I am beginning to wonder why we have Congress at all, for it seems that Trump and his administration are doing pretty much whatever Trump wants done without the approval of our elected officials. Executive orders and cabinet-level decisions have become the norm, bypassing the legislative branch altogether.
Legislative: having the power to make laws
By now you have all heard the news, that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “rolled back” (translation: eradicated) the ACA requirement that employer’s insurance plans cover contraception (birth control). Now any company can refuse to provide insurance plans that include birth control based on ‘religious or moral’ grounds. Let us not kid ourselves here … companies will indeed cite religious or moral grounds and they will indeed drop coverage of birth control, but the real reason will be because it will save them money. General Motors is a company, owned by a group of shareholders, none of whom give a whit whether their employees use birth control or not. But they do care about seeing the value of their stock go up, they do care about their dividend check.
I understand why some people have strong feelings about abortion. It is, as it should be, a topic to be seriously considered, and while I fully support a woman’s right to choose, I can also see why others may feel differently. But birth control??? In this, the 21st century, people still have moral objections to birth control? I do not believe that more than a very small percentage can actually wish a family to have an unlimited number of children that they can barely afford to feed. I cannot believe that any thinking person wishes to see the population of the world soar, just as food supplies are diminishing due to the effects of climate change. I have a hard time seeing that those people really want to be responsible for children being born into families where they will be abused and neglected. If that is what the religious right are supporting, I really have to question the moral values they claim.
Does anybody besides me find it odd that there is such a hue and cry over birth control for women, yet nobody seems bothered, nobody says a word about the fact that a large number of insurance plans cover Viagra for men, a drug that has no actual medical benefit, but is merely for men’s … pleasure? Am I the only one who sees a disparity here? Women’s economic, physical and emotional health vs. men’s pleasure. Hmmmm … tell me again that it is not still a man’s world?
This action on the part of HHS will certainly be challenged, for already women’s health care groups are preparing lawsuits, and ultimately the issue is likely to end up on the docket of the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, how many women will suffer? In light of today’s action, I would suggest that the Department of Health and Human Services should be renamed to the Department of Religious and Moral Services, for they have shown their disregard for both health and humans.
In August, Trump struck another blow against women’s rights when he suspended a proposed policy that would have required companies to disclose pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the purpose of identifying gender and racial pay gaps. This action, combined with today’s announcement are a reversal of rights that women have fought for in the past decades and set a course that is disturbing, to say the least.
But the even bigger aspect, as I see, is the fact that this administration has been busily abusing its power for more than eight long months, and one must ask the question: what next? I think it would be best if we return to having the legislative branch, Congress, make the laws based on what is best for the nation as a whole, not merely one segment of religious zealots.