President Donald Trump and standing up for women’s health aren’t two belongings you’d put collectively. Yet on Sunday night time, Trump launched a statement to mark Women’s Health Week, detailing how his 2017/2018 federal Budget will “enable access to the critical healthcare services women need.”
Published on Sunday night time shortly after 6 p.m., the assertion was straightforward to overlook. National Women’s Health Week begins annually on Mother’s Day and is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “a reminder to women to take care of themselves, and to make their health a priority.”
In his assertion, Trump says: “We recognize the importance of providing women access to the best, evidence-based health information and care.” This may strike some as unusual, provided that one of the primary issues Trump did as president was signal an government order barring federal funding for worldwide organizations that debate abortion as a household planning choice. Known because the Mexico City Policy (as a result of President Ronald Reagan introduced it in 1984 throughout a United Nations inhabitants convention in Mexico City), and in addition referred to as the “global gag rule,” Trump is the newest president to implement it. (Democratic administrations have sometimes rescinded the coverage whereas Republicans have reimposed it.) The January determination appeared symbolic of Trump’s want to point out strong anti-abortion credentials from the very starting of his presidency.
Trump’s assertion Sunday was notably poorly timed. On the identical day as its publication, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported that Trump is looking for to broaden the Mexico City Policy. The new regulation, referred to as “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” will reportedly present almost $9 billion to packages that discourage abortion and household planning.
Trump additionally said: “Ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare is critical to improving women’s health and ensuring that it fits their priorities at any stage of life.” Dr. Anne Davis, consulting medical director at Physicians For Reproductive Rights, asks: “Is anything happening that would make that true?”
“It seems that those are some noble ideas,” she says. “I would say that they sound broadly appealing to women and the people who take care of them, but there is a giant chasm between those principles and outcomes and the reality of who has been appointed to lead the health care agencies in our country and the nuts and bolts and guts of the new health care legislation that’s been put together in the form of the American Health Care Act.”
Davis speaks of three Trump appointees who type the “royal flush of trouble for women’s health.” Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, “has stated clearly that he opposes contraceptive coverage for women, which is really the backbone of most medical care that women get when they’re in their reproductive years,” says Davis. Price, himself a doctor, stated final week that he prefers a faith-based solution to America’s opioid disaster slightly than a medication-assisted one.
Additionally, Teresa Manning, who was tapped by Trump to be the Department of Health and Human Services’ deputy assistant secretary for inhabitants affairs, is an anti-abortion activist who has stated that contraception doesn’t work. Charmaine Yoest, now the assistant secretary of public affairs at HHS, is a former president and CEO of anti-abortion group Americans United For Life and is somebody who, Davis, “has built her entire career on dismantling abortion rights in this country.”
The three are examples of positions crammed by people who find themselves “completely outside the mainstream of medicine,” says Davis. “We don’t have people who are in some way disinterested or uninformed or neutral, these are people who are actively hostile and antagonistic to women’s health care and they are being put in charge. That puts us in a dire situation.”
Critics of the American Health Care Act, a so-called “replacement” of the Affordable Care Act that was handed by the House of Representatives on May four, say women will probably be affected in a quantity of methods. That might be by way of proposed caps to Medicaid spending; in line with the Kaiser Family Foundation, one out of five women within the U.S. presently makes use of Medicaid for health protection. Access to contraceptives and abortion can be additional restricted than it already is.
In his assertion, Trump additionally factors out that: “Today, women are living longer, healthier lives than their mothers” and “The number of women dying from heart disease and cancer—the top two killers of women in America—has been decreasing for decades.” While true, he forgets to say the high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S., a “national shame,” in line with Davis.
While Trump states that “women should have access to quality prenatal, maternal and newborn care,” the maternal mortality price within the U.S. is amongst the very best in developed nations, and is one of the few nations the place the speed has risen in recent times. It greater than doubled between 1990 and 2013, from 12 deaths per 100,000 births to 28 deaths per 100,000 births, in response to the World Health Organization.
The burden of maternal mortality within the U.S. primarily falls on black women and poor women. “It hasn’t improved. It is higher than it needs to be,” says Davis. “When we look at what happens when women lose their lives during the pregnancy, much of it is preventable and we’re not going to be able to improve it if women don’t have health insurance. How do you decrease maternal mortality without health insurance?”