We are now starting the fifth day of the Trump administration, and we’re losing health care-related rights as quickly as golden curtains are being hung in the Oval Office. It’s happening so quickly and in such a chaotic fashion that it’s really hard to keep track of — and to be clear, that is absolutely their strategy.
In an attempt to at least be aware of what’s happening so we know where to direct our congressional phone calls, here’s a handy roundup of all the health-related steps backward we’ve taken this week.
So on Monday, Donald Trump wasted no time reinstating a Reagan-era rule that blocks foreign aid for family-planning services. International programs that perform — or even provide information about — abortions (except in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment) are no longer eligible for aid.
These services are aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality rates with not only safe abortion options, but also access to contraceptives and HIV-prevention programs. Contrary to what Republicans want you to think, funds are not being used to operate overseas abortion factories. What will happen, though, is likely to be an increase in abortions performed — potentially in unsafe conditions — because of the lack of access to birth control these organizations provide.
Take away: Why stop at putting the lives of Americans at risk when you can reenact a policy endangering the health of people around the world?
Thanks to our friend, the Hyde Amendment, funds from Medicaid are already prohibited from being spent on abortions, which, just as a reminder, is a safe, legal medical procedure. Basically, a new bill introduced (and subsequently passed) in the House of Representatives would make the Hyde Amendment — which currently has to be passed each year as a budget rider — permanent legislation, only worse. If/when this passes in the Senate and is signed into law, abortion would not be accessible for many low-income women who would no longer be able to afford it.
But it doesn’t stop there — it also jeopardizes access to reproductive health and abortion coverage for women who pay for their own private insurance. It would also impose tax penalties on small business that provide employees with insurance plans that cover abortion services and restrict reproductive health access to federal government employees, military women stationed overseas and women in the Peace Corps.
Take away: The tactic here is to block our right to choose our own reproductive health care by cutting of access to abortions for countless women.
Just in case you were wondering how information in the age of Trump will work, don’t worry — we’re being told. Yesterday House Science Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith told the American people that we should be getting our news directly from Trump rather than the media (hi!) so it’s, you know, “unvarnished.” He also praised the involvement of the Trump children (well, besides Tiffany) in his decision-making process. Smith is also a member of the House Freedom of the Press caucus.
Take away: You shouldn't even be reading this.
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