Republican members of Congress introduced the American Health Care Act — already nicknamed "Trumpcare" — on Monday, and, unsurprisingly, it promises to have numerous negative impacts on women's healthcare. The two-part bill proposes to strip Planned Parenthood's federal funding completely, make insurance plans that cover abortions ineligible for tax credits, and remove the requirements of coverage for birth control, maternity care, and genealogical care. If it sounds like Trumpcare was drafted completely by men, that's because it basically was. And one photo of Trump surrounded by people whose opinions he took into account drives that point home perfectly.
The bill was co-authored Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Greg Walden, and Rep. Kevin Brady. Walden currently serves as chairman for the Energy and Commerce Committee — which sponsors half the bill — a committee with only four female members among its 31. Brady chairs the 24-member Ways and Means Committee, which also has four female members. It's not known how much, if any, input these women had on the proposed bill, but even if we suppose they did have input, it's not difficult to imagine women's perspectives (even conservative ones) drowned out by the largely male group.
This is an observation many have been making on social media. A photo Trump recently posted of himself surrounded by "CEOs of leading U.S. health insurance companies who provide great healthcare to the American people," as he described them, shows the president in the company of 12 men. During the meeting depicted in the photograph, President Trump vowed to "save Americans from Obamacare" by working together with the CEOs in his presence. With not a single woman there to speak up, it's doubtful that women's health care was ever mentioned in the meeting.
GOP health care bill defunds Planned Parenthood, restricts abortion coverage, and leaves women out to dry on preventive care.— Emmy Bengtson (@EmmyA2) March 6, 2017
Whoda thunk? pic.twitter.com/cqBgsDG7eH
Male politicians making decisions about women's health without the input of a single woman is far from uncommon. In fact, it's the norm.
In 2013, an all-male panel convened to vote not once, but twice, on restrictive abortion measures. That same year, 257 of the 330 legislators to introduce anti-abortion bills were men.In 2012, Republicans held an all-male hearing to discuss birth control coverage. In 2003, George Bush was photographed signing the Partial Birth Abortion Act surrounded by supporters of the bill, all men.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi summed up the photo of Bush perfectly: "It's a group of men celebrating depriving women of a medical procedure that could save their health and their lives, and, because of the celebratory nature, it was a slap in the face to women across America," she said.
Trumpcare is just the latest example of male-crafted legislation interfering with women's rights.