The Trump administration on Thursday revoked an Obama-era policy allowing pregnant women to dress up for the annual White House Christmas pageant, citing concerns that some dressing-up outfits might cause “distress and/or harm to other members of the public.”
The policy, which was announced in February, had allowed pregnant women who had had previous abortions to dress as Santa and elves, and those who had no children or are expecting them to dress in their costumes.
The policy had been rolled out under President Barack Obama’s administration to promote women’s health and to help promote diversity.
“Pregnant individuals who have been pregnant are not entitled to be permitted to dress or present as Santa, elves, princesses, or any other person or thing,” White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.
The new policy “offers an opportunity for individuals to dress and present as their favorite characters from Disney, the Harry Potter franchise, and other popular media,” Walters added.
The administration’s decision to revoke the policy came just days after the White House said it was taking “active steps” to combat the “spread of misinformation about pregnancy.”
The administration announced in January that it would be issuing guidelines for employees, vendors and venues to ensure the safety of pregnant women.
The guidance said pregnant women should not be allowed to participate in “vending activities that may be perceived as sexually provocative, or activities that promote pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases,” and that pregnant women “should not be permitted in costumes or other settings where there is a likelihood of bodily harm or injury.”
Trump also ordered the Department of Justice to investigate how many pregnant women had been harmed by anti-abortion demonstrators, and the department has launched a review of its policy.
The White House has previously called the policy a “total waste of time and taxpayer money,” and has pledged to repeal it.