How the Trump Administration’s Proposed Budget Will Impact Women and Families
By: Avital Norman Nathman
This week, Donald Trump released his proposed budget for 2018 and it left many reeling over the number of cuts to various programs that will disproportionately impact women and families.
The Trump administration’s $4.1 trillion spending plan proposes to end the federal deficit over 10 years, but will have to make significant cuts to various programs — from domestic to global ones — in order to achieve that.
Domestically, one of the biggest programs to take a hit will be Medicaid, with a proposed cut of over $800 billion over the next ten years. Those cuts will have a direct impact on women covered by Medicaid, particularly when it comes to prenatal and postpartum health care. Like a domino effect, the cuts will also impact deliveries and birth, which in turn may cause our already growing maternal mortality rate to increase further. This is a cost that we as a country should not be made to bear.
The budget proposal also states that it will cut funding from any organization that provides abortion services, despite the fact that the Hyde Amendment ensures that no federal money be used to cover routine abortions. This addition to the budget will make access to health care even more difficult for many women in the country as clinics will have to close down due to funding shortages. When clinics close their doors, they no longer can offer any of the other essential health care services including cancer screening, prenatal care and STD testing.
Internationally, the budget proposal details a $1.55 billion decrease in Global Health and USAID (almost reducing it by half). The U.S. is the largest overall donor when it comes to global health, so these cuts will have far reaching effects. Much of those potential cuts will severely impact already vulnerable women, children and families. Currently, the United States leads the global effort to prevent maternal and child deaths, yet how will that be change with a proposed $64.9 million budget cut for Maternal and Child Health programs?
When it comes to global family planning, the 2018 budget eliminates all funding for family planning. This could bring to a halt the progress that has been made in lowering maternal and infant mortality rates. By cutting family planning entirely and diminishing the budgets for global nutrition and certain vaccines, there is a real danger that the countries the U.S. has been helping will be set back significantly when it comes to their health and safety.
In a letter justifying the proposal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson detailed the top four priorities of the budget: defending national security, asserting U.S. leadership, fostering opportunity for U.S. economic interests, and ensuring accountability for taxpayers. At Every Mother Counts, we view the proposed cuts mentioned above as a direct threat to national security. And in fact, by cutting global health aid in particular — only 1% of the overall budget — the risk to all four priorities may actually increase as nations may destabilize due to underfunding. A budget truly worried about these priorities would look very different, both globally and domestically.
While we wait to see what Congress will do with this budget, we have endorsed letters, as part of the Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Roundtable, to the budget committees in the House and Senate to request that funding be maintained at previous levels. Word on the hill, however, is that Trump’s proposed budget most likely won’t pass through Congress.