National Partnership for Women & Families

An Agenda the Nation Rejects

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 28, 2017 —

“Despite some moderate rhetoric, the speech President Trump delivered tonight masks an agenda that undermines unity, democracy and prosperity. Our country doesn’t need walls that divide us from our neighbors, policies that pit us against each other, or a budget that prioritizes penalties and punishment. We need quality, affordable health care, secure access to reproductive health care, fairness in our workplaces, and policies that allow workers to meet the dual demands of job and family.

This president gave lip service to good jobs and support for working families by offering hollow promises of paid parental leave and affordable child care. But lip service and real solutions are worlds apart. Paid family and medical leave, for example, must be available to all working people when they have a new child or a serious personal or family illness to address – and it must offer meaningful wage replacement. The leave proposal President Trump supported as a candidate would hurt women and do much more harm than good. Child care must be affordable and accessible for all working people, not a benefit that disproportionately helps the wealthy. And it is appalling that the president failed to even mention fair pay, at this time when the gender-based wage gap punishes women and families. To help working families, we need to address fair pay, paid leave and child care in meaningful ways.

Similarly, the president’s deceptive reference to investing in women’s health belies the fact that the policies he supports would undermine and defund women’s health, take away coverage for maternity care and birth control, and make abortion care illegal. If he truly cared about women’s health, the president would fight to protect Medicaid and oppose repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation. He would oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides essential health care to millions of people, and he would work to ensure access to, and coverage for, abortion care. Instead, he proposes to throw our health care system into chaos by repealing the ACA, which will result in fewer people with coverage, fewer benefits for those with coverage, and higher costs for consumers. And we already know that the tired proposals he offered to replace the ACA do not work.

President Trump once again praised his U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch tonight, but in fact, Gorsuch is far outside the mainstream of legal thinking in this country. His nomination is an affront to all of us who care about women’s health and rights, and about stopping discrimination. Confirming Gorsuch would imperil women’s right to privacy and our right to choose abortion. He must not be confirmed.

The president’s call to end anti-Semitism and hate rang hollow, coming from a president who once again tonight resorted to ugly immigrant-bashing and other rhetoric that is deeply divisive.

Tonight’s speech was designed to mask an extreme agenda the nation rejects. The resistance must continue. The country needs to send a message back to the president: This is our country and you will not take us backward.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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