The Trump administration's hostility to reproductive rights was already clear, and right in line with the GOP playbook written by none other than Vice President Mike Pence. But in a move unprecedented in its scope and cruelty, Donald Trump's proposed budget would block Planned Parenthood not only from Medicaid reimbursements, but from participation in any federal programs.
Donald Trump has done vanishingly little actual work thus far in his presidency, but his administration made sure to find time to attack reproductive rights and women’s health care between the renaming of buildings and the many, many rounds of golf.
And now they have taken that antagonism to reproductive care even further. Not just further than their own harsh measures thus far, but further than any previous Republican administration, as well.
Trump’s proposed budget would block Planned Parenthood from participation in all federal government programs. It is as cruel and damaging as it sounds:
The freeze-out apparently goes beyond the House GOP’s plan, which excludes Planned Parenthood only from Medicaid reimbursements. Trump’s budget proposal bars the nation’s largest family planning provider from participating in any federal program, including cancer screening programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika virus prevention, HIV/AIDS testing and prevention, Violence Against Women Act grants to prevent sexual assault, maternal and child health programs and sexually transmitted disease and infertility prevention grants.
Because, to conservatives today, apparently nothing says “family values” like withholding life-saving treatments for HIV, putting vulnerable people at greater risk for sexual assault, and turning their back on sick children.
Despite the GOP’s ingrained hostility toward women’s health, Trump has managed to outdo his predecessors. As HuffPost’s Laura Bassett notes, “No president has ever attempted to exclude a specific health provider from the entire federal budget.”
Not that this is surprising, given that Vice President Mike Pence has been leading the war on Planned Parenthood for years and was the first member of Congress to introduce legislation to “defund” it.
“This is the worst budget for women and women’s health in a generation,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement. “It singles out Planned Parenthood, guts programs designed to help women and their families put food on the table, get the medical care they need, and make ends meet.”
The budget “would undo decades of progress for women,” Laguens added.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) noted in a powerful statement that Trump’s proposed budget make it “clear as day that undermining women’s reproductive health and rights is a centerpiece of President Trump’s harmful plan for our health care system.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was equally forceful in her condemnation, lambasting the budget as “devastating” and “absolutely shameful.”
And Trump’s callousness does not stop there. His budget would also kick millions of poor children off Medicaid by cutting $800 billion from the agency, and would, in the blunt but honest words of one expert, “kill a lot of people.”
Budget director Mick Mulvaney did not even try to cloak the plan’s heartless aims. When asked at a press briefing if some Americans who currently receive Social Security Disability Insurance would see their benefits decrease, Mulvaney replied, “I hope so.”
All this in the name of yet more tax cuts for the wealthy.
Trump is putting the health and well-being of millions of people — including children, low-income families, women of color, and other vulnerable groups — on the chopping block in order to fill the coffers of those who are least in need.
And he continues to make it clear that the America he promises to make great again is not the America in which the majority of the nation lives.