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6 Ways Trump Moved Women Closer to the Republic of Gilead in 2017


It was clear that a Trump win would be bad for women, but his war against women nears the dystopian levels of The Handmaid's Tale. 

It's been nearly a year since Donald Trump took office after winning the Electoral College -- with 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. While many feared things would be bad for women once the self-confessed pussy-grabber-in-chief got his hands on legislation, he wasted no time in rolling back rights and protections for women.

Within days of his swearing in and the subsequent record-breaking Women's March, Trump, in a room surrounded by white men, signed an executive order that reinstated a Reagan-era global gag order that prohibits U.S. funding from going to international organizations that advise on family planning, that may include abortion. And with the stroke of that pen, he set the tone for his own personal Republic of Gilead, the fictional, although all-too prescient world of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, in which women's worth is reduced by a fascist regime to the viability of their reproductive organs.

A few of Trump and company's Draconian moves against women -- like including rape, domestic abuse, mammograms, and gynecological screenings as preexisting conditions in the American Health Care Act -- failed thanks to a few good people in Congress, but that hasn't stopped the president from signing orders that endanger the well-being and lives of women or rescinding protections that were in place to protect them (and others).

Here's a reminder of how close Trump has moved the country toward making Atwood's dystopia a reality for women in 2017.

Trump Signs the Mexico City Policy, Also Known as the Global Gag Order

Just days after his inauguration and following the Women's March, which drew record-breaking crowds, Trump signed the Mexico City policy, also known as the Global Gag Order, which bans U.S. aid to overseas non-governmental organizations that provide or advise on abortions. He gleefully did so at a desk surrounded by beaming white men.


Trump Rescinds the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order

In April, a week after Trump spoke to a group of women at an event intended to "empower" them, he quietly signed an order to rescind President Obama's 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order that protected workers, but especially, women, in the workplace. Under the order Trump rescinded, companies with federal contractors were beholden to paycheck transparency, which helped women in terms of pay parity and in closing the pay gap. Without it, companies can pretty much pinky swear that they're paying women fairly without presenting proof. He did the same thing recently by rescinding guarantees that federal contractors won't discriminate against LGBT workers.

Extra fun fact: Trump rescinded this order as his daughter Ivanka Trump was tweeting about closing the gender wage gap.

Trump Signs Bill to Cut Off Funding Planned Parenthood and Other Abortion Providers

In another attempt to undo all of Obama's good works, Trump signed a bill that overturned one of the former president's final actions in office -- a rule that banned states from withholding federal funds from abortion providers. Naturally, Trump overturned it, and now states are allowed to withhold federal money from abortion providers, including from organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide lifesaving, critical health screenings for women. Trump signed the bill two weeks after his ideologically-driven #2 Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

"(Women's) worst fears are now coming true. We are facing the worst political attack on women's health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women's health and rights at every turn," Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.

Trump Discontinues Michelle Obama's "Let Girls Learn" Program

This spring, Trump's march against equality for women and his obsession with undoing Obama's legacy trudged on when he discontinued the "Let Girls Learn" program that First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama kicked off in 2015 to afford educational opportunities for girls in developing countries. The program was an effort among several government agencies including the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. President's Emergency Fund for AIDS, among others, which in the two years since it launched helped offer educational programs to adolescent girls in dozens of countries.

Trump and Betsy DeVos Rescind Campus Sexual Assualt Guidelines to Protect the Accused

After giving survivors of sexual assault and rape denial groups equal time in meetings, Trump's Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidelines under Title IX that urged colleges and universities to crack down on campus sexual assault. Prior to pulling the guidelines, DeVos said that the burden of proof under the Obama-era guidelines was too low and therefore unfair to the accused. The Education Department withdrew the "Dear Colleague" letter that pushed colleges to adopt a minimal standard of proof in cases of sexual assault and replaced the guidelines with an interim Q&A section on how to handle allegations.

"This decision shows the Trump Administration's utter disregard for survivors of sexual assault," U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.

Trump Rolls Back The Affordable Care Act's Birth Control Coverage Mandate

Obama's Affordable Care Act called for employer health care to cover birth control with no co-pay, so of course, Trump saw fit to roll back that measure that saved millions of women money on preventive contraception. Under Trump's new rules, which went into effect immediately in October, employers and insurers could deny covering women's birth control "based on its sincerely held religious beliefs" or if they have "moral convictions" against such coverage. The rule affects millions of women whose employers could choose to deny them birth control based on religious beliefs.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist