Day 5: "Nobody Has More Respect For Women Than I Do"
Just two days after millions of people from around the globe marched in support of women’s rights, President Donald Trump took a break from Twitter to try his hand at legislation, signing an executive order that bans federal funding for international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions as a means of family planning. This measure directly affects women in developing nations, who might now be pressed into seeking out unsafe abortions that could have serious health ramifications.
While Trump’s moral compass when it working with women is intrinsically flawed and at times cringe-worthy, the 45th president carries a mixed record on the issue of abortion. While previously stating his position as being pro-choice, Trump has since jumped ship, stating; “I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life,” and vowing to defund Planned Parenthood.
While the reinstatement of the “Mexico City Policy” could simply be a means of showing loyalty to the Republican Party (the policy was first signed into law under the Reagan administration, then repealed by Bill Clinton, reinstated by George W. Bush, and repealed by Barrack Obama in 2009), this flip-flop of the century could also signal the start of a broader attack of women’s rights. Contrary to popular belief, Planned Parenthood does much more than administer abortions; however, Trump’s insistence on treating the organization as a one-issue entity could hinder women’s (and men’s) access to birth control, STD testing, and cancer screenings, as well as abortions. As many college students well know, STD testing is vital to promoting healthy lifestyles in the growing hookup culture—especially given a recent spike in STD’s among college students.
Regardless of the President’s intent, the timing of this executive order seems especially tone deaf, and affirms the fears of many of the women who marched on Saturday. If Trump is to truly unite America, he must first look beyond only serving those who share his political beliefs and begin reading his Twitter mentions with an open mind. Until then, he will merely continue to give fodder to the fire and worsen an extremely divided America between Trump and anti-Trump.