War on Women Report No. 10

The War on Women is in full force under the Trump administration. We refuse to go back, and we refuse to let the administration quietly dismantle the progress we’ve made. We are watching. 

This is the War on Women Report.

Karla Cote / Creative Commons

Earlier this month

+ As part of the month-long, ongoing lawsuit of Jane Doe—the previously pregnant teen who was blocked by the Trump administration from obtaining an abortion—a series of emails was released that sheds light on the administrations concerted efforts to deter minors from receiving abortions. One email showed that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) suggested that a pregnant minor who had been scheduled for discharge not be released until she had been fully counseled against obtaining an abortion:

In another case, the ORR temporarily halted a medication abortion halfway through the procedure:

While the cases of Jane doe and other pregnant teens already make it painstakingly clear that the Trump administration will go to great lengths to challenge a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, these emails pinpoint the specific mechanisms used to advance their anti-choice agenda.

Last Week

+ Last week, Ajit Pai, the head of the Federal Communications Commission, announced his plan to undo Obama-era rules that codified net neutrality—the notion of internet as a utility, like electricity or water, that is accessible to the public with minor restrictions on access and zero discrimination between providers or types of content. Obama’s 2015 net neutrality protections keep internet service providers (ISP’s) like AT&T from leveraging their control over internet connections to ban specific sites, privilege certain types of content or slow internet speeds. Feminists know that this can translate into conservative corporations slowing down or even removing access to resources like Planned Parenthood, Domestic Violence support lines, LGBTQ forums and other gender-specific resources that support women and gender minorities that are already under attack by conservative politicians and corporate leaders. Pai, a former Verizon lobbyist, is expected to act fast. The final vote on the proposal is just weeks away and woman’s voices and representation are on the line.

+ Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump repeated a recent claim that an infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged about groping women is not authentic—contradicting his initial admission of guilt about the tape when it was leaked during the campaign. 16 women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual harassment; he has called their allegations “fake news.”

Monday, 11/27

+ Monday evening, Trump’s former economic advisor, Stephen Moore, attempted to morally equate Alabama congressional candidate Roy Moore’s alleged acts of sexual violence against teen girls with abortion. Moore has been accused of sexual harassment and child molestation by more than half a dozen women, and Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike have condemned him in the wake of initial reports of the allegations. Trump himself, however, and some in his administration, have instead doubled down on their support for him.

+ On Monday, during a ceremony dedicated to Navajo Code Talkers, President Trump used the name Pocahontas as a political punchline. Several Indigenous women reported feeling deeply bother by the President’s comments, which glazed over the centuries of continuing violence experienced by Indigenous women across the country. “It sends the message that natives are invisible,” said Caroline LaPorte, senior native affairs policy adviser for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and a daughter of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. To attempt to use Pocahontas as an innocent caricature representative of an entire peoples is to ignore the abuse Pocahontas and others suffered. As LaPorte points out, what Pocahontas experienced was “no love story”—in reality, “she was raped and kidnapped.” Trump’s political pun stifles the potential for important conversation that needs to be had around issues impacting Indigenous women, such as the extreme levels of gender-based violence that plague their communities. According to the Department of Justice, four our of five Indigenous American women experience violence in their lifetime—more than any other group of women in the United States.

Tuesday 11/28

+ As correspondents that cover the White House receive their invitations to the annual White House Holiday party, one reporter has been left waiting:. April Ryan, bureau chief of the American Urban Radio Networks and one of the few black woman journalists with the credentials to attend press briefings at the White House. She has never before been excluded from the guest list. “I don’t think I was overlooked,” Ryan explained to The Washington Post. “I think they don’t like me. For whatever reason, they have disdain for me.” The popular, assertive reporter has gained momentum under Trump, refusing to be silenced on multiple accounts and standing up against White House press secretaries Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sean Spicer. Ryan recently won the “She Persisted Award” at the Women’s Media Center 2017 Women’s Media Awards for holding the people in positions of power accountable.

Wednesday 11/29

+ On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s pick for the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, announced that employers should be able to deny access to birth control in order to protect their personal views on what federal health officials are falsely calling a crucial component of women’s health. “We have to balance a woman’s choice of insurance with the conscience of their employers,” Alex Azar said at the Senate confirmation hearing. Senator Parry Murray (D-Wash) has expressed concern “that Trump has sent us another extreme ideological nominee,” adding that Azar, who is notorious for his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, seems to side with “ideology over science and right-wing politicians over women.” Azar’s comments on birth control demonstrate his loyalty to the Trump administration, which last month rolled back an Affordable Care Act requirement that employers must provide employees with insurance plans that cover birth control. Back in 2000, while Azar worked as the deputy secretary of the Health and Human Services Department under President George W. Bush, he commended Bush’s signing of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which undermined Roe.

Jessica Merino is an editorial intern at Ms.

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