Based on Trump's proposed policies and campaign rhetoric, millions of Americans are worried about the loss of their civil liberties, the loss of protections to our overheating planet, access to affordable health care, and so much more. No one can be absolutely sure of what a Trump presidency will mean for America and its disenfranchised groups. What is certain is how much is at stake. Here are just a few of those things.
ABORTION MAY BECOME ILLEGAL
As a congressman representing Indiana, future Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly sought to defund Planned Parenthood. As Indiana's governor, Pence signed one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country earlier this year. The law banned abortions sought over genetic disorders, banned fetal tissue donation, and required fetal remains be either cremated or buried, among other restrictions. Though it was later blocked by a federal judge, Pence has made it clear that he will continue to oppose abortion in office. “I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” Pence said during a town hall in July, promising that his administration will “see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs." Trump's Supreme Court pick will be anti-abortion, and according to the Los Angeles Times, “There almost certainly will be a majority to overrule Roe vs. Wade and allow states to prohibit abortions.” Backed by a majority Republican Congress, Trump has committed to move to defund Planned Parenthood, "make the Hyde Amendment—a rule that forbids any taxpayer funds to be used to cover abortion, even for Medicaid patients—a permanent rule rather than something that must be renewed every year, and sign a federal ban on abortion at 22 weeks gestation into law," Robin Marty explained in Cosmopolitan.com.
LGBTQ RIGHTS MAY BE SET BACKWARD
Pence is anti-gay rights. He has advocated for conversion therapy, has said that same-sex couples are a sign of “societal collapse," and supported the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. As governor, he also signed a religious freedom bill that critics feared would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people by citing religious beliefs as a legal defense (the language of the bill was amended after outcry). Trump opposes same-sex marriage and has said he would consider appointing judges who would overturn marriage equality. The Human Rights Campaign's Jay Brown told the Daily Beast: “Everybody is a little stunned right now. We know there are several threats coming at us, and we spent many months warning voters about the anti-LGBTQ platform of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Now we’re confronted by that.”
THE WHITE HOUSE'S SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT COULD DISAPPEAR
Trump has boasted about sexually assaulting women and even faces sexual assault allegations from over a dozen women. Many of the men in his inner circle, like Corey Lewandowski and Newt Gingrich, have dismissed the concerns over sexual assault, argued that Trump's comments are normal, or called reporters covering the story "fascinated with sex," respectively. The Obama administration has prioritized sexual violence on college campuses through the It's On Us initiative and the U.S. Department of Education has over 200 college investigations open. Inside Higher Ed writes, "His lack of a plan has worried many victims’ advocates, and comments made during the campaign by some of Trump’s surrogates suggesting that, if elected, Trump would scale back Title IX, or even eliminate the Department of Education or the Office of Civil Rights, has caused more concern."
IMMIGRANTS WILL BE AT RISK
Immigrants and refugees will become one of the most vulnerable populations in a Trump presidency. Trump focused his platform around immigration, promising to build a wall at the border of Mexico (and have Mexico pay for it), proposed a ban on Muslims from entering the United States (which, as of Thursday, had disappeared from his campaign site), and said he will not offer millions of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship and will deport them. He has promised to withdraw funding for cities that become sanctuaries for refugees, saying, "Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities," and is extremely suspicious of Syrian refugees. His anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies have translated into a rise in hate crimes against people of color and a rise in Islamophobia, and are guaranteed to infringe upon the human rights and safety of millions in this country.
THE JUSTICE SYSTEM COULD SKEW CONSERVATIVE
There is currently one vacancy on the Supreme Court, and given that two judges are over 75, Trump may be able to nominate more judges during his presidency. Trump's list of potential judicial nominees skews male, white, and conservative, endangering a history of progressive victories like marriage equality, affirmative action, and LGBT rights. Trump, who has also attacked a federal judge over his Mexican heritage, will have the power to appoint federal judges. Since most cases never make it to the Supreme Court, federal judges end up making the majority of decisions on cases involving civil rights of Americans. Because the Republicans hold the Senate, Trump would likely get more support than Barack Obama, who was blocked by Republicans from filling the open Supreme Court seat.
SUPPORT FOR CLEAN ENERGY MAY DISAPPEAR
Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. According to Vox, “all the fragile but important progress the world has made on global warming over the past eight years is now in danger of being blown up" under Trump. Vox explains that Trump wants to do away with Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., wants to stop federal funding of clean energy, and wants to gut the Environmental Protection Agency. What's worse, if he also fails to acknowledge the Paris Agreement (an international treaty targeting global warming), he "will likely ensure that the global mean temperature rises higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius," the Atlantic reports, which "would have devastating effects on a planetary scale, pushing weather patterns far outside what human civilization has previously experienced and ensuring mass extinctions."
RACIAL EQUALITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS WILL BE THREATENED
Trump is a proponent of stop-and-frisk, a form of racial profiling that was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge. He advocates waterboarding and believe “torture works” against terrorist suspects, even though torture is a violation of several international laws. Using racially coded language, Trump has also incited violence at his rallies, urged his supporters to monitor voters at the polls on Election Day, and has garnered the support of the KKK—one KKK group even held a victory parade for Trump in North Carolina. People across America are already starting to experience more incidences of racism by Trump supporters.
MILLIONS MAY LOSE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE
Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would leave 24 million Americans without insurance. The ACA also protects women from discriminatory practices by insurance companies that charge women more for health care, and ensures their access to no co-pay birth control. Given the likelihood that birth control is about to become expensive and abortion may be an impossibility, some feminists are encouraging women to get an IUD, a medical device that can prevent pregnancy for several years, before January. With Republican control of Congress, and their firm disavowal of the plan, Trump could end up gutting Obama’s health-care act.
AMERICA'S RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES MAY DETERIORATE
Security experts are terrified about what Trump, who is unpredictable and retaliatory, will do with access to the nuclear codes and the most powerful military in the world. In Politico, Ian Bremmer wrote that when it comes to foreign policy, "With Trump, the biggest risk comes from the way he’d handle a crisis that no one saw coming, whether from China, Putin, North Korea, a cyberattack, terrorists, or something else. As a candidate, he thrives on surprise. Restraint and strategic patience don’t figure among his strengths, and Trump might well respond to a bolt-from-the-blue crisis with a shot of bravado, a threat of escalation and tactics designed to keep antagonists, and maybe U.S. allies, off guard." The Daily Beast summarizes Trump's views on NATO as "at best a pay-to-play arrangement, at worst, a total waste of time," noting that Trump has called America's post-World War II military treaty with Canada and several European nations "obsolete" and "unfair, economically." If Russia invades any neighboring NATO countries, it's possible that Trump may refuse to honor the treaty and not intervene. This action could dismantle the 70-year international treaty.
NET NEUTRALITY COULD END
Obama supported a free and open internet. A President Trump will likely not. In 2014, he tweeted against net neutrality, saying, "Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media." Trump will likely have the support of a Republican-majority Congress in his opposition to net neutrality. Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen expects that net neutrality will be "challenged or weakened" under a Trump administration.
FREEDOM OF PRESS WILL BE THREATENED
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has called journalists like NBC's Katy Tur and CBS News's Sopan Deb liars, has threatened to sue the New York Times for printing allegations of sexual assault against him, and has repeatedly insulted media outlets that report pieces he doesn't like. Reporters covering the Trump campaign have faced death threats, rape threats, and harassment from Trump supporters, both at rallies and online. Furthermore, Trump frequently left out press and even banned several news outlets from attending press conferences and campaign events. Trump has also said that the First Amendment offers “ " and that “our press is allowed to say whatever they want.” Many journalists fear what will happen to the freedom of the press under a Trump presidency.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.