Donald Trump says what he means and means what he says. His follow-through has been impeccable in making women’s lives worse. To think President Trump is just a loose canon with jazz hands at the podium is how we got here in the first place. The Trump writings have been on the wall far longer, and quite specifically, for a long time.
Two months before Trump became president, he sent a letter to anti-abortion advocates detailing his commitment to their cause: Abortion after 20 weeks would be banned, anti-abortion Supreme Court justices nominated, Planned Parenthood defunded, and the Hyde Amendment — which bars low-income women from accessing abortion services through Medicaid – made permanent. Trump, in essence, was saying, “I’m your guy — women’s bodies are mine now.”
I’ll never forget one person who left me a comment after reading my post detailing Trump’s letter and comparing this new dystopian nightmare to The Handmaid’s Tale: “He never said he’d ban abortion,” she wrote, “you’re exaggerating.”
To be this level of delusional is a daydream for me. If only I could live in a blissed-out paradise while the world burns. Sadly, here I am, cursed with the intelligence of reading comprehension surrounded by Facebook ostriches.
While I always arrive early for an appointment with pettiness, it serves no purpose here. I didn’t want to be right, and I will not gloat. In fact, nothing would have brought me more happiness than to be wrong. I would have gladly hung my exaggerated head in shame, branded with a scarlet “H” for hyperbole, and lived my remaining days in exile far, far away from the more level-headed masses living happily ever after in Trumpland. No more embellishing cooties to catch from me.
I can’t do this, though.
President Trump is making good on the promises he outlined in his anti-abortion letter by systematically dismantling protections that ensure women lead full lives of bodily autonomy. Sometimes this means legislation and other times personnel hires — but the message is clear: President Trump and his administration want control over women’s bodies and their livelihoods.
Here’s what Trump has done so far to prove his anti-abortion letter a blueprint and not an exaggeration:
Trump signed a bill allowing state governments to deny federal funding to family planning centers that also provide abortions.
You know something’s up when Trump doesn’t participate in show and tell. Without media present, Trump reversed an Obama administration directive that mandates “state and local governments release federal Title X funding for services related to contraception, fertility, pregnancy care and cervical cancer screenings regardless of whether they also perform abortions.” With Trump’s signature, state governments now have the ability to defund Planned Parenthood at the local level. It’s worth noting the bill passed the Senate with Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.
Trump appointed two anti-abortion extremists who deny birth control’s effectiveness to Health and Human Services positions.
Meet Charmaine Yoest and Teresa Manning, two anti-abortion zealots now in key positions within the Health and Human Services office determining your access to birth control and other health care services. Both women, despite crystal clear evidence showing otherwise, believe abortion causes breast cancer. Manning, according to Slate, told WBUR in 2003, that “contraception doesn’t really work” because “it’s efficiency is very low.” Naturally, Trump put her in charge of $286 million in family-planning grants.
And Yoest told the The New York Times back in 2012 she believes birth control like the IUD has “life-ending properties.” In her worldview, abortion shouldn’t be safer, but illegal with no exceptions for the health of the mother including when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Yoest is now the assistant secretary for public affairs.
Trump was head fist-pumper at the mediocre white man victory rally where being a woman became a pre-existing condition.
Crafted without input from women legislators and currently covering erectile dysfunction, the American Health Care Act essentially makes being a woman a pre-existing condition which may lead to denial of coverage and exorbitant premiums for rape survivors, new mothers who gave birth via C-section, and even women with heavy periods.
Trump appointee Neil M. Gorsuch is now a Supreme Court justice.
Justice Gorsuch’s views on abortion are unclear. He did say during his confirmation hearing that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision declaring abortion a fundamental right, was the “law of the land.” However, Gorsuch’s legal history is scant on the topic of abortion. The New York Times looked at two sources from Gorsuch’s past — his Oxford dissertation and a book he wrote about assisted suicide and euthanasia — to gauge a likely decision. They noted, “he defended the inviolability of human life” and “rejected the role of states in granting the terminally ill a right to die” which “offers a framework that could be applied to abortion.”
As I wrote before the election, get used to The Handmaid’s Tale, you’re living in it. And it wasn’t an exaggeration then, and it isn’t one now. Resist.