War on Women Report No. 24

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.

Monday, 4/23

+ On Monday, the Washington Post reported that President Trump’s new National Vetting Center launched this week—a nebulous new body that extends the administration’s demonstrated Islamophobia, xenophobia and nativism and is also extremely confusing to existing vetting groups in the U.S. “I don’t know why you would want to duplicate something that has already been built when we already have the National Targeting Center, which does and is capable of doing serious vetting with respect to any foreign national seeking to enter the United States,” Robert Bonner, a former U.S. attorney who led U.S. Customs and Border Protection under President George W. Bush and established the center, told the Washington Post. In other words: The National Vetting Center’s sole purpose is to send a crass political message framing immigrants and refugees as dangerous and unwelcome.

Tuesday, 4/24

+ On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed a Trump judicial pick to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals with a jarring record on LGBTQ and abortion rights. Kyle Duncan, a conservative lawyer, was widely opposed by LGBTQ groups due to his record on “religious freedom” policies that alienate and encourage legal discrimination of queer and trans people, including defending North Carolina’s anti-trans bathroom laws in a 2016 lawsuit. Duncan also notably worked on the Hobby Lobby case, in which the Supreme Court ultimately decide employers could deny insurance coverage of birth control and other services, and the notorious Whole Women’s Health case—in which he fought to protect the Texas TRAP law that shuttered clinics across the state.

Wednesday, 4/25

+ On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments for the third version of the president’s proposed travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump has argued that he is acting to “protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” despite being unable to offer any proof that refugees are dangerous. Lower courts have consistently ruled against the policy.

+ NBC News reported the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Adolescent Health has issued a new directive to stress abstinence-only methods for teen pregnancy prevention. “Both risk avoidance and risk reduction approaches can and should include skills associated with helping youth delay sex as well as skills to help those youth already engaged in sexual risk to return toward risk-free choices in the future,” one newly released document said. The administration has consistently supported abstinence-only programs, dramatically shifting funding to groups that share this agenda despite how research has shown that states that do not provide comprehensive, accurate sexual health education have higher rates of teen pregnancy and STDs—putting ideology before the health, safety and bodily autonomy of young women.

Thursday, 4/26

+ On Thursday, the Senate narrowly confirmed CIA director Mike Pompeo as the next Secretary of State. Pompeo was widely opposed for his notoriously sexist and racist views; he has expressed opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape, and would no doubt further the cuts Trump has implemented for family planning and reproductive health funding worldwide. The Trump administration has already re-instated and expanded the Global Gag Rule, putting organizations worldwide in danger of shutting their doors and putting the women and girls they serve at risk, and removed language recognizing birth control and abortion as human rights from multiple documents.

+ Also on Thursday, it was reported that top immigration chiefs are urging Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to detain and criminally prosecute unauthorized border-crossers—which could result in the separation of many families, as children would be taken away from their parents while their parents are jailed and prosecuted. The past year has seen ICE escalate its immigration raids, along with a lawsuit filed by the ACLU earlier this year against the agency for separating hundreds of immigrant families.


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.