TRUMPS WAR ON WOMEN- a public meeting- 8th March 2017 International Women’s Day

5 Mar

161109211059-03-trump-protest-1109-super-169.jpgTo mark International Women’s Day we are holding a public meeting with US socialist and feminist Susan Pashkoff on Donald Trump’s war against women.

It is at 7.00pm in the Priory Rooms, 40, Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF

Susan writes:

The War on Women in the US did not begin with Trump’s election. It has been going on for at least the last decade. We have become used to attempts in Congress to provide civil rights to zygotes, to prevent working class women from accessing reproductive rights, to eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood, to prevent different medical procedures for abortion, to legislate against late-term abortions, to block fair pay for women, opposing the Violence Against Women Act, blocking abortion coverage on health insurance plans, so what is the difference now?

These attacks have been primarily conducted at State legislatures and in the US Congress. Now, we have a President, Vice President and chosen Cabinet that contains misogynists that virulently oppose not only the right to abortion. To add to this, these people oppose Federal funding for Planned Parenthood who provide the vast majority of healthcare for poor women; this includes accessing a wide range of contraceptives, breast and cervical cancer testing, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and support provided through Federal Medicaid (for those with lower incomes) funding to the states.  Additionally, they are trying to decrease funding for Medicaid, but also Medicare (for the elderly and the disabled).

The beginning of the repeal of the ACA has commenced in the short period in which the 115th Congress has been in session and while there were attempts by the Democrats to maintain some of the positive provisions (e.g., access to affordable contraceptives, pregnancy, maternity and new born care including breastfeeding coverage, younger adults (under age 26; 6 million people are covered by this) being on their parent’s health insurance, coverage for people with pre-existing conditions (btw pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition; 52 million people are identified as having pre-existing conditions), coverage for children on Medicaid or CHIP providing comprehensive healthcare for children, maintaining the Medicaid expansion which ensures coverage for the 11 million people with lower incomes, and protecting Veterans health care through the Veteran’s Administration, they lost the votes on these amendments and as a result 55 million women no longer have access to affordable birth control. Kirsten Gillibrand’s amendment attempting to protect the gains for women’s healthcare (e.g., access to no-copay contraception on health insurance plans, access to healthcare during and after pregnancy, support for breast feeding) lost on a vote in the Senate of 49:49 with only two Republicans willing to fight for the gains made for women.

For the vast majority of women, the problem is not cracking the glass ceiling (although that is a fight); it is actually getting on the same job ladder as men. It is fighting for equality in income, a recognition that we do jobs using the same skills as men and deserve the same wage for comparable work (thinking that we need to fight the same fight as in the 1970s really makes me depressed). It is the fact that the women are overrepresented in low paying part-time jobs because we have to cover our responsibilities to our families and homes.

But it is not only issues of wealth and income we need to address; we need to get paid maternity benefits (I am not opposed to parental benefits, but the reality is it is women that bear the primary responsibility for social reproduction), we need free child care, we need good free public education for our children, we need universities which working class children can attend for free, we need to recognise that women of colour have borne the brunt of economic, social and political inequality and injustice. We also need to acknowledge that due to the impact of race, class and gender and sex that we have different needs and that will impact on how we see the struggle against women’s oppression and how to wage the struggle.

In 2017, we are still fighting for these basic economic rights, but we are also still fighting for recognition of our right to bodily autonomy, our (and our children’s) rights to healthcare, and the recognition of our contribution to society in all arenas.

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