This Week in the War on Women

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. 

Welcome to the War on Women Report.

Molly Adams

Friday 9/1

+Trump declared that his administration will be rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects roughly 800,000 youth and teens from deportation and provides them with access to valid driver’s licenses, work permits, and school enrollment. The Obama-era immigration policy has been hailed as a massive victory since its inception in 2012, freeing Americans from perpetual fear of deportation. Texas alone is home to 120,000 DACA recipients, and to target these Americans in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is unconscionable—according to estimations from the Center for American Progress, the Texas economy would lose roughly $1.6 billion annually should 100,000 DREAMers be deported.

Monday 9/4

+ It was just announced that a popular federal-state program that guarantees health coverage for millions of children from lower- and middle-class families is up for renewal September 30th. The Children’s Health Insurance Program protects more than 9 million kids whose families can’t afford insurance yet don’t qualify for Medicaid. Amidst mounting pressure to find adequate funds to alleviate the havoc being wrought by Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, health advocates fear that conservative lawmakers will use the renewal as an opportunity to limit the program’s reach, placing the health of children and their mother’s in jeopardy.

Tuesday 9/5

+ After a federal judge struck down an Obama-era Labor Department rule that would extend overtime benefits to 4 million workers, the Justice Department announced that it will drop its appeal, effectively impeding fair pay for millions of Americans. The rule, which was set to go into place last December, lifted the salary threshold for overtime pay up from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, which made nearly 4.2 million additional workers—more than half of whom are women—eligible for overtime protections.

Wednesday 9/6

+ After White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders mentioned on Tuesday that the decision to phase out DACA was one the President wrestled with, Trump announced Wednesday morning that he has “no second thoughts.” The following day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Trump to reassure those protected by DACA that they will not be subject to deportation within the next six months. Such capricious rhetoric has provoked mass panic among DACA recipients, also known as DREAMers, who were required to give detailed information—names and addresses of themselves and their parents—to the federal government in order to gain driver’s licenses, work permits, and other deferred action benefits. Many DREAMers are now parents, and the implications of this decision for them and their children remains uncertain.

+ While making a pitch in North Dakota for his latest tax plan—which would unequivocally favor the wealthiest Americans—Trump bragged about his administrations role in promoting the fossil fuel industry and gutting environmental protections. He also touted his decision to re-authorize the Keystone XL pipelines. Such moves exasperate the the disproportionate impact climate change has on women, who make up 70 percent of the world’s poor and are responsible for 60-80 percent of all household food production in developing countries.

Thursday 9/7

+ Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced her decision to take steps to revoke the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter, a popular guidance of Title IX that provides clear-cut interpretations of the law and guidelines for its enforcement. While the law is still in place—DeVos does not have the power to change law with her remarks alone—this is a sign that the Office for Civil Rights may no longer be as effective an avenue for survivors who which to make a complaint.

+ As of today, the Trump administration has shuffled around millions of dollars in an all-out attack on women’s bodily autonomy. At least $3.1 million in grants has gone to anti-choice clinics—namely crisis pregnancy centers or religiously affiliated organizations that function primarily to dissuade women from seeking abortion care. Over $3 million in federal funds has been funneled into organizations that distribute false and misleading information related to sexual health. Through the Competitive Abstinence Education (CAE) program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has granted $8.9 million to 21 agencies and organizations. In states like Missouri, this money has funded protests against Planned Parenthood. HHS has awarded another $2.1 million in grants to nearly three dozen organizations and agencies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s abstinence education program. Meanwhile, $213.6 million in grants has been eliminated from teen pregnancy prevention research and programs.

Further Reporting

+ Read Amy Siskind’s write-up on Week 42 in the Trump administration.

+ Read Melissa McEwan’s daily round-up of acts of resistance in the age of Trump from this week.



Jessica Merino is a former Ms. editorial intern.