Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
The ACLU has filed four Freedom of Information Act requests to find out how the Trump administration plans to target women, religious minorities, and other communities.
There is no question that President Trump hopes to stop progress toward full LGBT equality and access to reproductive rights. Trump has vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that determined women have a fundamental constitutional right to abortion. And Trump just rescinded guidelines that protected transgender students from discrimination.
What should we brace for next? We intend to find out through our Freedom of Information Act requests filed Friday.
Last month, word circulated that Trump was on the verge of signing an executive order that would have devastating consequences for LGBT people, members of minority faiths, women, and people seeking reproductive health care. For example, it would have granted a broad exemption to existing protections under the Affordable Care Act, authorizing employers and universities to use their religious beliefs to block employees’ and students’ health insurance coverage for contraception. It would have authorized discrimination across a host of federal programs and services against same-sex couples and unmarried mothers based on religious beliefs. It would have authorized child welfare agencies that receive federal funding to put religious doctrine above the best interest of the children in their care. And it would have allowed government employees and taxpayer-funded social services providers to discriminate against religious minorities.
The White House denied that it would issue the leaked version of the executive order, but it did not denounce the leaked order, leaving the door open to future attacks against LGBT people, people seeking reproductive health care, women, and religious minorities. At the ACLU, we fight every day to defend religious freedom, but religious beliefs cannot be used to discriminate against or harm others.
Just this week we’ve heard rumblings that another version of an anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive rights executive order is in the works. We filed our FOIA requests because the public has a right to know whether the Trump administration thinks that it has a license to discriminate.
In the meantime, we stand ready to fight whatever comes. Things may look bleak, but we have reasons to be hopeful. We still have the Bill of Rights and all of you to make sure its words are much more than just scribblings on paper. We’ll see Trump in court, and we’ll join you in the streets. Together we will fight discriminatory policies and continue our work fighting for the rights of all Americans.
© 2017 ACLU
Brigitte Amiri is a Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.