How Trump's Executive Orders Will Affect Pregnant Women
While Wednesday might be Hump Day, President Donald Trump certainly hasn't been a slouch in the White House, with a flurry of executive order after executive order flying from his desk since taking office less than a week ago. There have been 10 executive orders signed by Trump so far, with two more executive actions focused on immigration and his infamous Mexico border wall signed Wednesday afternoon. There's no denying that these executive orders have the power to impact millions of people, but believe it or not, pregnant women will be hurt by them, too. Here's how Trump's executive orders will affect pregnant women — and some of them are quite surprising.
It's important to note that I'm not solely considering how Trump's executive orders will affect pregnant women in the United States — some of Trump's executive orders will affect women around the world, such as the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy. Others, like the approval of both the Dakota Access and Keystone Pipelines will affect pregnant women in ways that might not immediately come to mind when you first think about it — which is exactly why I've taken this deeper dive into the myriad ways that Trump's policies will hurt pregnant women, while not specifically taking aim at them.
Repealing The Affordable Care Act
Trump's very first act as president was to sign an executive order "minimizing the economic burden" of the Affordable Care Act. The implications for pregnant women are obvious: Pregnant women who previously had health insurance may not if the ACA is repealed by Congress. When people don't have health insurance, they're less likely to go to the doctor. Looking at this with a focused lens: that means pregnant women who have lost insurance may not seek the prenatal care they need. On a broader scale, this could result in higher rates of pre-term birth or pregnancy complications — and even increase the U.S. maternal mortality rate, which is already on the rise.
Reinstating The Global Gag Rule
Trump's presidential memorandum reinstating the Mexico City policy has cut funding once again to international aid organizations that mention abortion as a means of preventing unintended pregnancies. This has the potential to not only affect pregnant women in impoverished countries getting vital prenatal care from organizations that even mention abortion services, but could very well end up killing them, too. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year globally, and maternal mortality rates are already higher in less developed nations.
Instituting A Federal Hiring Freeze
While a federal hiring freeze doesn't sound like something that could affect pregnant women, it absolutely can. Trump's executive order putting a federal hiring freeze in place is devastating news to veterans, who made up almost 44 percent of full-time federal hires in 2015. If you're the pregnant spouse or partner of a veteran returning home looking for work, this federal hiring freeze will make it that much more difficult for vets to find jobs — thus putting more financial burdens on growing families.
Greenlighting The Dakota Access & Keystone Oil Pipelines
Even though President Obama temporarily stopped the Dakota Access pipeline in its tracks before leaving office, Trump has already greenlit construction to resume on the pipeline that threatens the drinking water of the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Prior to the Dakota Access, Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline — which, you guessed it — Trump just greenlit again.
The affects to pregnant women may not be apparent at first, until you consider one of the protest chants from the water protectors at Standing Rock: "Water is life." Both of these oil pipelines have the potential for major environmental impacts if something goes wrong, either during construction or even after construction is finished. Pregnant women — at Standing Rock and everywhere — deserve access to clean drinking water.
Building A Wall Along the U.S.-Mexico Border
Trump's infamous Mexican border wall does not pose merely some figurative barrier for pregnant women in Mexico: It could be a very real deterrent for Mexican women seeking safer abortions in the United States, a trend that's been noted for more than a decade at clinics in San Diego, California.
Banning Refugees From Muslim Countries
Trump has signed an executive order temporarily banning refugees from Syria and six other countries in the Middle East and Africa, according to Reuters. Pregnant women from these countries seeking refuge in the United States from totalitarian and oppressive regimes will have to flee elsewhere.
Denying Federal Grants To Sanctuary Cities
Trump has squarely taken aim at punishing sanctuary cities — cities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation by making it more difficult to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order denying federal funds to sanctuary cities. If there's one thing low-income pregnant women who happen to live in a sanctuary city don't need, it's less federal funding that could aid programs to help them.