Trump’s First Budget: America First Women Last?

President Trump released his first budget today giving us a better understanding of the Administration’s priorities. Unfortunately, the priorities are terrible for women in the United States and around the world.

Domestically the budget targets programs that disproportionately benefit low-income women such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (welfare). The budget also eliminates funding for the Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program that uses evidence based programs to reduce teen pregnancy and prevent HIV and other STDs.

For the first time ever the President’s budget singles out a single organization—Planned Parenthood—from receiving any federal funding. If enacted the President’s Budget would mean that people on Medicaid would no longer be able to go to Planned Parenthood for providing any health care services, including cancer screenings or contraceptives. Such a step would do little to restrict abortion, but it would deny as many as 2.5 million women access to their preferred health care provider, and, in some cases, any provider. Planned Parenthood would also be banned from receive any funding under Title X.

In a stunning setback for women in the Global South, the Trump budget also eliminates all funding for international family planning. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the $607.5 million the United States invested in international family planning in the current fiscal year, FY2017 will:

·         Enable 26 million couples to received contraceptives services;

·         Prevent 8 million unintended pregnancies.

·         Prevent 3.3 million abortions, most of which would have been unsafe; and

·         Prevent 15,000 maternal deaths

Commenting on the release of the President’s budget, Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute, said:

If enacted this budget would be a devastating setback for women around the world. And it is not the first setback. The Trump Administration has already revived and dramatically expanded the Global Gag Rule, which, under the pretense of stopping abortions, will actually increase the number of abortions performed overseas, not reduce them. Today’s proposed budget, however, opens up a whole new front in the War on Women by seeking to defund international family planning. If approved by Congress, it would deny millions of women in the developing world the ability to space or limit pregnancies.  And that, unfortunately, will translate into more maternal deaths, more unplanned pregnancies, more abortions, and a major setback in the wars on hunger and poverty.