In one of their last-ditch attempts to drum up support for the controversial bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met on Thursday with the House Freedom Caucus to discuss what changes would be required in order for its members to lend it their support. Among the amendments proposed was one concerning maternity care. As is often the case these days, a photo was snapped to commemorate the occasion and then shared on social media. The glaring problem: No women were present at the table.
The all-male House Freedom Caucus argues that insurance companies should not be required to offer maternity care in all health plans, as currently stipulated by Obamacare. In an image that has become all-too-familiar under the Trump Presidency, Mike Pence tweeted a picture of the meeting, which showed zero women present as the health of expectant mothers was debated. The tweet was met great derision on social media for the obvious lack of diversity. (Another photo taken from a different angle appeared to show two women in the room, standing in the background, but none seated at the table.)
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 23, 2017
Deploying a somewhat bizarre negotiating tactic, Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to mock the Freedom Caucus for being insufficiently anti-choice. He suggested that if the group chose not to vote in favor of the health care plan, it was effectively allowing the continuation of Planned Parenthood, which will be defunded for a year if the bill is passed. Certainly, a woman — or many — should have a presence and a voice in this process. Sadly, as we’ve seen before, the absence of women is a phenomenon that happens all too often at tables where big negotiations are taking place.