With the consistent barrage of garbage coming out of the Trump administration (Did he collude with Russia? Use campaign funds to pay off Stormy Daniels? Pass one of the worst tax bills in American history? Consistently endanger the lives of thousands upon thousands of undocumented people living in the United States? Bring us to the brink of war again and again? “Yes” to all of the above, by the way) it’s easy to overlook the smaller pervasive actions of the Trump Administration. Yet, over the past week we’ve seen two changes that should be absolutely frightening to anyone who cares about the ability of Americans to access reproductive rights and justice. Just because it’s not obvious that Donald Trump is actively trying to make it harder for you to yield power over your own genitals does not mean that it isn’t happening.
First, let’s fucking talk about Wendy Vitter. Wendy Vitter is Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the district judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans. Wendy Vitter has served since 2012 as the general counsel for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and has minimal courtroom experience. Which is a pretty horrifying start for someone potentially seeking a lifetime appointment to a courtroom, but unsurprising under the Trump administration. In fact, as of November the ABA found that Donald Trump was nominating unqualified judges at an unprecedented rate.
But what does that have to do with a sex column? And isn’t Wendy Vitter just another one of Trump’s bad nominees? Don’t worry, Vitter gets worse. Vitter is exceptionally strong in her opposition to abortion. Her positions extend far beyond the normal realm of “wow you really don’t want me to do this thing” and into “this is just a litany of absolute fake science bullshit.” While moderating a panel sponsored by the Louisiana Right to Life at a 2013 conference, Vitter endorsed a brochure called “The Pill Kills” that links oral contraception with cervical, breast and liver cancer as well suicide and violent death. The brochure is a mix of absolute farce and complete misinterpretation of single studies, which have been widely debunked. Vitter has claimed that Planned Parenthood kills “over 150,000 a year”. Insofar as the judiciary has the power to enforce or overturn those laws being passed in Republican-dominated states to specifically restrict access to reproductive care (see Texas, North Carolina and South Dakota), Vitter will potentially have the ability to restrict access to resources like Planned Parenthood or other, actually life-saving, vital resources for health services.
That nomination alone would make for a horrendous week under a president that isn’t Donald Trump, and makes for a not great one in our current political climate. Too bad it’s not the only shit-show we witnessed! Trump also signed FOSTA into law. FOSTA is a bill that sounds really nice when you only pay attention to what its proponents say. Who wouldn’t love The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. The act makes it illegal for Backpage and similar websites to knowingly assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking. Yet, the truth is that not only does the bill do nothing to help sex trafficking victims, it also makes sex work a federal crime and forces sex work off of the internet and into street prostitution. The Electronic Freedom Foundation notes that FOSTA is a bill that is “a disaster for Internet intermediaries, marginalized communities and even trafficking victims themselves”. A world in which sex workers can use the internet to screen their clients their job is much safer. Even the Department of Justice warned that FOSTA raises constitutional concern and advised against its passage. In a world in which we know countless individuals who passed this bill, including the man who signed it into law, are utilizing sex work, the passage of this bill seems particularly egregious.
So the assault on sexual justice goes on. A mere fucking drop in the metaphorical piss bucket presented to us by our current administration, but not something that should go unnoticed in the ongoing fight to defend our rights.
ReykjaDick is a student at Cornell University. Whoreoscopes appears monthly this semester.