Women Are a Priority for President Trump

Originally published on Medium.

I am one of the 66 million Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton. I was sure she was the only candidate who would protect and promote women’s rights, both domestically and abroad.

But Donald Trump has surprised me*. He has, in fact, proven his dedication to women’s issues. In just a matter of weeks, he’s undertaken numerous actions that have dispelled any fears that women would not be a focus of Trump’s presidency.

Sure, his administration is nearly bereft of women, but meaningful action goes beyond tokenism. Who needs women in the Oval Office** when we have dozens of white men ready to do the heavy lifting for us?

For those doubting Trump’s devotion to changing women’s lives, I offer this list:

Trump didn’t just reinstate the Global Gag Rule, he massively expanded it. On his first full day in the White House, Trump zeroed in on global women’s health by expanding the Global Gag Rule. Previously, this policy only applied to foreign NGOs, precluding them from receiving U.S. family planning funding if they advocated for abortion. But now, because of Trump, the Global Gag Rule expands to all global health funding — a whopping $9.5 billion.

As Margaret Talbot wrote for The New Yorker, “For Republican Presidents, the global gag rule is an easy sop to anti-abortion sentiment at home. But around the world it’s usually the poorest of the poor who suffer from it.” Indeed, the GGR has deadly consequences and actually increases the incidence of unsafe abortion.

But hey, it’s happening “over there,” so it can’t matter much. America First, amirite?

And then he withheld U.S. funding from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The UNFPA deals with family planning and reproductive health, providing maternal and child health services in more than 150 countries. Their work is essential to reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates, and improving women’s and children’s health.

Never mind the potential for lives saved. Trump believes that the agency “supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” in China, despite no such evidence.

He’s obviously obsessed with women’s health. Not only is Trump the architect of international initiatives, he’s doing his best to make good on his campaign promise to overturn Roe v Wade. His Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, has a frightening record with regards to women: Gorsuch doesn’t believe employers should pay for insurance coverage of birth control, he refused to provide a direct answer on whether he would rule against Roe v Wade if given the opportunity, and has said women take advantage of maternity leave.

In other words, Trump’s SCOTUS pick doesn’t want to help prevent unintended pregnancies, doesn’t want women to have access to abortion, and then complains that mothers in the workplace take leave when they have the babies he so desperately wants to see us bear.

In the stroke of a pen, Trump dismantled workplace protections for women. In 2014, Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which among other things, ensured fair pay and established fair processes for sexual harassment claims.

The week before Equal Pay Day, Trump revoked this order, leaving thousands of women vulnerable to employer abuse and inequitable workplace conditions.

He defended a serial sexual harasser. No stranger to claims of sexual misconduct himself, Trump swiftly defended GOP darling Bill O’Reilly in the wake of sexual harassment revelations. The underlying message: the women who came forward are all liars, and one man’s word means more than dozen’s of women’s experiences.

At this point, it is impossible to argue that women aren’t a priority for Trump. Our bodies, our heath and our socioeconomic status have been a focal point of his administration. Is this what his female voting bloc was hoping for? If so, they’ve hit the jackpot.

Imagine what else he will accomplish in his remaining 1,383 days.

* He’s actually much worse than I ever imagined.

** We do. We desperately do.

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