This Week in Women: The Healthcare Edition
“Resist, insist, persist, enlist.”
The new motto Hillary Clinton shared with the star-studded audience at Planned Parenthood’s 100th Anniversary Gala left us even more ready for battle. Clinton’s remarks about the plight of women’s advancement and healthcare access came just hours before House Republicans delivered another insult against Americans who weren’t white rich men: passing the American Healthcare Act. Let’s unpack the latest developments and discuss ways to resist and persist, starting with the upcoming Women’s March Pledge of Liberation. It’s time for This Week in Women!
Trump Administration Cuts School Lunch Nutrition Standards & Other Horrors
In a spasmodic fit of Trumpitudes, Washington, D.C. has served up another round of ridiculous developments this week. The alt-right tidal wave picked up steam with Trump’s executive order to “allow for religious liberties” by stopping the Treasury Department from enforcing the Johnson Amendment. The amendment “regulates what tax-exempt organizations such as churches can do in the political arena” according to NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten. The executive order’s language is packaged by the Trump administration to appeal to its white, ultra-conservative voter base as a favorable gesture, encouraging Congress to draft new legislation that will allow workplaces to choose whether or not to provide birth control to employees (an action that’s currently prohibited under the ACA), as well as potentially opening the door for LGBT discrimination. The American Civil Liberties Union initially threatened to sue the administration over the latest executive order, but later decided that it was nothing but Trumpian fake news.
“Today’s executive order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome,” said ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero. “After careful review of the order’s text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process. The order portends but does not yet do harm to the provision of reproductive health services. President Trump’s prior assertion that he wished to ‘totally destroy’ the Johnson Amendment with this order has proven to be a textbook case of ‘fake news.’ What President Trump did today was merely provide a faux sop to religious conservatives and kick the can down the road on religious exemptions on reproductive health care services.”
Over at Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon, Republicans were able to narrowly pass their revised American Healthcare Act with a 217—213 vote. Even with revisions, the new version is an abomination to the American people, stripping away protections for preexisting conditions and thoroughly draining Medicaid funds. Preexisting conditions listed in the bill include pregnancy, C-sections, transsexualism, sexual assault, and rape, and a host of other anti-woman speak. In addition, there will be a block on reimbursing Planned Parenthood provided services to patients.
“Disgraceful: Republicans in the House just voted to strip 24 million Americans of their health care,” said Senator Kamala Harris from California on her Facebook page. “The callous and carelessly-written GOP health care plan, also known as the American Health Care Act, will roll back any progress we’ve made over the last few years. This plan will destroy lives. The 217 members who voted for this bill today voted without knowing how much it will cost or how many millions of Americans will lose coverage. Here’s what they voted for: They voted to allow insurance companies to take advantage of you during some of life’s most vulnerable moments. They voted to give millionaires a tax cut. They voted to gut Medicaid. This bill isn’t just about medicine, it’s about our morals and our values as a nation. I will do everything in my power to fight this bill—millions of Americans are counting on us. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and fight. Let’s go.”
Hundreds of thousands of Twitter users shared their own stories under the #IAmAPreExistingCondition hashtag:
— HRolfe (@whiteraven1606) May 5, 2017
Anyone who voted for Trump is a preexisting moron. Is that covered under "Trumpcare" or do they have to pay extra? #IAmAPreexistingCondition
— Laura Roberts (@originaloflaura) May 5, 2017
Anxiety. Depression. Survivor of domestic abuse. I will be denied health care, but my attacker will keep his. #IAmAPreexistingCondition
— madison speer (@madisonspeer1) May 4, 2017
Women’s March Pledge of Liberation & Opportunities For Activism
While the U.S. Senate Republicans have expressed that they will not be voting on this bill and will be coming up with a rewritten version that is more inclusive, the fight is far from over. Yesterday’s actions show a legislative agenda that is rolling back a lot of progress, from gender equality to LGBTQ protections to healthcare access for all Americans.
The Women’s March Campaign’s Pledge of Liberation is scheduled for this coming Monday, May 8. As the final initiative in the Women’s March “10 Actions / 100 Days” campaign, the pledge plans to “harnesses the power of cross-movement collaboration. As a united voice, we declare that all our issues matter and we pledge our commitment to fighting for the liberation of all people.”
The pledge outlines three steps, starting with a commitment to the ongoing resistance work began by the Women’s March in February, as well as gathering information on your right to protest, and getting involved with a demonstration (including organizing your own).
Other ways to get involved right now:
- Contact your legislators.
- Donate your time or resources to helping in the 2018 midterm elections. 14 Republicans that voted in favor of the ACHA bill are up for reelection in next year’s midterms. Democratic fundraising organization Swing Left announced they had raised over $400,000 yesterday to help fund reclaiming majority in the House in 2018.
- Run for office. Emily’s List recently announced that since the election 11,000 more Democratic women are now actively planning and considering a run for office from local to national seats.
Featured image via Daily Mail
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.