Women Act, at the head of the Department of Justice, there's more and more fear that it won't be enforced nearly as reliably as it should be.

Sounds like a lot, right? This isn't even two full months into Trump's time as president. Now, more than ever, is the time to get up and fight.