At an event at the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C., offices today, spokespeople for FRC and March for Life laid out an ambitious agenda for what they hope Donald Trump will do in the first 100 days of his presidency, including rolling back nondiscrimination protections for federal contractors, the reinstating aid restrictions for overseas organizations that provide abortions, repealing the Affordable Care Act and ending Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood.
Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, which organizes the annual anti-abortion march on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, reminded the audience of the role that social conservatives played in electing Trump.
She said that anti-abortion organizations will be working to make sure Trump makes good on the four promises he made in a September letter to movement leaders, which Mancini said “might have had a pretty big impact on the election.” In particular, she said, Trump’s promise to nominate “pro-life justices” to the Supreme Court was “literally what I think potentially won the election.” In contrast, she said, she believes the Democratic platform’s “very, very extreme” stance on abortion rights “in large part was why Secretary Clinton lost the election.”
Mancini said she was “so excited to see what happens with the Supreme Court now” under Trump. With the potential of Trump nominating three Supreme Court justices over the next four years, she said, “you just dream about what that would look like.”
In his letter to anti-abortion leaders in September, Trump also promised to sign legislation codifying the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funds from financing abortion, instituting a 20-week abortion ban, and ending Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood for care it provides to low-income patients, all promises Mancini emphasized it was important for abortion rights opponents to hold him to. In particular, she said, she hoped that Planned Parenthood defunding would be passed as part of a budget reconciliation process “fairly early in the year.”
Also on her group’s wish list, Mancini said, was reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which prevented U.S. foreign aid recipients from providing or promoting abortion, preferably under a different name. She also hoped that a Trump Justice Department would pursue an investigation of claims against Planned Parenthood.
FRC’s Mandi Ancalle outlined what her group hopes will be additional priorities for the Trump administration undoing “eight years of tyrannical leadership” from President Obama, touching on many of the same policies she outlined at a similar event at this year’s Values Voter Summit. FRC has reason to hope that the Trump administration is listening to its wish list: Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow with the group, has a top domestic policy role on the Trump transition team.
In particular, she hoped that the new president would undo some of the president’s executive actions involving LGBT equality, including his order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which she said discriminated against faith-based contractors, and regulations from various executive agencies “redefining sex.”
Ancalle in particular called out the Department of Education and Department of Justice’s guidance this year on accommodating transgender students in public schools, saying that it was “definitely disconcerting that the Obama administration is attempting to force schools to jeopardize, again, the privacy and safety of these young girls. And that’s especially true when a lot of these students just need counseling, they need somebody to affirm their actual sex and that their gender identity should be congruent with their sex.”
But since executive orders are both “really easy to rescind” and “really easy to issue,” she said, President Trump could take it upon itself to direct all federal agencies to only recognize his own “definition of sex.”
“The Trump administration,” she said, “can come in and say, ‘Actually, for all of my departments, for all of the agencies that are under my authority, sex means the biological characteristic of being male or female,’ and take it back to its roots, biology and anatomy, and reissue that type of executive order and actually direct his agencies and his departments to reissue regulations in accordance with that definition of sex.”
Ancalle also flagged the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraception coverage mandate and advances for transgender people serving openly in the military as Obama-era policies that could be quickly nixed by a Trump administration.
Both were hopeful that Republicans in Congress could use the budget reconciliation process to put a bill defunding Planned Parenthood and eliminating the Affordable Care Act on the new president’s desk in short order.