The Trump administration has decided to follow through with the domestic “gag rule” it had been planning since the “Mexico city gag rule” was implemented last year. On Feb. 22, the Trump administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) department published a rule ordering that family planning groups and organizations receiving federal funds cannot refer patients to abortion providers or perform abortions. According to an article by The Washington Post published that day, “Clinics will have 120 days to comply with the requirement that family planning and abortion services are kept financially separated and a year to comply with the physical separation requirement.”
This recent piece of legislation is an obvious pandering to Trump’s evangelical base, the core of his supporters. A continuation of his war on progressive culture, Trump knows that being socially regressive in regards to such issues like reproductive and LGBTQ rights will always be justified in the face of evangelicals, even if he doesn’t believe it himself.
In the interest of limiting access to abortions and thus limiting abortion numbers, Republican constituents and politicians have taken aim at organizations like Planned Parenthood and enacted legislation intended to criminalize abortions. The presumed platform of the GOP includes being pro-life. The Trump administration has been consistent with that stance about as accurately as any other GOP politician.
In keeping in line with conservative arguments for less government, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department was given a drastically reduced budget during 2018. A smaller budget is obviously helping poor families HUD’s services was originally intended to be used for. Another Washington Post article published on Feb.19 details how the Trump administration is seriously considering denying same-sex couples the right to adopt from faith based agencies, after he promised religious leaders that those agencies would still be receiving funding at a National Prayer breakfast. Several faith-based organizations have already actively discriminated; South Carolina’s Miracle Hill Ministries “refused to work with a Jewish woman seeking to be a mentor” to the foster kids they work with. During the migrant crisis, Trump’s presidential policy called on Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to separate children from their families, causing unquantified psychological and emotional harm to those children. As reported in June 2018 by a BBC article, those same children were put in metal cages and given mylar survival blankets, because the federal agencies tasked with their care were given minimal funds. A pro-life administration, indeed.
Whether or not this recent legislation will actually worked as intended is not the question, because the answer is probably no. The constitutionality of this domestic gag rule will undoubtedly be called into question in court – because news flash, abortion is, in fact, legal in the U.S. and no amount of legislation can change that (barring a reversal of Roe v. Wade.)The question should be, if the Trump administration is pro-life, to what extent can that be treated as true? How true is the term “pro-life” if Trump is willing to reward groups that refuse to give qualified parents foster children because of those parents’ sexual orientation? Is the welfare of a child at all relevant when their family can no longer afford healthcare? How about if they’re on food stamps?
Being “pro-life” is apparently a misnomer in the Trump administration. The Trump administration should instead be accurately labeled “pro-birth.”