If not for the flood of news regarding guns and Trump’s Russian problem, there may have been more reporting on yet another in a long line of Trump’s attacks on women on behalf of the religious right.
This administration has been on a tear in its relentless assault on women’s reproductive and equal rights since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, and now it is obvious that a leaked White House memo last October outlining the escalation in the evangelical war in 2018 was not an aberration.
Instead of attempting to stealthily subvert women’s rights, the Trump administration is making it known globally that going forward, America does not regard women’s reproductive rights, or discrimination based on sex, gender, race and ethnicity as any kind of priority. Of course a couple of Americans are aware this evangelical-driven administration is engaged in a vicious war against women, the LGBTQ community and people of color, but it is stunning that the administration is making a global statement affirming to the world that Trump’s nasty evangelical agenda is official policy. Don’t believe it?
Last week current and former State Department officials say they were ordered to eliminate passages in its annual report on global human rights that “traditionally discuss[es] women’s reproductive rights and discrimination.” It is a clear signal that Trump and his religious Republican cabal are serious about putting women in a place America’s religious patriarchs believe they belong – as second class citizens at the mercy of evangelicals.
It is also clear that Trump is giving a nod to other patriarchal nations that controlling women and subverting their human, equal, and reproductive rights is approved by America. It is a gross departure from America’s leadership on women’s rights under President Obama’s administration and what Trump and his acolytes insist is making America great again.
Politico reported that someone at the State Department, likely an aide to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, ordered officials to omit any mention of women’s reproductive rights and discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and ethnicity in its annual human rights report to reflect America’s new global focus. Trump’s message is that America is not concerned with human rights for women, people of color, or the LGBTQ community, and that women’s reproductive rights are officially under an evangelical assault. The dirty pig did pledge to the radical anti-women’s movement that the White House was firmly behind the evangelical crusade while boasting of his religious assault on women’s right of self-determination so far during his brief tenure in a place he does not belong.
Apparently, the evangelicals driving Trump’s anti-women’s rights crusade are hoping other nation’s will follow the United States in attacking women’s rights and legalizing discrimination for religious bigots. It is also likely that someone at the State Department is aware that any American report mentioning women’s reproductive and equal rights will put the focus on the Trump administration’s violations.
In past annual reports there were extensive details on women’s reproductive rights, but Trump’s evangelicals believe reproductive rights are an abomination leading the administration to attack them with a vengeance. In fact, in the “soon-to-be released report,” a section that was previously titled “Reproductive Rights” has been changed to “Coercion in Population Control.” That phrase is as bad as it sounds and frames family planning and women’s reproductive rights advocates as tyrannical monsters.
The immediate meaning and reason for the name change is to portray advocates of women’s reproductive rights are part of a plot to force contraception, sterilization, and abortion on the rest of humanity. The anti-reproductive rights movement claims the only solution to those governments that are “coercing women” to stop reproducing is to abandon “reproductive rights” and promote the only Vatican approved method of “birth control,” the high failure rate rhythm method.
According to one current official at the State Department, the directive is intended to “send a clear signal that women’s reproductive rights are not a priority for this administration, and that it’s not even a rights violation we must or should report on.” However, the “official” Trump State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said that completely stripping entire passages about family planning, access to contraception and abortion, and another section dealing with discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and sex was to bring some “clarity and focus” to America’s foreign policy agenda.
Ms. Nauert said the move had nothing to do with “downgrading coverage of LGBT or women’s issues” like Trump began immediately after his poorly attended inauguration. If the statistics were included in the annual report, an inordinate amount of space would have to be devoted to the Trump administration’s rampant and relentless religious attacks on women’s reproductive rights.
Thus far Trump’s evangelical war on women includes giving religious employers authority to withhold contraceptives from their employees according to their Vatican-inspired belief that any “artificial” means of birth control is abortion; probably as remuneration for the religious rights’ electoral support. As part of the payment, Trump’s Health and Human Services Department mission statement was rewritten to include “personhood” language denoting a single-cell organism (zygote) as a living person worthy of federal government support.
Trump’s evangelical Health, and Human Services have twice dealt women’s rights a serious setback and like the State Department action, it had everything to do with bringing “clarity and focus” that Trump’s war on women is driven by religion. In both cases, women are relegated to third-class status and religious extremists gained federal authority to discriminate against women with impunity.
In that leaked memo from October outlining the 2018 war on women tactics, although it did not mention the State Department’s action, it did promise that one of the first acts is to “gut all funding” for any evidence-based pregnancy prevention programs. Instead, that funding will be transferred to evangelicals to promote failed “abstinence only education” and “fertility awareness programs” as family planning. It is noteworthy that the so-called “fertility awareness program” is the only Vatican approved method of family planning because it is not artificial – it is the failed “rhythm method.”
America’s leadership internationally in several areas has suffered the Trump administration and international organizations are well aware that equal and human rights are no exception. Now it is glaringly obvious that women’s reproductive rights, like equal rights, are not any kind of priority for America domestically or globally, and that should concern the rest of the civilized world. The only “clarity and focus” the State Department is projecting by omitting of any mention of women’s reproductive rights is that the domestic assault on women driven by the theocrats running America is going global.
Image: Stephanie Keith/Reuters]