Trump Signs Executive Orders on Trade, Abortion and More as He Settles Into Office

The Donald Trump presidency has officially begun with a decisive bang that belies the less than overwhelming support our 45th president received both at the ballot box and at his own inaugural festivities. Leaping straight into reversing the entirety of Democratic President Barack Obama’s progressive policies, the newly sworn in commander in chief already signed a series of executive orders to get his new administration up and running.

By Monday afternoon the new president officially ended U.S. participation the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, fulfilling one of the few campaign promises that crossed party lines. Tabling the trade policy pact made with Asia was one of the first new items out of Trump’s fledgling Oval Office, although as the Washington Post noted, it was mostly a symbolic gesture since Congress had already killed the deal.

“Since the election, TPP has become politically toxic in both parties,” reports the Washington Post. “On Monday, five Democratic senators introduced legislation that would require the president to notify each of the 11 other countries involved in the deal of the United States’ withdrawal. It would also block any so-called ‘fast track’ approval of the agreement in the future. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka hailed the president’s executive order and called for additional action.”

While both parties may have little issue with Trump’s TPP order, that is the only one that they agree on. Trump also signed another executive order — this one putting a freeze in place for any hiring within the federal government.

While the freeze was proposed in Trump’s “First 100 days” agenda, opponents hoped the policy would be discarded as hiring freezes do not actually save governments money, instead often increasing costs due to slower services and other capacity issues. There can be other heavy political costs as well.

“The reality is it’s far harder to shrink the federal workforce than it is to slash staff at, say, the Trump Organization,” writes Politico. “Thousands of federal workers belong to powerful unions that can mobilize their representatives in Congress. And almost two thirds of them work for defense and security-related agencies, according to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service — areas of the government that Trump promised not to touch during the campaign. Ostracizing the massive federal workforce comes with its own political perils. The vast majority — about 85 percent — are based outside of Washington, D.C., meaning Trump could anger workers all over the country, including in key battleground states.”

Finally, Trump has reversed the “Mexico City Policy” reinstating the “Global Gag rule” as some call it. The policy, which usually switches whenever a new political party enters the White House, effectively “gags” any organization offering family planning services overseas from providing abortion services, referring for abortion services, or even mentioning abortion services exist, regardless of whether the organization is doing such work or education with their own funding, or even if abortion is completely legal in that foreign country itself.

“President Donald Trump reinstated the ‘Mexico City policy’ on Monday, issuing an executive order barring foreign aid or federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations that promote or provide abortions,” reports U.S. News and World Reports. “‘The United States will end the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion overseas, along with coercive abortions and sterilization practices,’ White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in the White House press briefing Monday, explaining the move.”

Opponents call it a violation of free speech, a disservice to potential patients and a policy that in fact harms safety by forcing overseas groups to turn down funds or deny information.

“We know what happens when providers are forced to choose between U.S. assistance and providing the care their patients have a right to receive — clinics close and women are denied access to basic health services,” said Caroline Crosbie, acting CEO of Pathfinder International via email statement.

Crosbie added, “Abortion is legal in many countries where we work. Imposing the global gag rule will force many organizations and clinicians to disregard their local laws and deny women rights that are legally theirs. Stopping organizations from speaking freely about abortion in their own countries is counter to the American commitment to free speech and promoting democracy.”

These quick actions signal that President Trump is bulldozing ahead to put in place one of the most conservative administrations in recent U.S. history. Yes, even if he doesn’t have the public mandate to support him.

Stand up for the rights of millions of women and ensure access to safe abortions and life-saving information. Sign and share the Care2 petition telling Trump to reverse the Global Gag Rule.