War on Women Report No. 21

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.

Last week

+ In a March 29 report, Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project found the Health and Human Services Department had removed breast cancer from its widely viewed website. “This censorship sows real doubt about health considerations for populations of vulnerable women throughout the country,” project director Andrew Bergman wrote. The HHS Department has responded to reports about its decision by claiming this was done because the content was rarely accessed and “not mobile-friendly.” And yet, the unannounced decision only reveals how tangential and unimportant this administration regards women’s health and safety.

Sunday 4/1

+ On Sunday, President Trump rang in Easter with a fear-mongering tweet about danger on the U.S.-Mexico border, and wrote in all caps, “NO MORE DACA DEAL!” Along with his remarks later, the tweet was a callous reminder of his ignorance and indecisiveness about an issue that affects whether thousands of people will be able to remain in the United States with their families—and his administration’s consistent attacks on immigrants.

Monday, 4/2

+ On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against California in a federal court in Sacramento to protect public land from being sold or leased by the Trump administration and maintain conservation efforts the lands are used for. The contentious legal fight is just one of multiple between California and the Trump administration underway as the state strives to protect immigrant rights and the environment from an administration that is consistently jeopardizing both.

+ Buzzfeed reported that last week that a former Trump campaign staffer had filed a suit claiming an NDA she signed while working to help elect Trump is being used to silence her as she attempts to seek damages over allegations of work harassment. Jessica Denson says her suit is unrelated to Trump’s personal life or business, but rather, employees on his campaign, which she says should not be affected by the NDA she signed. Denson is just the third woman who has come forward claiming Trump has been trying to silence her, and her allegations of harassment by Trump campaign employees comes on the heels of widespread accusations against his cabinet members and employees of harassment and violence against women. In addition to the many allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump himself, both as a candidate and now as president, Trump has also demonstrated blatant disregard for allegations against his appointees.

+ After reports began to surface that Sinclair Broadcasting has been pushing pro-Trump, anti-media stories to its local stations, the company released a statement denying that it is a propaganda machine. The president has praised Sinclair, which should speak volumes amid a media landscape that is vigilant in reporting on scandals, indiscretions and acts of cruelty from the Trump administration.

Tuesday, 4/3

+ According to a Tuesday Wall Street Journal report, the Department of Justice will now evaluate immigration judges’ performances based on how quickly they close cases. This method of evaluation marks an effort to speed up the deportation process. In addition to speeding up the process, the DOJ is also calling for a 15 percent quota of 700 cases annually to result in sending immigrants back to their home countries. The efficiency with which the Justice Department aims to enforce and put the president’s cruelty and racism into practice is jarring, and marks a coordinated effort to united the legal system behind a front of xenophobia.

Wednesday, 4/4

+ Amid numerous scandals, from paying highly discounted rent for a D.C. apartment from a lobbyist’s wife to slashing EPA funding and giving his favorite aides raises, EPA head Scott Pruitt is reportedly barely hanging on to his job as of this week. At a Wednesday press conference, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question about Pruitt’s rent scandal by explaining that his conduct is currently being investigated. Asked if the president was “okay” with Pruitt’s conduct in that situation, Sanders said “he’s not.” And yet, even if Pruitt is removed from his post, we can hardly believe he would be replaced by someone open to common-sense environmental protections.

+ On Wednesday, CNN reported on a passage from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ upcoming book Make Trouble that recounts how Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner criticized Planned Parenthood for becoming “too political”—and attempted to bribe Richards to reduce the organization’s abortion services. Richards declined the offer; no matter how much or how little funding Planned Parenthood receives, women will always need abortion, and Planned Parenthood will always make itself available to offer necessary abortion care.

Thursday, 4/5

+ AP reported Thursday that 283 schools in Puerto Rico will close. One reason cited is the devastation of the island after Hurricane Maria, which contributed to the island’s already fragile Department of Education. Last week, it had been reported that the Trump administration had treated Puerto Rico dramatically different from Houston in terms of offering relief after their respective storms, which is pretty much in line with the president’s record of regarding Americans of color as un-American.

+ In a Thursday speech, Trump referenced his campaign announcement speech in which he called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” This time, he talked about how migrant “women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don’t want to mention that. So we have to change our laws.” Rape and sexual assault are commonly cited by the president—when the references suit his agenda of fear-mongering and portraying immigrants as monsters.

Friday, 4/6

+ In Friday’s press briefing, press secretary Sanders addressed Trump’s Thursday comments about the prevalence of rape along the U.S.-Mexico border, attempting to spin his language into concern for the wellbeing of migrant women and girls—up to 80 percent of whom are raped on their way to the U.S. border. And yet, her words were strikingly tone-deaf in ignoring how the president’s policies and favor for a highly militarized border too often force migrant women and girls into dangerous situations.

+ On Friday, the New York Times reported that roughly 100,000 predominantly Indian women immigrants could be removed from the United States if the Trump administration rescinds an Obama-era program, which it is expected to do. Specifically, the Trump administration is considering revoking H1-B, which allows skilled workers sponsored by U.S. employers and awaiting permanent residency to obtain temporary work permits. The program has allowed spouses who are overwhelmingly wives to legally live in the United States. Without it, women would be disproportionately affected, and unsaid numbers of families would be separated.



Kylie Cheung writes about reproductive and survivor justice, and is the author of Survivor Injustice: State-Sanctioned Abuse, Domestic Violence, and the Fight for Bodily Autonomy, available Aug. 15.