President of the United StatesElected to Office: 11-8-2016
Who is Donald Trump?
Former President Donald Trump held the most powerful office in the country from 2016 to 2020. Tracking him revealed how he used his position to undermine the rights of women, immigrants, people of color, people with low incomes, LGBTQ+ people, and other communities. But he didnot do it alone. He filled his administration with extremists who wielded their power to chip away at our freedoms.
By using the power of the executive branch, Trump and his administration severely restricted health care access, reproductive rights, and civil rights for targeted groups. The federal courts could have stood as a backstop, but Trump stacked the courts with extreme right-wing judges. Over 220 Trump-appointed judges now occupy lifetime positions on the federal bench — many with records incredibly hostile to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and all poised to make decisions about our rights for a generation. These judges include Trump’s three appointees on the United States Supreme Court, who will be ruling on numerous cases impacting our rights and freedoms.
“For the first time since Roe v. Wade, America has a Pro-Life President, a Pro-Life Vice President, a Pro-Life House of Representatives and 25 Pro-Life Republican State Capitals!”
Help us keep up the fight to ensure all people can get the health care they need — no matter what.
What Donald Trump Controlled
The White House (Executive Branch of the Federal Government)
The president of the United States leads the government’s executive branch, aka the White House and all the administrative agencies. The executive branch executes the laws passed by Congress. The many executive agencies overseen by the president — including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Education — have extensive authority to implement federal law.
The president appoints many people to a range of government offices, including ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, and judges on the Supreme Court and federal courts. The president is also the commander in chief of the armed forces, and has the authority to veto legislation, grant pardons for federal crimes, and negotiate treaties with other countries.
Background on Donald Trump
Donald Trump and his administration issued a "gag rule" that prohibits providers in Title X — our nation's only program focused on affordable birth control and reproductive health care — from telling patients how they can safely and legally access abortion. The gag rule forced Planned Parenthood out of Title X. Now, 1.5 people with low incomes who used Title X for health care at Planned Parenthood can no longer rely on the federal government to supplement their care.I Stand With Planned Parenthood
While in office, Donald Trump appointed a large cohort of anti-reproductive health and anti-sexual health administrative officials. They censored government websites and health care providers themselves from information on topics like abortion. They issued policy after policy that harms communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, and people with low incomes. And they tried to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the ACA’s birth control mandate.The Nation
Donald Trump is the first U.S. president to release a budget that singled out Planned Parenthood for "defunding." That’s one of many ways the Trump-Pence administration has tried to “defund” Planned Parenthood, which means blocking patients who use public health programs from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. The Trump administration allowed Texas to “defund” Planned Parenthood and block patients who use Medicaid from getting preventive care at its health centers. The Trump administration also “defunded” Planned Parenthood nationwide through the Title X gag rule, which forced Planned Parenthood out of the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. Trump’s "defund" efforts have not shut down Planned Parenthood — health center doors are still open. But he and his administration are still trying.Broadly
Trump signed an executive order encouraging health care providers to deny patients basic health care based on their personal beliefs. The administration has also issued numerous rules that would let health care workers refuse to provide health services they object to — such as abortion, birth control, and transgender health care — and potentially refuse to give care to certain people.Tracking Trump: Refusal Policies
Before he was elected, Donald Trump said he would appoint “pro-life” judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade — the case that recognized the right to access safe, legal abortion. No surprise: Trump’s three Supreme Court appointees, —Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — have records hostile to reproductive health and rights. Trump also filled the federal courts across the country with judges who have track records of restricting reproductive rights.Tracking Trump: Federal Judges
The Trump-Pence administration took many moves to control immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border via executive orders and other administrative policies, including detaining pregnant immigrants; separating thousands of immigrant children from their families; trying to let the government jail immigrant children indefinitely (with or without their parents); and working to deny asylum for immigrants fleeing persecution, discrimination, and violence. Trump's opposition to abortion also played out in the immigration arena when the Office of Refugee Resettlement tried to block young immigrant women from their constitutional right to safe, legal abortion.Immigration Forum
The Trump-Pence administration’s unprecedented Muslim ban imposed restrictions on who can enter the United States from a group of mostly Muslim-majority countries. The policy also barred thousands of immigrants from getting a U.S. green card if they’re from these countries, even to be reunited with family or to take a job offer.Tracking Trump: Muslim Ban
One of Trump’s travel bans discriminated against foreign people of color who are pregnant and want to travel to the United States on short-term tourist visas. In addition to targeting actual pregnant people, the travel ban also targeted foreign travelers who authorities could mistake for being pregnant. Specifically, the administration's tourist visa rule let the State Department deny temporary visas to people who the Department suspected were visiting the United States in order to give birth there and obtain U.S. citizenship for their baby. It targeted travelers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.Tracking Trump: Pregnant Travelers
In March 2018, the Trump-Pence administration said it would add the following question to the 2020 Census: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" Experts worried that doing so would scare many immigrants from responding. The Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census.Tracking Trump: Census
The Trump administration sharply increased separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as proposed a "family detention rule" that would end the current practice of limiting how long children can be detained.Separating Immigrant Families
On the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, HHS decided to grant Texas federal Medicaid funding for a state program that bars patients in the program from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood (and other health centers that also provide abortion). This move upends longstanding federal law. In the past, the federal government has refused to fund state Medicaid programs that aim to take away the right of people with Medicaid to choose whatever qualified reproductive health care provider they want.Planned Parenthood Blog
As one of his first acts in office, Trump reinstated and expanded the global gag rule, which eliminates federal funding for non-governmental organizations abroad if they provide abortion counseling or referrals or advocate around abortion. The people most affected live in the poorest and most isolated communities around the globe — including in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Meanwhile, the administration blocked all U.S. funding to UNFPA, the world’s largest contraception provider. The move hurts UNFPA’s ability to promote reproductive health; respond to humanitarian crises; and prevent unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal deaths in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas.Planned Parenthood Action: Global Gag Rule
In 2018 Trump became the first sitting president in U.S. history to directly address the annual March for Life anti-abortion rally, which he did via satellite. Then, in 2020, he became the first president to speak on-site at the rally.NPR
While on the campaign trail, Trump said abortion should be outlawed and women who have abortions should be punished. He also has used false, inflammatory language to describe abortion later in pregnancy that demonizes people who have abortions and their clinicians. Trump’s rhetoric has impacted policies at the federal and state levels, including dangerous six-week abortion bans passed in several states that ban abortion before most pregnant people even know they’re pregnant. It’s clear: The total and near-total abortion bans passed by politicians in some states reflect Trump’s view on abortion.People Magazine
Under Trump, the administration implemented a plan to restrict sexual and reproductive health care through the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Strategic Plan — which set federal health policy goals through 2022, and now defines life as beginning at conception. The Trump health care plan set forth in the HHS strategy document also focused on protecting the ability of employers and health care providers to deny patients health care services based on their personal beliefs.Tracking Trump: The Health Agenda
The Trump-Pence administration encouraged states to "block grant" their Medicaid programs. Under this “block grant” system, the federal government would give states a fixed amount of funding for Medicaid, instead of funding the full costs of care (such as when there’s a natural disaster). The likely results of block grants: states limiting Medicaid by enrolling fewer people, or offering fewer services, or paying health care providers less (which, in turn, would stop some providers from taking Medicaid patients). Meanwhile, the administration encouraged states to require people to work a certain number of hours and adhere to frequent, detailed reporting in order for them to obtain and keep Medicaid. The likely outcome: people losing their Medicaid coverage.Tracking Trump: Medicaid
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to gain legal status. Just as DACA was bringing young, undocumented immigrants out of the shadows to start school, jobs and families, the Trump-Pence administration decided to end it. The decision left the 700,000 young immigrants who had been protected by the program in limbo, making it harder for them to access health care, seek employment and education, and plan their lives. In June 2020, U.S. Supreme Court ruled to strike down the administration’s efforts to dismantle DACA, protecting at least 700,000 young immigrants who have grown up in the United States from deportation.Tracking Trump: DACA
The Trump-Pence administration tried to stop asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border through a variety of ways. That includes a policy aimed at ending asylum for immigrants who enter the U.S. outside of certain designated ports of entry, as well as a rule to disqualify refugees from asylum if they passed through a country (besides their home country) to get to the United States. The administration also stopped letting domestic violence qualify for asylum and has turned away women fleeing domestic violence.Tracking Trump: Asylum
Expressing public concern for accused perpetrators of sexual assault, the Trump-Pence administration rolled back Title IX protections for survivors of sexual assault and harassment at U.S. schools.Tracking Trump: Betsy DeVos
The Trump-Pence administration sabotaged the Affordable Care Act (ACA) time after time. It defunded and drastically curbed ACA enrollment assistance, shortened the enrollment period, encouraged states to refused to expand Medicaid, and supported efforts to undermine the ACA guarantee of no-copay birth control coverage.Planned Parenthood Action Fund Blog