Donald Trump and his administration are bad for many different groups of people and many different areas of policy that have been championed under President Obama: the LGBT community, Muslims, people of color, citizens with disabilities, immigrants, Jews, etc. But one group of people that are being understated is his attack on women in this country and abroad.
We all know how bad the attacks on the other groups are because the dialogue is transparent and his administration doesn’t try to hide it, but his attack on women are disguised as religious and in defense of the family and are not stated in the media enough for the citizens of this nation to truly understand the scope of his attacks.
Birth control is an important step at women having full control over their bodies and their family planning process. It gives them the control they should have over their sexual and reproductive choices. It lets them have sexual freedom while also keeping them from having an unwanted pregnancy.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Republicans at the federal level and at the state level are trying their best to legally curb and restrict access to affordable, and many times free, birth control for women. Republicans say that they are for small government and that the government should have no right to overreach onto someone’s rights; unless that person has a vagina, of course.
And with the Republican obsession with abortion, one would think that they would take measures to effectively bring down the abortion rate. Of course, their problem with abortion isn’t about actually saving the life of the baby (if it was, they wouldn’t try taking away their healthcare), but it’s actually about controlling what women can and cannot do with their bodies.
In Trump’s America, access to birth control is under attack. Trump has already reinstated a “global gag rule”, and not only that, but expanded it. This cuts all funding from international organizations if they provide abortion services.
He expanded it to include any mention of abortion, which would cut billions of dollars of aid from these important organizations. Birth control could be included in that gag rule as well, as these programs often are leaders in making sure that low-income women in poor countries get the necessary birth control needed. Men are affected as well as it’s important for them to have a quality sex education and condoms.
The news site, Slate, called this rule, the global gag order on steroids.
Trump also wants to get rid of the Obamacare mandate that requires birth control to be low-cost through employers. As of now, Obamacare requires employers to pay for contraceptives that have been approved.
According to the Washington Times, this is a popular aspect of the Affordable Care Act, and would get a lot of backlash if repealed. Along with trying to destroy the mandate through the ACA, his administration is looking to defund Planned Parenthood because some of the services that they provide are related to abortion. Only three percent of the services that the organization provides is related to abortion.
The other 97 percent of services goes to preventing STD’s and cancer screenings. The concern is that if Planned Parenthood is defunded then millions of low-income women and men will not be able to afford birth control, get cancer screenings, or tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Millions of people depend on Planned Parenthood to provide them with contraceptives. If this is taken away from those people, then they may have a rise in unwanted pregnancies. This, along with restricted access to abortion, could result in many women being put in situations where they cannot take care of a child and cannot have a say over what they do with their bodies, which is fundamentally against what America is about.
If Donald Trump and his administration get what they want, contraceptives will not be paid for by employers, and it would be up to the states to come up with solutions to the problems that would result from this happening.
The problem there is that most states are controlled by Republicans, meaning even the states won’t mitigate the damage done by the current administration.
Women in California will probably not see much of a difference, but in states where Republicans control both chambers of the legislature, and the governorship will suffer the most. This disproportionately affects women that are lower-income and women of color. Roe v. Wade is also under threat as Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court is also anti-choice.
This means that reproductive rights, which includes contraceptives, could suffer for another generation. This comes at a time when attacks on women and their reproductives choices is at a high point from past years. It’s up to us to stop it.
I wish I could say there was a one-stop solution to this, but there isn’t. The best thing for us as citizens to do is support organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, ACLU, NARAL, and the Gates Foundation, which has promised to provide 120 million women with birth control around the world.
Volunteer for them, and donate as much as you can for them. Call your representatives and senators. Let them know that they work for you. And VOTE. Vote like your rights depend on it… because they do.