All-male meeting discussing US maternity care sparks outrage

US vice president tweets photo of healthcare meeting discussing new insurance plans

Mr Pence tweeted the photo on Thursday accompanied by the message “appreciate joining @POTUS for meeting with the Freedom Caucus again today. This is it. #PassTheBill. Photograph: Twitter

Mr Pence tweeted the photo on Thursday accompanied by the message “appreciate joining @POTUS for meeting with the Freedom Caucus again today. This is it. #PassTheBill. Photograph: Twitter

 

A photograph of a large group of male Republicans with US vice-president Mike Pence has sparked outrage after it emerged the meeting was discussing whether or not to include maternity care in Donald Trump’s new health insurance plan.

The proposed bill repeals the former president Barack Obama’s healthcare requirement that insurers cover specified services such as maternity and mental health care.

Women’s rights and health organisations responded to the photograph of the all-male meeting with outrage with Planned Parenthood tweeting: “here’s the picture of the leaders negotiating away birth control, maternity care & abortion. Notice anything?”

Mr Pence tweeted the photo on Thursday accompanied by the message “appreciate joining @POTUS for meeting with the Freedom Caucus again today. This is it. #PassTheBill.

Twitter users were quick to strike back at the post with thousands commenting on the outrageous nature of a group of men discussing the future healthcare policies of the nation’s women.

Massachusetts democratic congressman Jim McGovern tweeted: This is outrageous: Not a single woman in the room as @Mike_Pence and @HouseGOP propose removing maternity coverage in #Trumpcare.

Author Mona Eltahawy compared the photo to an image taken last week at the inaugural girls’ council in al-Qassim province in Saudi Arabia which was condemned for releasing photos of 13 men on stage but no women.

Democratic senator Patty Murray retweeted the image with the message: “a rare look inside the GOP’s women’s health caucus”.

On Thursday night, Mr Trump issued an an ultimatum that lawmakers pass the legislation that has his backing or keep in place the Obamacare law that

Republicans have sought to dismantle since it was enacted seven years ago.

The House was tentatively set to vote by 4.45pm US eastern time on Friday on the

bill to replace Mr Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

“We’ll see what happens,” Mr Trump said at the White House, adding that House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who has championed the bill, should keep his job regardless of the outcome.

Even if the legislation passes, it will have an uncertain future in the Senate, where many Republicans are dissatisfied with it. Failure of the measure would call into question Mr Trump’s ability to get other key parts of his agenda, including tax cuts and a boost in infrastructure spending, through a Congress controlled by his own party.

Additional reporting from Reuters