The press has been all over Donald Trump. They have called out lie after lie, from stories about fake massacres in Sweden to spy gadgets in microwaves. Still, some things slip by with relatively no coverage.
Trump recently reinstituted the Mexico City or Global Gag Rule in January. This is not particularly big news since every Republican administration renews this rule, and every Democratic administration rescinds it.
For decades, since Ronald Reagan finalized the rule in 1984, it has stated that no funding will be given from U.S. federal funds for family planning services to non-governmental organizations that counsel women to have abortions or that provide abortions. This rule applies to any health organization that the U.S. sends funding to, worldwide.
The really messed up thing about what happened in January 2017 is that Trump expanded that rule. Instead of only threatening family planning funding if an organization does not comply with anti-abortion regulations, the rule now states that the entire organization will lose funding if they don’t comply.
As Women’s Rights student, Laura Wilson of The Evergreen State College, points out, “This ruling restricts funds to any non-governmental organization from offering services or even suggesting the option of abortion to patients. These organizations provide things like contraceptive care, HIV prevention/treatment, maternal health screenings, screenings for the Zika virus, malaria, tuberculosis, nutrition education, and child health immunizations among many other things and they used to provide information about safe abortion care.” She also reminds us that, “the U.S. is the largest funder of global health programs worldwide, and with the disruption of this aid, millions will suffer.”
According to Guttmacher Institute, developing regions and countries have the largest number of unsafe abortions. These regions are also the ones with the highest levels of abortion restriction. Guttmacher states that in 2012, 6.9 million women were treated for complications from unsafe abortions in these areas. In 2014, the annual cost of providing post-abortion care in developing countries was $232 million. Almost all abortion-related deaths occur in developing countries, with the highest number of deaths occurring in Africa. Recent studies estimate that 8–18% of maternal deaths worldwide are due to unsafe abortion.
An estimated 225 million women (who have 81% of unintended pregnancies) in developing regions have an unmet need for modern contraceptives. That is, they want to avoid a pregnancy but are either not using contraception or are using traditional methods, which can have high failure rates. Meeting the unmet need for contraception is an important strategy for reducing unintended pregnancies, abortions and unplanned births.
These are responsibilities that the U..S has partially shouldered via programs like USAID which distributes money internationally to agencies like the International Planned Parenthood Federation since President Obama took office. Under the Trump administration, the programs are completely defunded both internationally and domestically. Yep, you read that right.
That means that there is no need for the language included in the new healthcare legislation to defund when NGOs like Planned Parenthood here in the United States. This has already been accomplished through the Trump version of the Global Gag Rule.
He kinda snuck that one under the table didn’t he?
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