Threats to reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights in a Trump presidency

Maddie Boone, Staff Writer

Under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, both LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive rights may be threatened. While the liberal-turned-conservative president-elect has remained publicly indecisive regarding his views on reproductive rights, his Vice President-elect Mike Pence has been clear. Pence, a veteran politician and current governor of Indiana, is the embodiment of conservative social values. Pence is known for both his anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-choice policies. The combination of an unsure president and a hard-line vice president is enough to make many women fear losing their reproductive rights and many members of the LGBTQ+ community fear losing their human rights.

As a front-runner in the promotion of “conversion therapy,” a practice seeking to alter a person’s sexual orientation, Pence has long been a threat to the LGBTQ+ community. He has called homosexuality “a choice” and has supported the use of federal dollars to fund this “conversion therapy.” Along the same vein, Trump has also aligned with many Christian conservatives in his agreement to sign an act legalizing LGBTQ+ discrimination by businesses and the government, among others. This act, called the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), would overturn President Barack Obama’s executive order which guarantees employment protection for transgender and gay government employees and employees of companies with federal contracts.

Regarding abortion, Trump has said on record that he wants to appoint judges who are inclined to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which determined a woman’s right to have an abortion in 1973. However, the president-elect has stated that he is pro-abortion in the case of rape, incest, or in cases of life-threatening complications during childbirth. He has called for federal defunding of Planned Parenthood if they provide abortions other than the cases listed above and expressed the need for “some form of punishment” for having or performing abortions.

Pence is also actively pro-life. He defunded Planned Parenthood in Indiana, supported attempts to block embryonic stem cell research, and wants to give fetuses and embryos legal rights. Many have been distressed by his hard-line views, and in response to the election outcome, individuals have already donated approximately $25,000 to Planned Parenthood’s facilities in Indiana and Kentucky under Pence’s name.

It is important to remember that Pence is not the only member of Trump’s cabinet. Unfortunately, many other appointees to and supporters of the Trump presidency advocate heavily in favor of anti-gay and anti-choice policies. The true irony here is that the Trump campaign called for less government involvement. While we may see that play out in his economic policies, we certainly do not see a bright future for that in his social policies. Both recent and age-old judicial decisions may be challenged. We must not be quick to dismiss the fear of a Trump presidency by our fellow Americans, for it is justified for marginalized groups such as LGBTQ+ people and women.

However, the uncertain views of the president-elect leave open the possibility that the attack on reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights may not be quite as bad as many anticipate. Despite our fears, we must unite to support one another to move forward as a country and protect our rights. In a democracy, we the people dictate change. Do not be indifferent; act.

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