A feminist’s dire warning to her colleagues about what Trump might do
There are many reasons to worry about what a Trump Administration holds in store for women. The President-elect has vowed to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Some states will be emboldened to impose restrictive new laws that can become test cases; the Ohio legislature did so last week, passing a bill that effectively bans abortions, with no exception for rape or incest, after six weeks of pregnancy—a point at which many women do not yet know they are pregnant. Janet Porter, an activist against the “criminalization of Christianity,” who has been pushing for the Ohio law since 2011, said, “It’s a brand-new day with a Trump-appointed Supreme Court, and we are very hopeful.”
Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are feeling bullish about finally achieving a goal that they’ve sought for years: getting rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides health services like cancer screening and contraception, as well as abortion. If a Trump Administration succeeds in dismantling the Affordable Care Act, or simply in eliminating the mandate that health plans include contraception coverage, many more women will lose access to health care and, especially, to more expensive, but also more effective, long-acting contraceptive methods, such as the I.U.D.
Tom Price, Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, is an opponent of the A.C.A. who apparently doubts that any woman in America would have trouble affording birth control. “Bring me one woman who’s been left behind,” he told an interviewer in 2012. “There’s not one.” Under Jeff Sessions, the anti-abortion Alabama senator whom Trump has named as his candidate for Attorney General, the Justice Department is unlikely to provide robust protection for abortion clinics. Eric Scheidler, the head of Pro-Life Action League, a group that leads confrontational protests outside such clinics, wrote earlier this month, “With Jeff Sessions at Justice, pro-life activists like me can breathe a sigh of relief.” As members of Congress, both Sessions and Price voted against the federal Violence Against Women Act when it last came up for reauthorization. For Labor Secretary, Trump has in mind Andrew Puzder, the C.E.O. of the company that runs Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. An opponent of raising the minimum wage and of expanding overtime pay, Puzder, referring to the company’s ads, told the magazine Entrepreneur, “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”
Trump won the Presidency despite a well-documented penchant for the vulgar belittlement of women, and with the help of a fan base energized by chants of “Lock Her Up.” The oddly medieval demonization of Hillary Clinton continues among Trump supporters: see the conspiracy theory that posits her as a child-sex-trafficking witch, hiding in tunnels beneath a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, where last week a man turned up with an assault-style rifle to “self-investigate” the claim.
To be fair, Trump has suggested one decent policy for women and families: a six-week paid maternity leave, which would indeed end a national disgrace. (The U.S. is the only developed country with no guaranteed family leave.) But the plan pointedly omits paternity leave, enshrining an old-fashioned view of families and potentially creating new grounds for employment discrimination against women. Details of how the plan would be funded—by eliminating fraud in unemployment insurance—are murky.
This article continues at [New Yorker] The Future of Women Under President Trump