It’s hard to imagine a presidential administration that hates women more than the current one. Not only has the President himself faced numerous sexual assault allegations and been caught on camera and in debates making derogatory and repulsive comments about women, but his policies to date clearly show deep disdain for women, despite the fact that Mr. Trump once claimed, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”
Target the most vulnerable is the Trump administration’s philosophy, argues Jill Filipovik of the UK Guardian. After his first 100 days in office, Serra Sippel wrote in the Huffington Post, that they read “like anti-woman and anti-human rights check list. From day one, Trump has been relentless in his attempts to undermine human rights globally, especially for women, girls, and other marginalized populations. Trump has done everything in his power to disempower women – their health, their well-being, their human rights.” One of Trump’s first moves upon taking office was to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, which withholds federal funds from organizations that even discuss abortion as an option. The Gag Rule was previously in effect between 2001 and 2008, and during that time women’s access to contraceptives decreased, the rate of unsafe abortions increased, and HIV prevention programs were significantly scaled back. In April, Trump announced plans to significantly cut funding to the UN Population Fund, which provides maternal health and family planning assistance to women in 150 countries.
Per the President’s directive, between May 5 and June 9, 2,342 children were taken from their parents and held in separate detention centers. Although he has since announced he reversed the order to separate immigrant women from their children, the administration has said it these children will not be immediately reunited with their mothers. Although it is clear that the Obama administration was far from kind to families in this regard, the Trump administration has taken it to a new level, with reports of babies being taken from their mothers while breastfeeding. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, an international organization, has cautioned that this results in trauma that is not only short-lived. Furthermore, it is a violation of human rights.
Equally egregious, although it warranted less outrage, was Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the administration was removing asylum protections from victims of domestic violence. Sessions’ ruling vacated a 2016 ruling by the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals. Michelle Brané, director of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s migrant rights and justice program, said “Women and children will die as a result of these policies.”
Of course, there’s also the President’s defense of known domestic abusers. Trump backed Rob Porter, the White House aide who was forced to resign after it became public knowledge that two of his ex-wives had accused him of abusing them. Although he was not elected, Trump threw his weight behind Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for U.S Senate in Alabama who had been accused of engaging in inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl.
So, respect for women? Actions are way louder than word, Mr. Trump. It remains shocking that 53 percent of white women who voted in the 2016 election supported this raging misogynist. We remain hopeful that things are indeed darkest before the dawn, and that the realization of just how anti-woman this president is, coupled with the coming wave of female candidates, will bring a sea-tide of change. As Margaret Atwood wrote in The Handmaid’s Tale, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”