100 Days of Harm to Women and Counting

Well, it could have been worse. That is the best that can be said of the assaults on women’s equality and reproductive freedom carried out during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

April 26, 2017

The full post can be found at The American Prospect

Well, it could have been worse. That is the best that can be said of the assaults on women’s equality and reproductive freedom carried out during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency—a stretch marked by grievous, if unsurprising, disdain for women’s fair treatment at home and around the globe.

That disdain was evident in the administration’s so far stalled attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with a far less inclusive—and less female-friendly—Republican health plan. The noxious reversals that Trump and his minions have carried out in such a short time-frame is damage worth recalling at this critical benchmark.

Some of the harshest measures have international ramifications. Just a few days into his White House run, Trump reinstated the “global gag rule” (also known as the “Mexico City policy”), a ban on U.S. assistance to groups abroad that perform or even talk about abortion that has been a weighty political football tossed back and forth for decades. Beginning with Ronald Reagan in 1984, Republican presidents have imposed the gag rule, while Democratic presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, have rescinded it.

Actually, Trump didn’t just re-impose the old funding ban, he super-sized it, extending its reach beyond U.S. family planning and reproductive health assistance to non-governmental groups overseas to all “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.” There will be severe consequences. Under George W. Bush’s narrower gag rule, badly needed health clinics in developing countries were forced to shut down and the work of high-performing international family planning groups was seriously hampered. Millions of women and girls were kept from obtaining birth control, safe abortions, maternal care, and HIV-AIDS prevention advice. Abortion rates and maternal deaths from unsafe illegal abortions increased. The shift stymied political debate on abortion-related issues, along with America’s leadership on democracy and free-speech principles.