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Maria Grazia Chiuri on fashion, feminism and Dior: You must fight for your ideas

Diors new creative director the first female in its 70-year history to hold the post is fascinated by modern women and how she can reflect their lives in the clothes she makes

It is Christian Dior who gazes down gravely from the portrait in oils, whose dresses are in the silver-framed photographs that sit at an elegant slant beneath the white orchids, and whose name is stamped in distinctive sharp-serifed font on the reception desk at Dior HQ on Rue de Marignan. But the living, breathing creative force of todays Christian Dior, who darts in shaking the rain out of her tousled bob, is a woman. Whats more, Maria Grazia Chiuri is nothing like the full-skirted, doe-eyed figure whose image is conjured up by the name Dior. She wears a black sheepskin coat, flat buckled black shoes and black trousers with a Mod-sharp crease.

Maria Grazia Chiuri is here to reinvent Christian Dior. A house that has been selling feminine charm since 1947 has a woman in charge for the very first time. We walk the curved staircase to the first floor, into a salon with three tall white-shuttered windows, where oval-backed Louis XVI chairs are grouped gracefully around a generous expanse of freshly beeswaxed parquet.

On the staircase we passed Willy Maywalds famous photograph of 40s Dior house model Renee, her feet posed in a balletic fourth on a cobbled Parisian street in a full black skirt and a white bar jacket. But we are not here to talk about full skirts or the New Look. After 70 years of white-gloved elegance and dove-grey refinement, the house of Dior now stands for something else: feminism. For her Dior debut in the Muse Rodin in September last year, Maria Grazia Chiuri sent on to the catwalk a T-shirt with the slogan We Should All Be Feminists, the title of a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Ted talk. So once Maria Grazia, as her team call her, has offloaded her D-fence saddlebag, a millennial-bait crossbody with the DIOR name spelt out in knuckleduster gold, on to the grey velvet upholstery, I ask her why she wanted to put feminism on the Paris catwalk.

Dior is feminine, she says. Thats what I kept hearing when I told people I was coming here. But as a woman, feminine means something different to me than it means to a man, perhaps. Feminine is about being a woman, no? I thought to myself: if Dior is about femininity, then it is about women. And not about what it was to be a woman 50 years ago, but to be a woman today.

Maria Grazia herself is very much a woman of today. Her naturally dark hair is bleached a platinum blond, offset by sooty black eyes; the effect, teamed with her all-black outfit (I am part of the generation that wears black, she shrugs), is equal parts Debbie Harry and Donatella. The pussy bow of her sheer black blouse is tied in a rakish slim knot which is Mick Jagger rather than Nancy Reagan. Her hands, barnacled with rings, have an aesthetic that is more Hells Angel than chauffeur-driven: an eagle spreads across three fingers, an enormous pearl balances on another, a jagged flash of green on the other hand.

We Should All Be Feminists … making a statement at Paris fashion week in September 2016. Photograph: SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock

In the days running up to that first Dior show, Chiuris debut was trailed by a series of mini films on the Dior social media accounts under the title The Women Behind My Dress. Women in the modern Dior ateliers, from seamstresses to calligraphers, talked about their role models. The names ranged from Princess Diana to US Senator Elizabeth Warren. As Rihanna, Jennifer Lawrence, Bianca Jagger, Carla Bruni and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie took their seats in the front row, Dior released a pre-show statement that championed Adichies work examining the question of racism and the place of women in society. In previews, Chiuri had talked to editors not about her obsession with tulle or embroidery but about the influence of Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Ests book about the Wild Woman archetype and the patriarchys attempts to suppress her force in society.

When you are a woman making clothes for women, then fashion is not just about how you look. It is about how you feel and how you think, she says. I ask her what feminism means to her, but she bats the question away with a wave of those rings. I am not interested in the old stereotypes, of what a feminist looks like or doesnt look like. I dont think there is one way to be a feminist.

This inclusive agenda is as radical in the arena of Parisian high fashion as the presence of a political slogan on the catwalk. The higher echelons of French fashion are a world in which an image of swan-like unrufflement is maintained at all times and the Dior empire, which dominates prime real estate along Avenue Montaigne and Rue de Marignan, has an atmosphere as rarefied as a Disney castle. It is run by an immaculate female army whose faultless manners never falter. When I choose a seat for the interview, one of the Dior team moves a glass tank of white roses to the adjacent side table, so that you have a nicer view.

If the creative director of Dior is a kind of unofficial art director for femininity, then the appointment of a woman to the job after decades of mansplaining is a feminist moment that goes beyond T-shirts. Chiuri has already had a very successful career, alongside bringing up two children who are now both in their early 20s. At 53, she finds herself in a position to seize a new opportunity in a new country, living alone in Paris from Monday to Friday and returning home to her husband in Rome most weekends. Feminism for me is about equal opportunities. If I am going to stand for something, I would like to stand for this idea: that if you are a woman you can have these opportunities in life.

Chiuri was born in Rome, studied fashion and spent three decades working in the city, first at Fendi, then for 17 years at Valentino. Her reputation was built on a Midas touch with accessories she was part of the team that created the Baguette at Fendi, and is credited with the Rockstud shoes and bags that played a huge role in raising both profile and profits at Valentino (the brand reached revenue of $1bn in 2015, two years ahead of forecast). For the last eight years of her Valentino tenure, she and her design partner, Pierpaolo Piccioli, were responsible for ready-to-wear, too. During that time, they blended Romes Renaissance past with a punky modern sensibility to create Valentinos modern bohemian mash-up of hippy-length hemlines, slender feminine sleeves, tightly braided hair and hardware-studded accessories. Chiuris husband, Paolo Regini, is a shirtmaker; their son Nicolo, now studying engineering in Rome, and daughter Rachele, a visual arts student at Goldsmiths in London, were born during her Fendi years. For any woman who works and has a family, its not easy. You get home from work and then you need more energy for your family. You need a lot of energy. But I was lucky to have had a husband who always supported me, and that I could afford to pay a babysitter.

The Dior job was not a decision she took lightly. We are a traditional Italian family. We ate together every night. So this was a very unusual idea, for us. But when I got the call I thought at this moment in my life, I could do this. In the past, maybe it wouldnt have been possible and in the future, well, who knows. Right now, I have the energy to do this. She left behind in Rome not only her family but Piccioli, with whom she had built a creative partnership. She plays down the significance of working as a solo designer after a career spent in a duo (All the time, the reality is that there is a team) but in scrutiny terms, the combination of the Dior scale, the exposure of flying solo and the novelty of her being female have shone a spotlight on Chiuri more glaring than anything she knew in Rome.

Signature looks from the house (l-r): Christian Diors New Look (1947); a Dior look by Yves Saint Laurent (1958-59); Dior couture by Galliano S&M with models hands bound together (A/W 00); Dior couture minimalist bar jacket by Raf Simons (A/W 12); We should all be feminists (S/S 17). Composite: Getty/Rex

Her first real challenge at Dior was more prosaic. The hardest thing was just to find my office. This place is not just a building, it is a village. (I can confirm this. Whats more, the miles of corridor and acres of stuccoed salon are done out entirely in the same pale grey and warm white, making orientation possible only by memorising the position of specific Avedon photographs.) One of the first times she left her office, she recalls with a throaty laugh, she had to call her assistant from the street for directions back. But though the dimensions were bigger than Id realised, the atmosphere was the opposite. This is a house that looks quite distant from the outside, and quite formal; instead I found a very relaxed, familiar atmosphere.

She is tickled by the novelty of independent living in her new apartment near the Jardin du Luxembourg. Its like a second life! I feel like maybe I am a student at university in a foreign city! She smiles. She misses Rome The weather, the light, the food. I realise how Italian I am about food, since I moved here but finds herself charmed by Paris. After the feminist splash of her ready-to-wear debut, the second Dior collection by Chiuri was a pre-fall line-up that took as its starting point Chiuris newly adopted city.

But the Chiuri take on Paris, as expressed in an eclectic line-up of slogan T-shirts, houndstooth capes, embroidered denim and tiered lace, is an instructively unconventional one. Not for her the Francophile cliches of caf crmes and bourgeois charm, or the familiar tropes of soignee French Girl dressing which have sold a thousand style books. Chiuri alighted instead on multicultural Paris and the citys alternative life, citing as influences Harmony Korines countercultural film-making and Walter Benjamins urban sociology. A city like Paris is not just French. Paris is a very specific space where many different people live. Chiuri interprets the ideas and values that this Paris represents to her in clothes. It is a very meta mindset, but she wears it lightly. There is not just one Paris. I live in Paris now, but in a way I still imagine Paris, do you know what I mean?

The two people to whom Chiuri most frequently refers are Christian Dior and her daughter Rachele. The two seem to be in conversation in her head: the man who wrote the boilerplate copy for femininity, and the living, breathing incarnation of the modern female. When she had accepted the job, but before she moved to Paris, she read Christian Dior et Moi, the couturiers autobiography. When he spoke about his job, he would say, this dress would be perfect for this woman. He wasnt making the dresses to please himself, he was making them for the women he dressed.

This idea, of helping women to express themselves, is how Chiuri hopes to channel the founder. Because it is not possible to have a reference that is a dress from the 50s. It is just too long ago. But the ideas are still modern. Meanwhile, Rachele regularly takes the Eurostar to Paris, and could be spotted backstage on the day of the first show, eating lunch with her mum. I listen to her because she is the new generation, and because she doesnt say anything to please me. I need her real, honest opinion. It is impossible to work in fashion now if you dont try to understand the new world.

One of Chiuris most radical angles on Dior is the way she collages images from throughout the brands history, rather than worshipping at the New Look as if one collection could unlock all secrets, like fashions Rosetta Stone. The Dior history cant be just about something that happened 70 years ago, she says. For many women now, when they think of Dior, they think of [Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a Dior T-shirt in] Sex And The City. Mr Dior was only here for 10 years, so this company is also about all the designers after him Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simons. And Hedi Slimane [at Dior Homme] influenced this brand a lot, so it is not possible to talk about Dior and not talk about Hedi. She sees herself as a curator of the idea of Dior.

The evening after her haute couture show in January, Chiuri had the venue reconfigured to host a blockbuster masked ball, an immersive extravaganza which invited suspension of disbelief at every stage from the unicorns who stood guard along the candlelit path (horses with gold horns and masked riders, but still) to the suspiciously handsome tarot card readers. On the banquet table, gold-painted lobsters, and tortoises carved from marble, tangled with swags of ripe grapes and quivering meringue gateaux, all lit as sumptuously as a Caravaggio still life. (Kendall Jenner channelling Audrey Hepburn in black shades, and Bella Hadid in a see-through dress on the dancefloor with A$AP Rocky that part really happened.) It seemed to stand for a new era of informality and unpredictability at Dior.

The day after the party I went back to the Dior showroom on Avenue Montaigne. I was there for a closer look at the Dior pre-fall collection in all its crazy glory leopard-print tailoring, blanket coats with logo-stamped hems, polka-dotted sheer knee-high boots but was struck, traversing those labyrinthine grey corridors, by something else about the Dior look. The female workforce seemed to be mostly wearing black trousersuits, with not a full skirt to be seen. Chiuri herself is, she says, obsessed with uniforms. Because a uniform is something that helps you live your life. When she was dreaming up her first Dior collection, she watched Viscontis 1976 film LInnocente and was charmed by the beautiful images of fencing. I thought to myself, this could be in some way a new bar jacket. And if I put it with pants, it could be a modern Dior uniform, she says. The first look in her first collection became a white fencing jacket modelled by the crop-haired Brit Ruth Bell. First I just loved the image, but after I saw the film, I started to read about fencing. I love the idea that you go into a duel, but you dont kill. I think in some ways this is very close to the way I think. I dont like violence at all. But I truly believe that you must fight for your ideas.

This article appears in the spring/summer 2017 edition of The Fashion, the Guardian and the Observers biannual fashion supplement

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/mar/18/maria-grazia-chiuri-fashion-feminism-fight-for-ideas

Draft of first Trump budget would cut legal aid for millions of poor Americans

Draft proposes elimination of Legal Services Corporation, which provides free legal assistance to low-income people, victims of domestic violence and others

Cuts in Donald Trumps first draft budget to funding for legal aid for millions of Americans could strip much-needed protections from victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, families facing foreclosure and veterans in need, justice equality advocates warned Tuesday.

A Trump draft budget circulated over the weekend called for the elimination of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which has a $375m annual budget and provides free legal assistance to low-income people and others in need of help, with cases involving disability benefits, disaster relief, elder abuse, fair pay, wheelchair access, low-income tax credits, unlawful eviction, child support, consumer scams, school lunch, predatory lending and much more.

The legal aid program, which represents a miniscule portion of the governments projected $4tn budget, is one of many small but mighty programs flagged for elimination in Trumps draft budget. Others include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Americorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Critics of the cuts point out that they wont budge the deficit but would erode quality of life and threaten the most vulnerable.

The possible legal aid cuts would come at a time when potentially softer enforcement by the Trump administration of laws to punish domestic violence, protect Americans with disabilities and combat discriminatory housing practices could create a spike in demand, said Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, a fellow at the Center for American Progress who has written on the issue.

Weve already gotten an indication that theyre probably going to cut grants for domestic violence cases, VAWA-related grants, and thats one of the biggest categories that legal aid grantees use, Buckwalter-Poza said, referring to the Violence Against Women Act. This is a huge blow to women in particular, and thats devastating.

And whats so disturbing about the potential for the administration to eliminate LSC altogether is that at the same time, you have a Department of Justice thats probably not going to enforce the types of legislation on the governments side that supplements private action, like the Fair Housing Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act. And at the same time that theyre going to stop doing that, people are going to have fewer options for seeking out free legal assistance.

Linda Klein, president of the American Bar Association, the lawyers organization, said that the Legal Services Corporation assured access to justice for all, the very idea that propelled our nation to independence.

Our nations core values are reflected in the LSCs work in securing housing for veterans, freeing seniors from scams, serving rural areas when others wont, protecting battered women, helping disaster survivors back to their feet, and many others, Klein said in a statement. Thirty cost-benefit analyses all show that legal aid returns far more benefits than costs to communities across America.

The legal services corporation was created by a 1974 law, signed by Richard Nixon, acknowledging a need to provide equal access to the system of justice in our nation. The corporation helped an estimated 1.8m people in 2013, 70% of them women living near or below the poverty line. But studies indicate that legal aid offices turn away about 50% of clients in need owing to a lack of resources.

Trumps proposed budget is not all or even mostly cuts. It emerged on Tuesday that the president had directed the Department of Homeland Security to hire 10,000 more customs and immigration agents. Trump has vowed to build a border wall costing billions and to ramp up military spending.

Trumps recently confirmed budget director, Mick Mulvaney, twice co-sponsored legislation as a member of Congress from South Carolina to abolish the Legal Services Corporation. Mulvaney told a home-state newspaper this week that he was about to become the most hated man in Washington.

Republicans going back to Ronald Reagan have opposed funding for the Legal Services Corporation and related funding, arguing in part that it was not the governments responsibility to cover legal costs. As a 1973 federal racial discrimination lawsuit against Donald Trump and his real estate company illustrated, however, legal proceedings can be crucial to protecting American freedoms and rights against unsavory actors.

These are obviously critical, livelihood-related, day-to-day issues for people who certainly cant afford a lawyer on their own, Buckwalter-Poza said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/21/trump-draft-budget-legal-aid-low-income

Angela Davis’ Women’s March speech: ‘this countrys history cannot be deleted’

Read the full transcript of her powerful address made on Saturday in Washington DC

At a challenging moment in our history, let us remind ourselves that we the hundreds of thousands, the millions of women, trans people, men and youth who are here at the Womens March, we represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again.

We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages. We know that we gather this afternoon on indigenous land and we follow the lead of the first peoples who despite massive genocidal violence have never relinquished the struggle for land, water, culture, their people. We especially salute today the Standing Rock Sioux.

The freedom struggles of black people that have shaped the very nature of this countrys history cannot be deleted with the sweep of a hand. We cannot be made to forget that black lives do matter. This is a country anchored in slavery and colonialism, which means for better or for worse the very history of the United States is a history of immigration and enslavement. Spreading xenophobia, hurling accusations of murder and rape and building walls will not erase history.

No human being is illegal.

The struggle to save the planet, to stop climate change, to guarantee the accessibility of water from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, to Flint, Michigan, to the West Bank and Gaza. The struggle to save our flora and fauna, to save the air this is ground zero of the struggle for social justice.

This is a womens march and this womens march represents the promise of feminism as against the pernicious powers of state violence. An inclusive and intersectional feminism that calls upon all of us to join the resistance to racism, to Islamophobia, to antisemitism, to misogyny, to capitalist exploitation.

Yes, we salute the fight for 15. We dedicate ourselves to collective resistance.

Resistance to the billionaire mortgage profiteers and gentrifiers.

Resistance to the healthcare privateers.

Resistance to the attacks on Muslims and on immigrants.

Resistance to attacks on disabled people.

Resistance to state violence perpetrated by the police and through the prison-industrial complex.

Resistance to institutional and intimate gender violence, especially against trans women of color.

Womens rights are human rights all over the planet and that is why we say freedom and justice for Palestine. We celebrate the impending release of Chelsea Manning. And Oscar Lpez Rivera. But we also say free Leonard Peltier. Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Free Assata Shakur.

Over the next months and years we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations. Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out.

The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music.

This is just the beginning and in the words of the inimitable Ella Baker: We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes. Thank you.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/22/angela-davis-womens-march-speech-countrys-history-cannot-be-deleted

Donald’s misogyny problem: How Trump has repeatedly targeted women

Female politicians, journalists and actors have faced his verbal abuse, but the sexual allegations cause the greatest disquiet

Donald Trumps apology for the latest in a string of controversial comments about women came as no surprise to the political strategist and fellow Republican Ana Navarro. He is not fit to be the president, he is not fit to be the Republican nominee, he is not fit to be called a man, Navarro said on CNN. How many times does he get away with saying something misogynistic before we call him a misogynist? How many times does he get away with saying something sexist before we acknowledge that he is a sexist? It is time to condemn the man.

Ana Navarro (@ananavarro)

Trump’s a racist. Bigot. Misogynist. Boasts of grabbing a woman’s pussy. What the hell else do GOP leaders need to renounce this guy? What??

October 8, 2016

Navarro was not the only one to point to Trumps long history of seemingly misogynistic comments, and while the campaign tried to regain its footing this weekend, spectators revisited some of his most appalling outbursts: fat pigs, slobs and disgusting animals.

Having said in the 1990s that it did not matter what the media said about him as long as youve got a young and beautiful piece of ass, Trumps attitude appears to have remained unchanged during his bid for the Oval Office. Take, for instance, his attacks on the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who grilled him over previous accusations of sexism. Trump called her a bimbo who was incapable of objectivity when there was blood coming out of her whatever – widely interpreted as a thinly veiled reference to her menstrual cycle.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

@timjcam: @megynkelly @FrankLuntz @realDonaldTrump Fox viewers give low marks to bimbo @MegynKelly will consider other programs!”

August 7, 2015

Other biological processes of women to have offended Trump include the need to take a toilet break – Clinton was branded disgusting for doing so during a Democratic debate – and breastfeeding a baby – opposing lawyer Elizabeth Beck was also disgusting for requesting a break to breastfeed her three-month-old daughter during a 2011 hearing over a failed Florida real estate project in which Trump was involved.

Trump has regularly targeted Arianna Huffington, the editor and co-founder of the Huffington Post, as being unattractive both inside and out. When the New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote about rumours of his bankruptcy, he sent her a copy of her own article with her picture circled and the face of a dog! written across it. More recently, when his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with battery for yanking Michelle Fields arm as she tried to ask questions, Trump was quick to accuse the reporter of changing her story.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

.@ariannahuff is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.

August 28, 2012

He has also maintained a brutal verbal campaign against comedian Rosie ODonnell. In 2006, during an appearance on Entertainment Tonight, Trump said she was disgusting, both inside and out. If you take a look at her, shes a slob. How does she even get on television? If I were running The View, Id fire Rosie. Id look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers and say, Rosie, youre fired. Were all a little chubby but Rosies just worse than most of us.

The verbal assault did not stop there, as he continued to attack her personal life and offend the LGBT community at the same time: Rosies a person whos very lucky to have her girlfriend. And she better be careful or Ill send one of my friends over to pick up her girlfriend. Why would she stay with Rosie if she had another choice? he said.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

@ForeverMcIn: @realDonaldTrump how much would it take for you to make out with Rosie O’Donnell?” One trillion, at least!

March 2, 2013

Of Angelina Jolie, Trump said: I do understand beauty, and shes not. Of the breakup of actor Anna Hathaways marriage to Rafaella Follierei following his financial and legal troubles, he said: So when he had plenty of money, she liked him. But then after that, not as good, right? And after the singer Chers criticism of Mitt Romney, he promised not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didnt work.

Nor have Trumps fellow politicians and their spouses been spared from the line of fire. He questioned whether anyone would vote for Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard boss and his Republican candidate rival, stating: Look at that face Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?

There was a major fallout after he insulted the appearance of Heidi Cruz, a partner at Goldman Sachs bank and the wife of his leading opponent Ted, by re-tweeting a supporters split-screen image featuring an unflattering picture of Heidi next to a shot of Trumps wife, Melania, a former model, from a GQ magazine photoshoot in 2000. A picture is worth a thousand words, the post said.

On policy issues, Trump was forced into a quick retreat after advocating some form of punishment for women who had abortions if the procedure became illegal. He previously supported the pro-choice lobby, but he has since said he believes individual states should be granted the right to ban the practice, except in cases of rape, incest or when the womans life is at stake.

Verbal indiscretions aside, perhaps what many fear most is the more serious allegations about Trumps conduct towards women. Jill Harth, a woman at the centre of sexual assault allegations against the billionaire, spoke for the first time in July about her personal experience with him. The makeup artist has accused Trump in a lawsuit of cornering and groping her in his daughters bedroom. She told the Guardian that she stood by her charges, which her lawyers described in the lawsuit as attempted rape.

Shortly after Trump announced his bid for president it emerged that his first wife, Ivana, had alleged in testimony during their divorce that he had raped her in 1989. When the allegation resurfaced in the Daily Beast, a lawyer and aide to Trump told a reporter that the claim was moot because you cannot rape your spouse. In a statement issued through Trumps lawyers, Ivana later said she did not want rape to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/08/trumps-misogyny-problem-how-donald-has-repeatedly-targeted-women

Trump forms anti-abortion coalition and would ban public funding for procedure

Republican nominee hired Marjorie Dannenfelser, one of the nations top anti-abortion activists, to chair coalition of conservative, anti-abortion rights leaders

Donald Trump on Friday named one of the nations top anti-abortion activists to his campaign coalition, in the clearest signal yet that the presidential candidate has fully embraced Republicans typically harsh stance against abortion.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B Anthony List, a group that works to elect Republican, anti-abortion women, will chair the loose coalition of conservative, anti-abortion rights leaders who are working to elect the Republican nominee. Trumps campaign also announced that he would commit to a law banning public funding of abortion.

The appointment is a sharp about-face for both Dannenfelser, formerly one of Trumps most vocal critics, and the Republican presidential nominee. Although he has espoused harsh anti-abortion positions, Trump has nevertheless spent much of the campaign out of step with the anti-abortion establishment praising Planned Parenthood and, conversely, calling for the punishment of women who have abortions illegally.

In response, anti-abortion groups have sometimes accused Trump of being ignorant of their positions.

On Friday, Dannenfelser signaled that her group considered Trumps policies to be wholly in line with the anti-abortion movements priorities. Trump doubled down [on his] commitments to the pro-life movement, Dannenfelser said. The contrast could not be clearer between the two tickets, and I am proud to serve as national chairwoman for Donald Trumps pro-life coalition.

The announcement is a further sign that Trump has succeeded in wooing social conservatives who once viewed the Manhattan real estate magnate with suspicion and chimes with his choice of Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, as his running mate. The former congressman is credited with drawing up the blueprint for the Republican partys crusade against Planned Parenthood.

Trump has only recently claimed to oppose abortion. In 1999, in his last public statement on abortion before he flirted with a presidential run, Trump proclaimed himself to be very pro-choice. He first declared he was pro-life in 2011 at an annual conservative confab.

During the Republican primaries, Dannenfelser was one of the loudest voices to oppose Trump, calling on Iowa caucus-goers in a January letter to support anyone but Donald Trump. We are disgusted by Mr Trumps treatment of individuals, women, in particular, the letter read. Trump has through the years made disparaging public comments to and about many women.

Reproductive rights groups immediately condemned Marjorie Dannenfelsers addition to Trumps campaign. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

Her comments came as Trump repeatedly equivocated on abortion rights and one of the anti-abortion movements most cherished goals, the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood.

A little more than a year ago, Trump said he could not commit to defunding Planned Parenthood without weighing whether the group was good for women. Trump later committed to stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood because I am pro-life in a February primary debate. But he added that he admired Planned Parenthoods work on reproductive health, saying: Millions of millions of women cervical cancer, breast cancer are helped by Planned Parenthood.

A month later, Trump said he would support some form of punishment for women who have abortions if the procedure were illegal, comments that anti-abortion groups criticized as out of step with their mission. In April, he further angered anti-abortion groups by saying he believed abortion should remain legal. The laws are set, he said. And I think we have to leave it that way.

His campaign in both cases quickly sought to undercut his comments, claiming the candidate believed in punishment only for abortion providers and saying Trump would appoint anti-abortion nominees to the supreme court.

In Fridays announcement, Trump committed for the first time to signing the Hyde amendment into law. The amendment is an annual budget rider that prohibits federal Medicaid funding from paying for abortion services. Making the amendment law is the strictest position Trump has staked out on abortion funding, although it is not surprising. Trump, in a January opinion column, called public funding for abortion an insult to people of conscience.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, in an apparent first for a major party candidate, has promised to repeal Hyde.

Reproductive rights groups immediately condemned Dannenfelsers addition to Trumps campaign.

Lets be clear: just like Donald Trump, Susan B Anthony List hasnt done a thing to empower women and everything to advance an extreme agenda that aims to entirely end womens access to abortion in America, often even for survivors of rape, incest, and women whose health is endangered, said Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, a reproductive rights group.

Between his support from the dangerously similar anti-choice and alt-right movements, and his record of misogyny, we know Donald Trump will be a disaster for women in the White House.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/16/donald-trump-abortion-coalition-public-funding-planned-parenthood

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