Why Are We Surprised By Trump/Pence Administration’s Policies on Women?

The Republican Party’s Ongoing War on Women

This is an image from the celebration of the American Healthcare Act making it passed the House, who drafted the bill mostly from the input of men. It presented great cuts to women’s healthcare, among other groups. © CNN.

Since Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in June of 2015, many of the things he has said pertaining to women and policies that he has proposed and instituted concerning them have caused a frenzy. My question has consistently been why are we surprised? Did we really expect anything different? If we go down the list and examine the things that not only Trump, but also Mike Pence and others in the Trump administration, has said about this topic, it becomes almost obvious that we should have expected what is now the current state of women’s healthcare policies.

Let’s start with people other than Trump himself and go into the administration. A woman, longtime defender, and now the counselor to the President in the administration Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly stood behind the misogynistic comments made by President Trump. She has done this since Trump was just campaigning. Another woman who is not even in his administration, Katrina Pierson, consistently also backed Trump to the point where she even stated that she does not believe the women who accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. She made this belief known in an interview with Megyn Kelly who had been in the middle of a long tenure with the infamously republican and conservative Fox News network.

Now let’s shift our focus onto some of the things Mike Pence has said which still did not cause Trump to waver when he selected him to be his vice president. It came out recently that Pence told a news outlet in 2002 that he would refuse to go to dinner alone with a woman other than his wife. This comment is more than ever prevalent now, as women’s health is a major topic of concern in United States policy. Even as going as far back as 1976, the Hyde Amendment obstructed many basic human rights of women such as the right to basic health and life, as stated in this report. So much has been said about the dominantly male presence in Congress making policies on healthcare and women’s health in particular. Pence’s stance on meeting with a woman is a huge problem because it is pretty much just another technique from the Trump administration to limit the power of women. If Pence refuses to meet with another woman in private, how can a woman hold a seat in higher political office in the United States? The vice president is next on the totem pole of leadership in the presidential administration and private meetings with people who hold higher office seats such as secretary of defense would definitely have to occur from time to time.

At the inception of Trump’s presidential bid, he did not have a strong supporting cast from the Republican Party. One of the few Republicans who was on Trump’s side in the beginning was Newt Gingrich. Gingrich has been with the so-called Republican Party’s “War on Women” since as early as the 1990s. In 1994, he suggested that instead of allowing single mothers who live in poverty to receive aid from the federal government, we should create more orphanages to address this issue.

For years, this so-called “War on Women” has been waged and extended through increasingly more controversially policies being proposed and passed by republicans such as Pence himself. While governor of Indiana, Pence instituted a measure that would designate aborted fetuses to have to be cremated. He even proposed measures that were harsh enough to cause a federal judge to step in and stop them from being enforced.

With the history of the people who have chosen to back Donald Trump throughout his journey to becoming president of the United States, I had a feeling that the right questions were not being asked. Did we really expect anything other than what is happening now? Did we not expect that the republicans so-called “War on Women” would become easier to be continued on? Did we not expect that the administration would help the Senate sneak enough votes by bringing Mike Pence in to break a tie and enforce legislation to stop the federal monetary support of all health clinics that offer abortion and family planning services?

My argument is that none of the efforts that have been done are enough. The seemingly reactionary nature of American society to the appalling measures being put forth for women in the United States is not enough, misses the point, and therefore leads people to ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking why Trump’s administration is creating the policies and enforcing the controversial measures of late, we need to be asking how can we put an end to the ideology that allows these actions to be carried out. We should have been more than aware that Trump’s administration would not really be a confidant of American women, who aren’t living a lavish life and living among the top 1%. These women are still affected by these policies, but the effects on them is not significant enough to make them care. The “War on Women” has been ongoing, much before Donald Trump came into play. Admittedly, he did allow this war to be cast out more easily, time has now come where we actually hold people accountable for the atrocious policies that are being proposed and start to tear apart this anti-women’s health ideology from the ground up. This includes people from before the Trump administration and those within the administration.