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One year under Trump: ‘An assault on women’s health’ | News

It was one year in the past that tens of millions of women worldwide marched towards newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump.

The marches have been meant to ship a message to Trump after a presidential election that “insulted, demonised and threatened” women, immigrants and people from the LGBTQ group and others.

“[The march] will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” organisers declared forward of the 2017 women’s march.

Over the final year, women haven’t stopped marching and organising, calling on governments to do extra to help women’s rights.

More women have entered politics within the US, and on Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of thousands took to the streets once more to demand that they’ve a seat on the desk.

Despite the good points, nevertheless, 2017 additionally noticed an “assault” by the Trump administration and Congress on women’s health, advocates and health specialists say.

“We have faced assaults constantly on the legislative front to reproductive rights and to access to healthcare generally for people in America across the board,” Amy Friedrich-Karnik, a senior coverage adviser on the Center for Reproductive Health, advised Al Jazeera.

As women name on Trump to take extra steps to guard women’s rights, Al Jazeera examines a few of the key methods activists and health specialists say the administration has focused women’s health.

1. Reinstating and increasing the Global Gag Rule

During his first week in workplace, Trump started issuing government orders that reversed Obama-era insurance policies. Among them was a decree that reinstated the Global Gag Rule.

The Reagan-era coverage bans worldwide organisations that obtain US funding from offering abortion providers or providing details about the process. George W Bush was the final president to reinstate the rule.

In May, the Trump administration took further steps to broaden the rule, additionally referred to as the Mexico City coverage, to incorporate funding coming from the US Department of State, USAID and the Department of Defense.

This consists of almost $9bn aimed on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, the Zika virus and different health issues worldwide.

According to reproductive health advocates, the transfer “severely” restricts the work of worldwide organisations.

“[The rule] severely limits their [NGOs] ability to take US funds and then do the work that they need to do on the ground to ensure that women have access to the healthcare they need,” Friedrich-Karnik stated.

“We know from when the gaggle was in place in the past that it has a really devastating effect on women’s health and women’s access to services,” she added.

We have confronted assaults continuously on the legislative entrance to reproductive rights and to entry to healthcare usually for individuals in America throughout the board.”

Amy Friedrich-Karnik, Center for Reproductive Health

Dr Barbara Levy, vice chairman of health coverage on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), stated that because of the extensive scope of the brand new gag rule, many organisations which will qualify for funding are withholding providers out of worry.

“What we’re hearing is that organisations are refusing to do any counselling, any referrals or anything to do with even saying the word [‘abortion’] because they’re afraid of losing what US support and funding they have,” Levy stated.

“It [Global Gag Rule] has the potential to impact all of the good that is happened in HIV and the PEPFAR funding, [and] all of the good that has happened with malaria prevention because all of those are global health efforts, and frequently on the ground outside the US, the NGOs that are implementing these things are also doing family planning or other reproductive health services, ” she added, referring to the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“So it has a potential to be very broadly negatively impactful, not only for women’s health, but for health in general.”

2. Limiting contraception entry

Last week, the Trump administration introduced that it was increasing protections for docs, nurses and different healthcare staff who’ve an ethical or spiritual objection to performing providers like abortion, euthanasia or gender reassignment surgical procedure.

The transfer, hailed by conservative spiritual teams, consists of the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division inside the Department of Health and Human Services to offer oversight.

“For too long too many of these healthcare practitioners have been bullied and discriminated against because of their religious beliefs and moral conviction,” appearing HHS Secretary Eric Hargan stated on Thursday.

The announcement got here a day earlier than the annual March for Life, the place hundreds protested throughout the nation towards abortion.

Speaking to the protesters, Trump, who within the 1990s stated he “hates the concept of abortion”, however was nonetheless “pro-choice”, boasted about his steps throughout his first year in workplace to defend the “right to life”.

During his presidential bid, Trump stated he “evolved” on the difficulty.

Protesters on each side of the abortion difficulty collect outdoors the Supreme Court in the course of the March for Life [Susan Walsh/AP Photo]

In October, HHS additionally introduced new rules that might permit corporations and organisations which have ethical or spiritual objections to file for an exemption from a federal mandate that they supply contraceptive protection in health insurance coverage insurance policies with no co-pay.

In December, a second federal courtroom blocked the transfer over a “reversal” within the Trump administration’s “approach to striking the proper balance between substantial governmental and societal interests”.

While anti-abortion rights organisations have recommended Trump on the steps he has taken during the last year, reproductive rights advocates and different health specialists say the brand new guidelines symbolize a “deep pattern seen over the last year”.

“We believe that the primacy is not on any individuals, whether it’s employers or employees or your own personal feelings,” stated Lucia DiVenere, officer of presidency and political affairs at ACOG.

“It’s really the patient’s needs,” she advised Al Jazeera.

“We again and again implore and advise the Trump administration to place sufferers first and to ensure there isn’t a political interference between sufferers and the care they want.

“It’s really a very dystopian view of women’s healthcare and their access to healthcare.”

three. Anti-abortion rights activists appointed to key posts

Reproductive rights advocates additionally level to Trump’s appointments of outstanding anti-abortion rights activists to high-level posts in HHS and different departments.

Among probably the most controversial appointees is Charmaine Yoest, who led the main anti-abortion rights group Americans United for Life for seven years.

Yoest serves because the assistant secretary of public affairs at HHS. She was an lively supporter of the Trump marketing campaign and has been recognized to quote unreliable claims relating to women’s health issues.

In 2012, she informed the New York Times that the scientific institution is “under the control of the abortion lobby”.

Republican Senator Paul Ryan congratulated Yoest on the appointment on Twitter, saying “Yet again, this [administration] demonstrates strong commitment to the pro-life cause”.

People take part in a protest in help of women’s reproductive rights [Stephanie Keith/Reuters]

Trump additionally appointed Teresa Manning to the publish of head HHS’s household planning programmes. Manning, who resigned final week for unknown causes, based on native media, was brazenly against abortion and has questioned how efficient particular contraception strategies are.

Many additionally level to the conservative appointments of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court, and the Office Refugee Resettlement’s Scott Lloyd, who tried block a 17-year-old rape survivor and different immigrant teenagers in federal detention from getting an abortion.

In May, Vice President Mike Pence referred to as Trump’s appointments an “A-team” of “pro-life leaders”.

“For the first time in a long time, America has an administration that’s filled top to bottom with people who stand without apology for life,” Pence advised a crowd on the Susan B Anthony List Campaign for Life gala.

While anti-abortion rights teams have hailed Trump’s appointments, many who advocate for reproductive rights say they present a calculated transfer by the president to “go after women’s health rights”.

“I think it just signaled a very clear intent on the part of President Trump and his administration to systematically go after women’s health, women’s rights and dismantle kind of the system that we have in place to ensure that all people have access to the reproductive healthcare that they need,” the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Friedrich-Karnik stated.

four. Attempts to repeal Affordable Care Act

While Republicans, backed by Trump, have thus far been unsuccessful of their multiple attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, generally referred to as ‘Obamacare’, women’s health advocates have expressed grave concern over the implications of such a transfer.

“This was an incredible fight that lasted over several months and … we expect many cases that will continue this year,” Friedrich-Karnik stated.

“I think what stood out over the whole fight was that every version [of the repeal] had the same really harmful provision on women’s health,” she added.

“So a lot of the bills would roll back guarantees of coverage, which is one of the most important pieces of the Affordable Care Act was ensuring that certain types of healthcare weren’t required to be covered, whether it was no copay contraception or whether it was maternity care.”

Versions of the payments would have additionally defunded Planned Parenthood for at the very least a year and eradicated assured protection for pre-existing circumstances.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights and ACOG, the listing of “attacks” on women’s health goes on and on.

On Friday, the administration introduced it was rescinding Obama-era steerage that made it more durable for states to defund Planned Parenthood. States have additionally launched laws that advocates say is aimed toward proscribing or eliminating abortion motion.

While reproductive rights activists and advocates say they’ve needed to go on the defensive during the last year, many nonetheless say they’ve hope.

“I think that it has been very heartening and probably not surprising … to see that kind of outcry that you saw over a year ago at the women’s march has in no way dissipated and that anything has only strengthened,” Friedrich-Karnik stated.

“I think that you’re just going to see more activism, engagement and wins for reproductive rights, for equality and justice broadly.”


This article is a part of a multipart collection that examines the State of America Under Trump. Also learn:

Trump’s America: A shrinking space for protests

Trump’s America: ‘Dreamers must make deal with devil’

Trump’s America: An ‘attack’ on climate change fight

Trump’s America: ‘War of attrition’ on journalists

Trump’s America: A war on police, or their detractors?

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