Irish Independent

Trump’s at­tacks on women’s rights were de­spi­ca­ble – so they told him ‘you’re fired’

- Co­lette Browne Patriarchy · Sexism · Women's Rights · U.S. News · US Politics · Society · Discrimination · Feminism · Politics · Human Rights · Social Movements · Donald Trump · Donald · U.S. Supreme Court · Amy Coney Barrett · Kamala Harris · U.S. Food and Drug Administration · United States of America · Republican Party (United States) · Ronald Reagan · Reagan · Democratic Party (United States) · Philippines Department of Justice · Barack Obama · Sonia Sotomayor

DON­ALD Trump’s pre­ferred method of in­gra­ti­at­ing him­self with women in­fa­mously in­volved grab­bing them by their pri­vate parts . Women pre­ferred to grab him by the bal­lot. Women, es­pe­cially black women, were in­stru­men­tal in his de­feat, with early exit polls in­di­cat­ing just 42pc of women, ver­sus 53pc of men, voted for Trump.

Al­ways a fan of hurl­ing in­sults, Trump de­rided women as “fat pigs”, “dogs”, “slobs” and “dis­gust­ing an­i­mals”, but women turned Trump into what he de­tests the most – a loser. Worse than that, a bad loser who re­fuses to ad­mit de­feat, even if that fail­ure fo­ments a vi­o­lent in­sur­rec­tion.

Four years of his pres­i­dency did in­cal­cu­la­ble harm to women’s rights. A fur­ther four would have been cat­a­strophic.

The most glar­ing ex­am­ple of Trump’s ero­sion of women’s rights has been his ef­forts to cur­tail and di­min­ish re­pro­duc­tive rights. Through­out the 2016 elec­tion cam­paign, Trump promised to ap­point fed­eral judges to do just this, but not even he could have an­tic­i­pated how suc­cess­ful he would be in this re­gard.

In just four years, Trump man­aged to ap­point three jus­tices to the Supreme Court, the lat­est of whom, Amy Coney Bar­rett, was in­stalled just days be­fore the elec­tion. His legacy is a con­ser­va­tive su­per­ma­jor­ity on the court, which has huge im­pli­ca­tions for women’s re­pro­duc­tive rights for decades.

There has al­ready been a judg­ment from the newly con­sti­tuted court to whit­tle away those rights. Last week it ruled women could no longer have the abor­tion pill posted to them by their med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers, a mea­sure that was in­tro­duced last May in re­sponse to the pan­demic and the risks en­tailed from trav­el­ling.

Jus­tice So­nia So­tomayor, who will swear in Ka­mala Har­ris as vice-pres­i­dent to­day, in her dis­sent, noted the FDA reg­u­lates 20,000 drugs in Amer­ica, but just one is re­quired to be picked up in per­son. The one that’s ex­clu­sively used by women.

Not con­tent to at­tack re­pro­duc­tive rights in the United States, one of Trump’s first acts as pres­i­dent was to block all for­eign aid for in­ter­na­tional health­care or­gan­i­sa­tions un­less they agreed not to pro­mote abor­tion – a mea­sure ev­ery Repub­li­can pres­i­dent since Rea­gan signed into law and ev­ery Demo­crat re­scinded.

How­ever, Trump sig­nif­i­cantly ex­panded the reach of this ban, so NGOs that even dis­cussed abor­tion, or ad­vo­cated for abor­tion rights gen­er­ally, would be de­nied fund­ing. This dra­co­nian dik­tat ap­plied to all of the United States’ $10bn (€8.2bn) in global health as­sis­tance, mul­ti­ples of the €495m in fund­ing that fell un­der the ban in pre­vi­ous years.

The im­pli­ca­tions of this “global gag rule” did not just ex­tend to abor­tion ser­vices in some of the world’s poor­est coun­tries. It im­pacted HIV test­ing, can­cer screen­ing, ma­ter­nal health ser­vices and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes on child mar­riage and hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Not con­tent with at­tack­ing women’s re­pro­duc­tive health, Trump’s Depart­ment of Jus­tice pub­lished new guid­ance in 2018 which di­luted the le­gal def­i­ni­tion of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. Un­der Obama, the def­i­ni­tion had ex­panded to in­clude forms of non-phys­i­cal vi­o­lence like psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse and co­er­cive con­trol. Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­cised these forms of abuse from the def­i­ni­tion, thereby re­duc­ing the pro­tec­tions avail­able to women.

Sim­i­larly, Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion also in­tro­duced new reg­u­la­tions, gov­ern­ing the man­ner in which uni­ver­si­ties in­ves­ti­gated sex­ual as­sault com­plaints, which re­de­fined sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the nar­row­est way pos­si­ble. Not only was the def­i­ni­tion of sex­ual ha­rass­ment it­self gut­ted, the onus on col­leges to in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints was also re­duced.

The pur­pose of these re­vised guide­lines was not to en­sure a com­pre­hen­sive com­plaints process, but rather to re­duce the num­ber of com­plaints. The ad­min­is­tra­tion boasted that the re­vised guide­lines would save uni­ver­si­ties be­tween €270m and €337m over the next decade – a sav­ing ac­crued due to an in­evitable re­duc­tion in the num­ber of in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

When Trump signed a Covid relief pack­age into law in March 2020, it in­cluded a re­quire­ment for em­ploy­ers to pro­vide paid leave to em­ploy­ees im­pacted by the cri­sis. The mea­sure would have pro­vided 12 weeks paid leave if an em­ployee’s child’s school was closed. It didn’t last long. Within a few weeks, new guid­ance was pub­lished which af­forded em­ploy­ers so many ex­emp­tions that the man­date be­came vir­tu­ally use­less.

Per­haps that is partly the rea­son that, in De­cem­ber, of the 140,000 jobs that were lost to the econ­omy, all of the jobs were lost to women. Ev­ery sin­gle one. In to­tal that month, the first time in eight months there was a dip in jobs, women lost 156,000 jobs while men gained 14,000.

The most de­spi­ca­ble of Trump’s at­tacks on women have been those on im­mi­grants and women of colour, many of whom have been vic­tims of the bar­baric im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy of fam­ily sep­a­ra­tion at the bor­der. More than 3,000 chil­dren were sep­a­rated from their par­ents at Trump’s in­sis­tence in 2017 and 2018. To­day, hun­dreds of those chil­dren have still not been re­united with their par­ents – as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has no idea where they are. In many cases, they de­ported them with­out their chil­dren.

It is un­sur­pris­ing that a man who speaks about women in such coarse terms, and was him­self ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault by scores of women, would not be a cham­pion of women’s rights. But his de­ter­mi­na­tion to dis­man­tle rights that were hard won, un­der pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions, was galling to wit­ness.

Trump, for all his brag­gado­cio, re­vealed him­self over the course of his four-year term to be a pa­thetic lit­tle man with a glass ego, that shat­tered at the mildest provo­ca­tion. It is with great sat­is­fac­tion that we can all now say: “Trump, you’re fired.”

More than 3,000 chil­dren were sep­a­rated from their par­ents at Trump’s in­sis­tence

 ?? PHOTO: REUTERS ?? Rul­ing: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump blocked all for­eign aid for global health­care or­gan­i­sa­tions un­less they agreed not to pro­mote abor­tion.
PHOTO: REUTERS Rul­ing: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump blocked all for­eign aid for global health­care or­gan­i­sa­tions un­less they agreed not to pro­mote abor­tion.
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