On Tuesday, May 23, President Trump unveiled his FY18 budget proposal titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” Previous to its release, a coalition of human and women’s rights groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, drafted and signed a letter expressing their concerns about the impending budget proposal. The letter stressed that the budget should not dismantle policies and programs aimed to give women and families the “social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about their lives.”
However, Trump’s budget proposal prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating in any programs funded by the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which provides appropriations to agencies and programs within the Department of Health and Human Services. This is the first and only time a specific health care provider has been excluded from this bill.
Trump’s proposal will likely accelerate the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. Not only does it reduce the number of locations where women can access safe abortions, the budget proposal also bars PP clinics from participating in cancer screening programs by the CDC and obtaining sexually transmitted disease prevention grants due to their funding by the Labor-HHS appropriations bill.
Trump’s budget will heavily affect low-income women and families in the U.S. as well as around the world. With his “America First” rhetoric, funding for Global Health Programs are also in danger, which could increase the number of unsafe abortions and decrease access to family planning across the world. Trump also proposes to slash $272 billion on welfare programs, decrease disability payments by $72 billion, and cut loans that low-income students rely on to subsidize college.
Our President is putting the health of women, children, people of color, low-income families, LGBTQ individuals, and other marginalized groups in danger. Congress has yet to approve the budget, and now they’re on a break until Friday, June 2. So here’s what you can do today to fight Trump’s budget over the recess:
- Call your representatives at their home offices to voice concerns about President Trump’s proposal. You can find your members of Congress here for the House and here for the Senate. Here’s a sample script you can follow:
Hello, my name is [NAME], and my zip code is [ZIP CODE]. I’m concerned about President Trump’s budget, particularly in barring Planned Parenthood from participating in programs funded by the Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill, as well as decreasing the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services. I’m calling to ask [SENATOR or HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] to stand up for programs that improve the health and quality of life for millions of Americans. Programs like this are important to me, because Planned Parenthood provides safe access to a number of important reproductive health services, such as cancer screenings and STI testing and prevention. Please pass my concerns to [SENATOR or HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] and urge [HIM/HER] to fight against Trump’s budget proposal. Thank you for taking my call.
- Speak up at a town hall. Since representatives are currently home for the congressional recess, check the news, call their office, or go to townhallproject.com to discover whether your representative is holding a town hall. Town halls are a great opportunity for constituents to discuss upcoming legislation with their congressional reps and they provide a chance to ask questions about Trump’s budget proposal. To have a better chance of getting called to ask a question, do not bring political signs or wear political shirts. If you get the opportunity to ask a question, be polite and resilient until it is fully answered.
- Stop by your representative’s local office during business hours and deliver a message. Whether it be through a card or a letter, dropping by their office is a quick and easy way to get your opinions heard. You can also gather a small group of constituents and schedule a formal sit-down meeting with your member of Congress to discuss concerns about the budget. Sharing personal stories about how Trump’s budget will impact you is an effective way to influence your representative’s vote. Check your representative’s website or call their office to find out how to schedule a meeting.
- Become a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and join us in fighting against laws that restrict reproductive freedoms.