President Donald Trump has never been considered a women’s rights advocate, but are those women in pink pussy hats just overreacting? They aren’t. Trump has directly attacked both women and their rights throughout both his candidacy and time in the White House. From restricting birth control access to removing breast cancer information from a government website, here are 15 times Trump has targeted women.
In 2005, Donald Trump bragged about forcefully kissing and groping women without consent. The conversation between Trump and Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush while on the set of Days of Our Lives was recorded by Trump’s microphone. During the conversation Trump said, “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” He went on to say, Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Following the release of this tape, Bush was fired. On the other hand, Trump became President. Trump’s recorded history of sexual harassment and assault promotes a culture where sexual abuse is accepted and even something to joke about.
19 women have accused Trump of sexual harassment, abuse and even rape yet nothing has been done (the rape allegation came from his ex-wife, Ivana). Over the past two years, congressmen on both sides of the aisle have resigned amid sexual harassment accusations. So far, four Democrats and five Republicans have resigned but the list keeps growing. However, nothing has been done concerning the allegations against Trump.
Just to put it into perspective, Democratic Senator Al Franken had eight women accuse him of forcibly kissing and groping them. The Senate ethics panel looked into the accusations and after dozens of senators publicly called for his resignation, he stepped down. Trump has been accused of forcibly kissing, groping and more, and we even have a tape to prove that sexual harassment was a pastime for him. However, no one has looked into the accusations against Trump and he remains in office.
In a March 2016 interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC, Trump said women who receive abortions should be punished if the medical procedure is banned in the U.S. Despite Trump’s former pro-choice stance, he embraced a full anti-abortion agenda for the 2016 election. When Matthews asked how Trump would suggest enforcing the law if abortion reverted back to being illegal, he initially dodged the question. However, with a little more prodding he said, “There has to be some form of punishment.” Matthews then asked if Trump meant punishment for the women who receives the abortion, to which Trump said yes. Hours later, Trump attempted to walk back his statements.
So far in Trump’s presidential term, he has appointed twice as many men as women to positions in his administration. Despite claims from the Trump family, and even the Republican National Convention, Trump has not hired the most women “of any president.” In fact, Trump has done the exact opposite and created his own gender gap in the White House.
22 to 27 percent of Trump’s first appointments were women, and that number has decreased over the course of his term. 43 percent of President Barack Obama’s original appointments were women, followed by President Bill Clinton at 37 percent and President George W. Bush at 26 percent.
Trump supported congressmen Jim Jordan and Roy Moore as they became entangled in accusations surrounding sexual assault. Jordan was not accused of sexual assault but of turning a blind eye to sexual assault. During Jordan’s time as Ohio State’s former assistant wrestling coach, the team’s doctor was Richard Strauss. Strauss has since been accused of molesting students on the wrestling team. Jordan denied any knowledge of the sexual abuse and Trump supported him. Concerning the victim’s accusations Trump said, “I don’t believe them at all. I believe him [Jordan].”
Roy Moore was accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers and Trump supported him as well. Moore was accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting another teenager. Trump said, “He says it didn’t happen. You have to listen to him, also.”
In May, the Trump administration proposed a new rule that changes Title X. This change would prohibit doctors who receive Title X funding from referring their patients to clinics that provide abortions. Under this new rule, only women who specifically say they want an abortion can be given information on abortion providers.
Last year, Trump signed legislation that allows states to completely withhold Title X funds from abortion providers. This ultimately allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood and other women’s clinics that provide healthcare such as cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, access to birth control, general women’s health exams, LGBT health services, emergency contraceptive access, pregnancy testing and services, sex education, HIV services and safe abortions.
In September 2017, the Trump administration eliminated a guidance put in place by President Obama on how colleges and universities should respond to sexual violence on campus. In 2011, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights under the Obama administration put into place a standard known as “preponderance of the evidence” on campuses. This standard instructed that when schools are judging sexual violence cases under Title IX, an anti-discrimination law, they use the lowest standard of proof that a victim was sexually assaulted. Ultimately, this standard helped victims who were sexually assaulted but lacked witnesses or concrete evidence to identify their assaulter. Without this guidance in place, the accused (who are mostly men) have the upper hand in sexual violence cases while the victims (mostly women) must go back to being too afraid to report sexual violence on campus.
In January 2018, multiple civil rights advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Education Department’s rollback of the Obama-era guidance. The executive director of the Victim Rights Law Center Stacy Malone said that following the rollback, students “fear they are no longer able to get a fair shake. Their reports will not be taken seriously because survivors will be dismissed as women who had drunk regret sex as opposed to who they really are, victims of sexual violence.”
In May 2017, the Trump administration reinstated the “Mexico City policy” also known as the “global gag rule.” This rule cuts U.S. funding to foreign health clinics that practice or provide information about abortion. The rule was initially introduced by President Ronald Reagan. Since then, it has been overturned by President Bill Clinton, reinstated by President George W. Bush, overturned again by President Barack Obama and finally reinstated again by President Donald Trump. However, Trump had to be petty about his reinstatement and signed the executive order the day after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that made abortion legal in the U.S.
Trump’s reinstatement of the global gag rule also expanded the rule greatly and it now applies to all of the U.S.’s global health assistance. Now, this rule not only impacts reproductive clinics but also those that treat HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, malaria, tuberculosis and more. This means, international clinics must choose between offering comprehensive health care and receiving U.S. funding.
At a July rally in Montana, Trump mocked the #MeToo movement while simultaneously attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Trump has constantly mocked Warren with the crude nickname of “Pochahontas” after she claimed she has Native American ancestry. At the rally, Trump told the crowd he would throw her a DNA kit, “but we have to do it gently because we’re in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very gentle.”
At the 2018 United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly the Trump administration attempted to water down a proposed resolution that would promote breastfeeding. The resolution upheld that breast milk has been scientifically proven to be the healthiest for babies and sought to restrict misleading marketing by breast milk substitute companies. However, the Trump administration wanted to remove a line from the resolution which urged governments around the world to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding.” The administration also wanted a passage removed that called for policymakers to restrict the marketing of breast milk substitution products that can have “deleterious effects on young children.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has revealed his negative views against breastfeeding. In 2011, Trump testified in a lawsuit over his failed Florida real estate project. During the hearing, the opposing lawyer Elizabeth Beck pulled out a breast pump and asked for a medical break. Trump proceeded to say, “you’re disgusting” before storming out of the courtroom.
On the day of Trump’s inauguration, the LGBT page of the White House website disappeared. Since then, multiple websites and informational pages have been deleted, such as a website with information on breast cancer. This website detailed provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require coverage of free mammograms for some women as well as information on a free screening program for low-income women at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The administration also altered the language on the Health and Human Services Department’s Office for Civil Rights’ website that prohibited all types of sex discrimination in health care.
Finally, the Trump administration deleted a 2014 report originally posted by the Obama administration detailing information on sexual assault and violence. You can find a copy of this report on the Obama White House’s archived website here. The Democratic National Convention said, “The Trump-Pence administration might be able to delete language on a webpage, but they can’t erase women and LGBTQ people.”
The Trump administration has taken extreme measures to block multiple undocumented immigrant girls from receiving abortions while being detained. Advocates claim these attempts are in direct violation of the constitution.
After multiple attempts to block undocumented and unaccompanied immigrant girls from receiving abortions, Trump took his request to the Supreme Court in June. The Supreme Court reversed a federal appeals court ruling that 17-year-old Jane Doe had a right to an abortion. Doe had already received the abortion at the time of their ruling so they released an unsigned ruling without actually taking a stance.
Trump vowed to appoint Supreme Court Justices and is following through on his promise. Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court who hasn’t declared his stance on abortion. However, he was one of the dissenting appeals court judges in the case of the 17-year-old pregnant immigrant girl Jane Doe last year.
In April, the Trump administration shifted funding from programs that aim to reduce teen pregnancy rates to programs that teach abstinence-only. The grants program Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPP) created under the Obama administration will now only give grants to programs that teach abstinence-only to teens instead of comprehensive sex education.
An analysis in the “Journal of Adolescent Health” found that abstinence-only education does not reduce rates of teen pregnancies or STDs. In fact, the report states that these programs “have little demonstrated efficacy in helping adolescents to delay intercourse.” The coauthor of the report and a scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, Laura Lindberg said, “We fail our young people when we don’t provide them with complete and medically accurate information.”
The Trump administration has placed an emphasis on natural family planning in their recent changes to Title X. When Title X was first introduced by President Richard Nixon, it ensured that all women had access to the birth control of their choosing and one that worked for them. Nixon promised, “no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” This ultimately led to a decrease in U.S. rates of unplanned pregnancy and abortion.
However, Trump removed the requirement that Title X providers must offer all types of birth control to patients. Trump has replaced the more effective birth control methods such as the pill, IUD and implant with period tracking and temperature taking practices. To top it off, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in July the creation of a “Religious Liberty Task Force” to “help the department [of justice] fully implement our religious guidance.” There is no more separation between church and state, or women’s bodies for that matter. Stock up on your preferred birth control.