According to Politico, Christian conservative Penny Nance is being considered for the position of foreign envoy for women's issues in the Trump administration. This role would involve supervising the State Department’s programs to fight gender-based violence and promote women's and girls’ educational and economic achievement, which seems contradictory considering Nance's history of misogynist and homophobic views. Even if her name doesn't ring a bell, you are probably aware of the objectively terrible activism Penny Nance has pursued as CEO and then President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), a socially conservative, Christian non-profit. CWA was formed in 1979 as a response to the rising popularity of feminist views, and focuses on advancing "traditional" Christian family values.
Nance and the CWA are explicitly "pro-life," discouraging abortions and emergency contraception while also shaming unmarried mothers. In a statement in response to the recent legal battle of Jane Doe, an undocumented teen in Texas seeking an abortion, Nance said, "Let's remember that abortion is not health care." She also wrote in the Christian Post that rape victims should carry their pregnancies to term because "aborting her baby, which was the result of a crime, actually adds to the emotional and physical harm to the mother." The CWA backed the Global Gag Rule that prevents overseas non-governmental organizations receiving U.S. aid from providing abortion services or education and wants to .
Not satisfied with her crusade against women's reproductive rights, Nance also campaigns against LGBTQ rights. When Uganda passed a bill criminalizing same-sex relations in 2014, the CWA praised the "Biblical and cultural stand against the radical homosexual agenda.” She has said that gay youth are “probably troubled kids in a number of ways,” and has compared gay marriage to what she considers immoral and illegal activities like sex work and drugs. Predictably, her organization opposes allowing transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. Nance was also mad about the female empowerment in Frozen so, there's that.
In recent weeks, Nance has caused controversy by tweeting that Republican senator Jeff Flake "sounded like a middle school girl. Oh the drama!" Flake has been vocal in his opposition to Trump as a conservative. Democrats are preparing to fight Nance's nomination for the foreign envoy for women's issues role, which must be confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With the support of even one Republican member of the committee, they can prevent Nance's confirmation. Now is a time for common-sense bipartisanship, in order to protect women and the queer community in the U.S. and around the world from Penny Nance's dangerous views.
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Molly McLaughlin is a travel and culture writer currently based in Mexico City. Her work has appeared in publications including Lonely Planet, Refinery29 and Ms. Magazine. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @mollysgmcl.