Another Strike Against Women …

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.

47 thoughts on “Another Strike Against Women …

  1. I cannot imagine what it must be like for you guys in the US. Having said this, this kind of stand of course will not be limited to the US, with damage (or perhaps I should say reinforcement of longstanding damage) and ignorance such ensuring ripple effects globally.
    This is truly shameful. I wasn’t aware of this. The stark contrast of access rights to viagra vs. birth control medication pretty much encapsulates it all. I’m not sure if this is addressed in the decision, but what happens to those who are on the birth control pill for other often significant and disabling medical reasons (e.g.: migraine management; endometriosis; perimenopause etc.)? Will they still have access?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you and Welcome! You raise a good question about those who are on birth control for other medical issues, and I do not know the answer to that. I will see what I can find out, though. And thank you for your empathy … we have been taking a lot of hits lately and it is wearing us down. Encouragement is always appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sad about women’s rights issues these days – what has happened? Suddenly it seems we are being told to shut up in favour of all sorts of other ‘minorities’ – well, if approximately 50% of the world’s human beings are still not treated properly, what does that say about us all? We can’t envisage it happening ever??? We have to give up and work on smaller groupings where we might succeed? Sigh, sigh, sigh – and sigh again, Jill! Too big a topic for a response here.
    Agree with what others have said about Catholics and birth control – you will even find missionaries in Africa who do dole out condoms…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can anyone explain to me why some women voted for Trump? He was very clear during the primaries and the election campaign itself exactly how he regarded women. I remind myself that historically the women fighting for the vote struggled against other women as well as men.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually know, sad to say, a few women who voted for him. I have asked them multiple times, calmly trying to engage in conversation, trying to understand, and the ONLY “reason” they have been able to give me was “because he tells it like it is.” Then I ask what that even means, for given that he lies all the time, it cannot mean what it purports to mean. And then they get mad and tell me that I am not trying to understand. You would be surprised how many ‘friends’ I have lost for simply asking that question. And equally curious is why did some African-Americans vote for him??? That one puzzles me as much. The answer I have gotten from them is simply because they couldn’t stand Hillary. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think a lot of people voted with their hearts instead of their heads. They were fed up and hoped that Trump would clean things up – despite the fact that he’s a despicable person. The loss of ‘friends’ signs of the polarization in society. Thanks for your explanations, Jill.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I view the loss of ‘friends’ as really no big loss, for if you think about it, apparently they weren’t such good friends after all. One thing I will give this whole mess credit for is it has opened my eyes and toughened my skin! I have been called so many names that I just laugh now when somebody calls me a b#$%&. Things that used to bother me, I take with a grain of salt. And I see so much more of things that were always there, but either were hidden under the surface, or I was wearing rose-coloured glasses. I’ve taken the glasses off now. 😉 I just hope we get our acts together and vote with heads instead of hearts next year in the mid-terms.

          Liked by 1 person

          • This is my hope as well, Jill. What every nation needs is elected legislatures and executives who have the courage to tackle the big issues and put our democracies back on the right path – putting the Common Good ahead of special interests.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t you think a lot of women live the kind of lives – in a less glamorous and wealthy way – that Trump and his behaviour embodies? Women’s place is to be there for men when they want them, to be domestic servants and vehicles for sex, men provide, women support? Uppity women like Hillary don’t know their rightful place… ie, subjugated to a badly behaved man? It’s the only way I can understand it and if they do have that attitude then ‘he tells it like it is’ makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such destabilizing policy is sure to have a knock on effect. It is an irony, but could DT be thinking he needs an actively high birthrate for fodder future armies? It is an ominous sign to take birth control away from people!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt DT is capable of such complex, long-term thought processes. I think he is just trying to do the things that his base, comprised mainly of radical-right white Christians, want him to do, for he does know he doesn’t stand a chance with the rest of us. And yes, this will be de-stabilizing, and when children are born, left to starve, abused, neglected, and the number in foster care swell beyond capacity, let it be known that DT and his minions own this.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Why does Congress let this continue? I mean, I know the President has the right to do these things, and sometimes it’s the only way to push things through, but government by royal decree? As for the effects on women. Why am I not surprised?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The prez takes his ‘rights’ way too far … he has stated he does not like having to go through Congress, that it is a flawed system that he would like to change. I have said all along that he intends to become an autocrat. Sigh. Backward … we are moving backward as if somebody flipped the switch on the conveyor belt.

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        • Sigh. Yes. I don’t look for another Civil War, for there are few, if any, geographical boundaries and a war between right and left would be complete chaos with blood running in all the city streets. But … I look for Trump to make every attempt to increase his power and decrease the power of the press. If you remember, last year I frequently wrote about Erdogan in Turkey, because I looked at that situation and I saw what I believed could happen here if Trump were elected. While he claims to be a patriot (which, of course, is subjective, depending on the person), he has no love for our democratic-republic form of government. He does not like checks and balances on his power and sees Congress and the Judicial as tools to help him accomplish his goals, rather than fully equal branches of government to limit his power. I think we are in for some interesting, though not necessarily easy or pleasant times. I am concerned about the number of people who are complacent, who take the attitude that “it’s all just politics and it will work itself out”, and then they go to their kids’ soccer games and don’t give it another thought. These are the people who don’t bother to cast a vote, who don’t bother to try to understand the underlying causes for what is happening. Okay, I shall step down off my soapbox now 😉

          Liked by 1 person

            • Exactly! Nothing remains static, and everything is dynamic … constantly changing. As situations and circumstances change, we, too, must be flexible, able to adapt. But Trump has given his followers the idea that he will make America great again, and they believe he will take the country back to the “good ol’ days” of, perhaps the 1950s, when truth be told, it was not all that great then either. Nothing can be perfect, but we must keep open the lines of communication, talk, work out the problems. And that is NOT happening here today. Sigh.

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              • Isn’t it sad how we all harbour such nostalgic memories of a ‘golden age” when everything was rosy. For me it was the early 70s when I was young and the future looked endless.
                Ah well, I guess the only golden age is the one you make for yourself. Sadly Trump is making his golden age only for himself.

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                • Yes, we judge each time period based on what we were going through, what our lives were like. I grew up during the Civil Rights era, and while I remember much of that in the context of my life, mostly I remember my own life at that time. But each period has its ‘ugly’, and that is what we erase from our memory banks, I think. So many who would return to the 1950s remember the good … it was just after the end of WWII, technological advances were beginning to come onto the scene with television, etc., the war was ended, many could now buy homes, appliances, people had jobs and the economy was rebounding. But … what about the segregated schools, the marches, the ‘whites only’ drinking fountains. The riots, the killings, the KKK?

                  Yes, Trump is using his power to create more wealth for himself, and the people of this nation be damned. I think he will be gone before the 2020 elections, but I read tonight that he is already plotting for 2020. Sigh. I hope Americans wake up soon. The 2018 mid-terms will be very critical. Sigh. You notice I sigh a lot these days? 🙂

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                    • No, it is a very uncomfortable place to be. Many nights I have tears rolling as I am writing my pieces, but I have to say, at least it keeps life interesting. I never have to search for a topic to write about 😉 And friends like you and others help keep me sane with your words of encouragement and hugs! 🙂

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  6. First you remind me of the sparkling glamour of those Pride and Prejudice dances , when the rich were rich and the poor were very poor.
    The official Catholic teaching is a no no to birth control but fortunately many Catholics are far too sensible to take this seriously, it a good doctrine for celibate priests and those well past menopause.
    When religious observance becomes a way of saving money suddenly business jumps on the bandwagon. I wonder if they would be so keen on Sunday observance? at least the shopping malls would be worth walking around knowing your family could not empty the bank.
    You will generally find many self – satisfied fundamentalist Christians pick their scriptures carefully so I make sure I read my bible in the places they overlook.
    I had a stunning beautiful teenage daughter , even now in middle age she is glance worthy. We worried sick about her becoming pregnant , like most teens she was full of life and her life was full of boys and the boys were full of testosterone. I’m sure there are a few in the upper echelons of the white house who are not short of that magical chemical.
    When she was fourteen I took her to the local health clinic and they were marvellous; their advice and personal help was invaluable and free.
    She was one of the lucky ones who had caring parents but what about those not so lucky?
    There is a old wise saying ( I’m full of them) prevention is better than cure , so put religion, politics , belief , opinions on one side and lend a helping hand to those who need it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very wise words, my friend! I think too many parents think, “it won’t happen to my child”, but as you say, hormones are powerful, especially in teens. More parents should think like you. And as for those in the White House … oh yes, I am certain of it. Look at the representative who just announced his retirement because, while married, he had an extramarital affair, his girlfriend got pregnant, and he urged her to have an abortion … this after he stood firm against abortion in his rhetoric! Sigh.

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    • Perhaps so! But I have news for them … if they thought women were tough 100 years ago, just look out now! We will fight these fat, rich old white guys tooth and nail to take back our hard-won rights!
      xxx Cwtch xxx

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  7. Jill, what has also transpired rather unnoticed is Congress let the funding for CHIPs expire, leaving children in poverty in a lurch unless remedied. They have screwed children.

    This administration and Congress has done everything in their power to waylay an imperfect law in the ACA. Any law of this magnitude would be tweaked after a few years to make it better. There have been numerous changes to Medicare and Social Security, e.g. The law is still working, but needs some stabilization. If it fails, it is on the Republican shoulders, including the President. An aside, the President just screwed Iowa over when they asked for help.

    Yet, extremely few people know what I just said above. They don’t care and will just wonder where it went. My former party just wants to win an argument and will let Americans suffer – and that is the cold hard truth. Keith

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      • Jill, both he and Sarah Sanders said this won’t impact 99.9% of women. Two comments. Where does that number come from? If it is that high, then why make the change. Women need to stand up and tell this man to stop screwing up their benefit rights. When I hear religious freedom, I recall a stat that said over 90% of US Catholic women ignore the Church on birth control. My guess is a high percentage of Protestant women feel the same about their leadership. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • My understanding is that they were basing this 99.9% figure on the fact that very few companies had filed suits to be exempted from providing birth control coverage. BUT … now that the door has been opened, just watch them flock through it!

          When I hear the term ‘religious freedom’, I understand that it comes at the expense of freedom for all the rest of us. And, as you point out, on this issue and, I believe, most others, there are a small percentage of members of religions calling for these ‘freedoms’, mostly the leadership and the radical right. Since when does the will of some 10% of the nation dictate to the other 90%?

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  8. Dear Jill,
    The dropping of birth control coverage is nuts. It is more expensive to give birth and then there is the women’s time she is off from work. And just how on earth does one prevent an unwanted pregnancy and the abortions.
    This catering to the Evangelical right is going too far.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 5 people

    • My friend, I have said many a time that great minds think alike! And yes, that is the case here! So often, I will write a post, only to find that Gronda was one step ahead of me. But no matter, for we all approach things a bit differently, from different perspectives, and we all use our voices just a bit differently. The more the merrier, and we need all the voices we can get to speak against the injustices!

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