What Does a Trump Presidency Mean for American Women?
Although nearly a month has passed since Donald Trump was elected as the President of the United States, we’re still looking ahead to see exactly what he will do once inaugurated, and many women are biting their nails over some proposed changes that may roll back our rights to a pre-70s era.
President-elect Trump has flip-flopped on a variety of issues, already going back on his word to completely repeal Obamacare and to jail Hilary Clinton. This could be good news for those of us who have repeatedly been horrified by some questionable policies that the Donald has proposed. But a president who cannot be predicted may not be any better than one who can be expected to roll out devastating changes – especially ones that affect the entire vagina-owning population. So, for better or worse, what can women (maybe, sorta, kinda) expect from a Trump presidency?
We are not merely baby-making vessels
Remember when I said that our rights as women could be rolled back to a pre-70s era? Well, there’s a little something called Roe vs. Wade that was a Supreme Court decision in 1973 that protected the rights of American women to safely and legally terminate their pregnancies. Trump says that when he’s president, he will appoint a pro-life Supreme Court Justice to fill the place of the late Antonin Scalia and overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision.
However, as we’ve seen numerous times during the bewildering Trump campaign, the new President-elect often makes promises he can’t keep, which could, in fact, be excellent news for pro-choicers. Having an anti-Roe vs. Wade as the ninth Justice would most likely be insufficient to turn over the landmark decision.
First of all, justices take precedent very seriously. Making a Supreme Court decision means that the justices have made an interpretation of the Constitution, and they generally like to lock it up and throw away the key once a decision has been made. Even pro-life justices in the past have refused to overturn the decision due to precedent. Furthermore, even with a ninth justice who favored overturning the decision, there is still a majority of five justices who would refuse to overturn the decision based on political leanings, or, again, because of that magical power of precedent.
However, we still live in a frightening post-election world when it comes to the right to choose. Our new president has made it clear that he thinks women who receive abortions deserve “some form of punishment.” Yikes.
Say bye-bye to Planned Parenthood
Not only is the Donald infamous for flip-flopping statements, he’s also a pro-leaguer in the paradox game. Although we can all be glad that he finds value in Planned Parenthood, stating that “Millions and millions of women – cervical cancer, breast cancer – are helped by Planned Parenthood.” However, our new President-elect also mentioned casually that he would still “defund it because of the abortion factor.”
Perhaps the most frightening tidbit of information here is that our new president doesn’t know what the f*** he’s talking about. Let me clarify, ladies. In 1976, a legislative provision called the Hyde Amendment was passed that diverts federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and where the life of the mother is at risk. Even the bane of Conservative existence, Obamacare, bans federal use of funds for abortion, except in these rare cases. Essentially, there are no federal funds directed toward abortion services.
This means one of two things: that the new leader of the free world has not done his homework, or that he’s willing to endanger the health of millions women (only 3% of which have used non-federally funded abortion services) so that he can shut down a clinic on a basis of false claims and nonexistent federal abortion money. Try to solve that riddle…
Will I be able to play hooky after I give birth?
It’s been pointed out that Trump isn’t exactly a Republican. He’s more alt-right. And staying true to his break with traditional Republican values, Trump has vowed to provide six weeks paid maternity leave for all new mothers.
Then again, “all new mothers” may be a stretch. The plan states that women would receive six weeks of paid maternity leave only if their marriage is “recognized under state law.” The upside is that, since same-sex marriages were federally legalized in 2015, the plan does include the married female portion of the LGBT community. The downside is that it excludes adopted mothers and single mothers.
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign, Jason Miller, later stated that the policy would include single mothers, but could not explain why the policy stated that mothers were required to put a ring on it. Just like many of Trump’s stances, he asks the American citizens, and in this case specifically unwed mothers, to suspend disbelief while we wait to see what he does.
On a side note, Hillary Clinton promised twice the amount of paid leave for new mothers. Just sayin’…
Do I get more money if I have a penis?
Trump has supported the idea of equal pay for equal work, saying, “if they do the same job, they should do the same pay.” However, it’s unclear exactly what President Trump would do to enforce his ideals on the subject. His policies on equal pay are murky at best.
Trump has often said that he pays women the same at the Trump Organization as he does men. He even claims he sometimes pays women more. He takes the stance that pay should not be based on anatomy, it should be based on competence. It’s difficult to tell whether or not these statements are true, as there are certainly some conflicting statements.
However, there is data on the pay rates of his campaign staffers, and if we were to look at this data as a window into the future of equal pay, the future is a bleak one indeed. Trump’s male staff were paid on average of 35% higher than his female staffers. But this is only one example, and may not be representative of his views. After all, the Obama administration made advances toward gender pay equality, and still paid their female staffers on average, 89.25 cents to every dollar male staffers earned. But 35% higher? C’mon…
Trump admits that closing the gender wage gap is a complicated issue, stating that “When you have to categorize men and women into a particular group and a particular pay scale, it gets very — because people do different jobs.” What’s he insinuating here? Sounds like some Mad-Men era BS to me…
Does this mean that Trump believes that women should fill roles that traditionally earn less income? Trump has made multiple statements about women filling top executive roles in his company. But it’s a stark contrast between making statements and the reality of having only 2 out of 15 of the highest paid roles on his campaign filled with women staffers. Didn’t anyone ever teach the Donald that actions speak louder than words?
Will my pussy be grabbed?
I almost feel like the whole Donald Trump sexual harassment thing doesn’t need a mention because we’ve heard it so many times. But it’s also been overlooked and condoned just as many times, and that’s why it deserves a mention more than ever.
While governments worldwide and major organizations such as the United Nations are taking steps forward to eliminate violence against women and sexual harassment, our new President-elect is busily doing the backwards jig.
Although his campaign website doesn’t list any specific moves he would make toward addressing sexual harassment (a red flag already), his behavior and comments speak for themselves.
Soon-to-be President Trump has been recorded talking about grabbing women by the pussy, has been accused multiple times of outright sexual harassment, and has said that if his daughter, Ivanka Trump, were sexually harassed in the workplace, he hopes she would quit, among other delightful things.
While one in three women globally continue to face violence or sexual harassment, Donald Trump continues to deny, condone, participate in, or brush off the issue as “locker-room banter.” Ladies, get your chastity belts out. We might need some extra help in warding off stray grabbers…
As I said in the beginning, it’s difficult to know for certain the policies that our new President-elect will enact. But taking into consideration the statements and actions he’s made already, the future of women’s rights in the US may be taking a pre-70s era nosedive.
But don’t start fleeing to Canada just yet. There are still a number of things you can do. Donate to or volunteer with these organizations to fight for the right to a gender-equal US of A:
- Planned Parenthood
- UN: Women
- National Partnership: Paid Family Leave
- Mom Rising
- AAUW: The Gender Pay Gap
- NOW: Equal Pay
- RAINN: Sexual Harassment