The Trump/Pence regime has announced a new Domestic Gag Rule that will force healthcare providers that rely on Title X government funds into a lethal and immoral choice. Either these healthcare providers must join a theocratic conspiracy to deny women any information about abortion (even where they might find one at an outside provider), or these healthcare providers will be denied crucial federal funding and forced to deny these same women essential healthcare like breast cancer screenings, contraception care, and screenings for sexually transmitted infections. This law is aimed at all healthcare providers that serve women, including Planned Parenthood.
For anyone who told themselves that Trump didn’t really mean it when he promised during the campaign to put an end to abortion, this should be a serious wake-up call.
While Trump has a history of at least claiming to support abortion rights and Planned Parenthood, he has never truly been motivated by any genuine respect for women’s humanity and reproductive freedom. For this reason, he had no problem forging a strategic alliance during his campaign with a powerful movement of extreme and politically determined Christian fundamentalist fascists who are hellbent on criminalizing all abortion. This alliance is concentrated in Mike Pence and Trump couldn’t have won the presidency without it. It is also true that since day-one of his presidency, Trump (and Pence) have been steadily delivering what they promised to Christian fascists – from placing Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court along with a record number of other federal judges, to stripping away rights recently won by members of the LGBTQ community, to drastically curtailing women’s access to abortion, and even to birth control.
Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement
Having a child—if a person wants a child and is in a position to care for one—can be a beautiful thing. But being forced to have a child against ones will is a form of female enslavement. It forecloses women’s dreams, drives women into poverty, and traps many into abusive relationships. This all-around subjugation of women is exactly what the Christian fascists who make up a driving force in the Trump/Pence regime want. Already, millions of women—especially Black, immigrant, poor and/or young women—do not have meaningful access to abortion and, increasingly, to birth control. Currently, seven states have only one abortion clinic. Further, anti-abortion fanatics have carried out hundreds of acts of extreme violence—including murder, kidnappings, arson, clinic bombings, and more. This new law will now affect approximately 4,000 clinics, serving about four million women.
Reagan was the first to implement this Gag Order that Trump is now making law. But while every Republican administration has imposed this Gag Order internationally (and every Democratic administration has temporarily lifted it), the Republicans never felt they could fully implement it domestically (in the US), so they never really tried. With Trump/Pence in power, their calculation has changed. Now, they are going in for the kill. This regime is deadly serious about criminalizing all abortions for all women in all circumstances—denying women’s humanity and reducing them to incubators.
The Democratic Party’s Collaborationist “Resistance”
The problem we face is not merely with the fascists of the Trump/Pence regime. The additional problem is that all-too-many who hate what this regime is imposing on women are relying on the Democrats to stop it.
But, what did the Democratic Party—the so-called #Resistance—do in response to this vicious assault on half of humanity? They issued two mealy mouthed letters that accept the misogynist prejudices that underlie these policies. Rather than declaring that women are full human beings who must have the right to decide for themselves when and whether to bear children, the Democrats point out that “every dollar invested in Title X saves more than seven dollars in Medicaid-related costs.”(Title X is a federal program targeted by the Domestic Gag Rule that provides birth control and reproductive care for four million people.) Rather than criticize the outrageous fact that government funds were already being denied for abortion and that this has caused the deaths of poor women, they note that “Title X program has never funded abortion services” to suggest that cutting these funds won’t reduce abortions anyhow.
And who did the Democrats address these collaborationist letters to? They wrote to Alex Azar, Trump’s appointee to head Health and Human Services. Appealing to Azar—who has defended the “right” of insurers to deny birth control coverage and pledged to protect the “unborn”—for redress in this matter is like appealing to the notorious racist and segregationist Bull Connor for help against the Klan!
Only the People Can Stop this Nightmare
This latest escalation of the all-out war on women by Trump/Pence is part of a larger fascist agenda that includes the ethnic cleansing of immigrants from so-called “Shithole” countries (i.e.: those that are overwhelmingly made up of Black and Brown people), the banning of Muslims, the destruction of science, new threats of war, the ripping up of the rule of law, and the acceleration of environmental destruction.
The Democrats won’t stand up against this because they are more wed to maintaining order for their capitalist-imperialist system – even if it is the order of fascism – than risking the monumental upheaval it will take to dislodge this fascist regime and reverse its direction.
But, because of the threat this regime poses to humanity, it must be stopped. It is long past time to cast off the illusion that “fascism couldn’t happen here” and the self-delusion that the Democratic Party or the normal workings of official politics will solve this problem for us. As RefuseFascism.org has repeatedly insisted, it is time for all of us – coming from a great diversity of political perspectives – to get out of our comfort zones and prepare for struggle. The millions whose lives are being destroyed by this regime, the millions more whose futures are being threatened, and the many more millions who refuse to sit by must take it upon ourselves to stop this nightmare.