Trump State Department Authorizes Women's Suffering and Deaths

Think that’s an over dramatic title?

Imagine that you’re in a refugee camp, pregnant and without access to medical care. Imagine that you’re living in Latin America — pregnant, poor, and without access to medical care.

Now imagine going into labor without clean water, a way to cut the umbilical cord, or a clean bed to have your baby on.

That is what women around the world have faced and died from as the result.

Many more would have suffered if not for programs like the United Nations Family Planning Agency.

The UNFPA has saved countless lives, even in the most dire of places. US funding underpins a host of programs, from "dignity kits" distributed to women after the earthquake in Nepal to "birthing kits" given to women in emergency situations.

US funding has been crucial to maternal care in Zataari, the world's largest camp, where more than 7000 babies have been born — without a single maternal death, the agency said.

Birthing kits. A clean tarp to lay down on.  A way to cut the umbilical cord.  Simple basic tools that reduce the risk of infections that can kill.

Maternal mortality rates have dropped in Latin America because of the UNFPA.

United States funding of the United Nations Family Planning Agency has prevented an estimated 320,000 unintended pregnancies, averted almost 100,000 unsafe abortions, and and enabled about 800,000 people to have access to contraception, according to Melissa Kuklin, the executive director of Friends of UNFPA, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that supports the agency's work.

"That’s just 2016 — and just from the US contribution," she said.

There is also the crucial work UNFPA has done to combat gender violence.

Loss of US funding will make response to the Syrian refugee crisis especially difficult, Kuklin added. Nearly 75,000 people will lose access to gender-based violence outreach and psychological support, and nearly 50,000 will lose safe delivery services, in Jordan's refugee camps.

The funding cut will also deal a blow to gender-based violence prevention and response services in crisis settings around the world. UNFPA is the "lead agency" among all international organizations in responding to gender violence, and the US was the second-largest donor, at $38.3 million, to the UNFPA's gender-based violence work last year, according to the UN agency.

But on Monday the Trump State Department cut ALL funding for the UNFPA, an agency that saves lives through its focus on maternal and reproductive health.

There is no moral justification for this. None.

The Trump administration is condemning women world wide to suffering and death. And that seems to be the way they want it.

Why else do what they have done?

The examples of how little women and their lives are valued by the Trump Administration, and the GOP, keep rising. From Trump signing an executive order rolling back hard fought for protections for women in the work place,  to the Republican Health Care travesty that was a giant tax on women —

As policy analysts wade their way through the 123-page bill in an attempt to glean its exact ins and outs, one thing is clear: this bill is not kind to women. In fact, portions of it read as though Republican lawmakers deliberately set out to make having female reproductive parts even more of an expensive headache than it already is. The AHCA contains several ways in which low-income women could be further encumbered with higher healthcare costs and fewer choices.

The GOP’s plan guts the Medicaid expansion, defunds Planned Parenthood, and sunsets a federal rule that requires that qualified insurance plans cover things like mental health care, maternity care, and pediatric dental and vision care, among other things. That means that states could individually choose not to require insurance plans to cover maternity care, and that women who are planning on having a child would need to purchase special insurance riders, which would likely be prohibitively expensive. Further, the fate of the ACA’s birth control mandate—which allowed women to obtain contraception at no out-of-pocket cost, ostensibly because making it extremely easy for a woman to not get pregnant is more cost effective than dealing with a woman who is pregnant and does not want to be—is also up in the air.

In short, if the House GOP plan were signed into law as-is, women could face financial repercussions for being poor, or for using birth control, or for not using birth control, or for giving birth, or for having children who need medical care. How many iPhones does an out-of-pocket Cesarean Section cost?

-  to their war on contraception, we have entered into a dangerous time for women at home and abroad, a time when our lives and deaths do not matter to those in power. Women’s health will suffer. Maternal mortality rates will rise, as they already have in Texas due to the GOP scorched earth attacks on women’s rights and Planned Parenthood.

Trump and the GOP don’t care about the casualty count.  We must.  

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