In his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump and his team have spent a lot of time trying to convince Americans that they’re hard at work improving the lives of women. Just this week, White House advisor Ivanka Trump told a crowd in Germany that her dad is “a tremendous champion of supporting families” who believes in the potential of women. She was booed.
Because despite team Trump’s insistence that he is a champion for women, the president has done little to actually improve the lives of women in this country or abroad in his first 100 days. Instead, he has pushed for policies that roll back protections for women’s health and safety, and has made comments that prove his “tremendous respect” for women to be hollow.
Here are some of the ways that Trump’s first 100 days have hurt women.
He reinstated—and broadened—the global gag rule.
One of Trump’s first acts as president was to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, widely known as the global gag rule, which prohibits foreign aid from going to organizations that provide abortion services or that counsel women on family planning methods if they include abortion.
Public health experts around the world have been extremely critical of the policy, which was first put in place in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded and reinstated several times since. It means, for example, that HIV clinics that rely on funding from the U.S. to provide patients with antiretrovirals could lose their funding. “If they’re giving advice to women on what to do if they’re pregnant and HIV positive, giving them all the options that exist, they cannot now receive money from the U.S,” a fellow with the United Nations Foundation explained to Slate.
But not only does the policy put women’s lives at risk; it’s not even that good at achieving its anti-abortion goals.
“There is no evidence that the global gag rule has ever resulted in its stated aim of reducing abortion,” Ann M. Starrs, President and CEO of The Guttmacher Institute, the reproductive health policy institution wrote in an editorial in the journal The Lancet in February. “The first study to measure the effect of the gag rule showed that this policy could actually have resulted in an increase in abortions. Another study assessed the gag rule in Ghana and found that because of declines in the availability of contraceptive services, both fertility and abortion rates were higher during the gag rule years than during non-gag rule years in rural and poor populations.”
He has repeatedly come after Planned Parenthood.
The GOP’s first attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with what Trump promised was “a great plan” would have effectively blocked access to Planned Parenthood for millions of women who rely on Medicaid. That plan may have flopped, but Trump also signed a resolution giving states permission to deny funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion services, rolling back an Obama-era regulation that helped protect the healthcare provider. (Reminder, Planned Parenthood affiliates see roughly 2.5 million patients annually and in 2014 to 2015 alone performed more than 635,000 pap tests and breast exams and diagnosed more than 171,000 sexually transmitted infections.)
“Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being,” Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a press release that condemned the measure. “We should build on the tremendous progress made in this country with expanded access to birth control, instead of enacting policies that take us backward.”
He has proposed cutting programs that help victims of domestic violence.
When Trump’s blueprint budget proposal landed in March, advocates working with victims of domestic violence were highly critical, pointing out that his cuts hurt programs that serve vulnerable victims. One expert told HuffPost’s Melissa Jeltsen that if Trump’s cuts are applied across the board, roughly 260,000 fewer victims of domestic violence will be able to access the help they need through shelters and supportive services. The National Domestic Violence Hotline, says that if its budget is cut by 10 percent, more than 180,000 calls (including those from victims, friends, family and abusers) would go unanswered annually.
He went out of his way to defend an accused sexual harasser.
Before Bill O’Reilly fired from Fox News, Trump defended him in an interview with The New York Times in early April—right at the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“I think he’s a person I know well ― he is a good person,” Trump said. “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” he added. “Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
Trump also marked Sexual Assault Awareness Month by issuing a proclamation, just as the White House has done every year since 2009 when then-President Barack Obama first announced the awareness month. As HuffPost’s Emma Gray pointed out, Trump’s statement removed all allusions, which had been made in his predecessor’s statement, to the culture of victim-blaming that harms women who speak out. It was also, of course, the first time that a president who has been accused of sexual assault and caught on tape bragging about grabbing women by the pussy has issued such an official statement.
Here’s hoping Trump and his team can do better for women in the next 100 days.