Trump Moves to Restrict Access to Reproductive Health Care Worldwide
By Planned Parenthood Action Fund | Jan. 23, 2017, 6:52 p.m.
Category: Abortion Access, Health Care Equity
By reinstating the global gag rule as one of his first actions in office, Donald Trump has put politics over women’s lives — as a result, some of the world's most vulnerable women will suffer.
It's unacceptable: In one of his very first actions in office, president Donald Trump reinstated the global gag rule. The policy prohibits international organizations from receiving U.S. family planning funding if they provide, lobby, counsel, or just refer for abortion services. The global gag rule prohibits these activities even if organizations carry them out with their own, non-U.S. funding, and even if abortion is legal in their own country.
By reinstating this cruel, dangerous rule, President Trump has put politics over women’s lives. Trump's action will have far-reaching impact for women and girls around the world, and it is a stark warning about what may be in store for women in America.
But anti-abortion leaders are on notice: As the millions of women who marched this weekend made clear, the American people will not stand for attacks on women’s health and rights.
How the Global Gag Rule Hurts Women Worldwide
In short, the global gag rule will cause clinic closures around the world. Those closures will result in more unintended pregnancy, and more unsafe abortion — not less. In turn, the world’s most vulnerable women will suffer as a direct result of this policy.
When in place, the global gag rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) has had enormous and harmful impacts on women’s lives:
- In many communities, the most experienced providers of women’s health care were cut off — sometimes, the only provider of any essential health care in their community and clinics were shut down.
- It also stifled the free speech of doctors and of advocates in the country and weakened civil society.
- Multiple studies have come out looking at the impact of the global gag rule and they have found that the primary impact is lost access to contraceptives, and in turn, increased rates of abortion — which are primarily unsafe.
That's why the Planned Parenthood Federation of America joined nearly 140 diverse organizations on an open statement opposing the global gag rule.
Politicians should not stand between a woman and her doctor, neither in the U.S. nor anywhere else in the world. And U.S. foreign assistance should not be held hostage to politicians’ personal beliefs, as it is under the global gag rule — especially when those beliefs interfere with U.S. values such as promoting human rights, international development, democracy and free speech.—Planned Parenthood Global Executive Director Latanya Mapp Frett
Undercutting Years of Progress
The global gag rule threatens to undermine years of efforts to improve women’s health worldwide. The timing of this policy reinstatement is particularly devastating because global family planning programs are working. U.S. assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs for FY 2016 would:
- Ensure contraceptive services and supplies for 27 million women and couples;
- Help avert six million unintended pregnancies;
- Help avert 11,000 maternal deaths; and
- Help avert 2.3 million abortions, the vast majority of which are unsafe.
However, by reinstating the global gag rule President Trump threatens to undercut years of progress by disqualifying many of the most experienced family planning providers from funding. That means the lives of some of the most vulnerable women and girls will once again be at risk.
“At Planned Parenthood, we will continue to work with our partners around the globe to help provide access to sexual and reproductive health. All people deserve to live healthy lives, no matter who they are or where they live – that’s what we’ll keep fighting to achieve at Planned Parenthood.”
—Latanya Mapp Frett
Access to Abortion Is An American Value
When asked about Trump’s signing of an executive order reinstating the global gag rule, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wrongly claimed that opposition to abortion was an “American value.” He also incorrectly characterized what the global gag rule does.
“This may be news for Sean Spicer, but access to safe, legal abortion is an American value. In addition, the global gag rule has nothing to do with funding for abortion, something already restricted by unfair federal law. What the rule does is prohibit international organizations from even mentioning abortion or providing information to women. ”
—Planned Parenthood Federation of America Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens
The policy also sends a false message around the world that the U.S. is against abortion rights above all else — a stance with which many Americans disagree. In fact, record high numbers — nearly 7 out of 10 Americans — support access to safe, legal abortion. Nearly 1 in 3 women in America will have an abortion in her lifetime.
Background to the Global Gag Rule
To be clear: The global gag rule does not block taxpayer funds for organizations overseas to provide abortion — that is already prohibited by the Hyde Amendment and the the Helms Amendment.
Specifically, the Helms Amendment prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds for the performance of abortion “as a method of family planning.” That means the Helms Amendment unfairly restricts women in some of the poorest countries in the world from accessing vital, lifesaving health care they need.
The global gag rule needlessly and devastatingly goes further by barring international organizations from U.S. family planning funding if they mention or provide information about abortion, or even refer for abortion services. In the end, the global gag rule forces health care providers to chose between U.S. family planning assistance and the ability to counsel and provide clients on abortion.
Take Action & Spread the Word
It's time to end the global gag rule for good. If you're on twitter, follow @ppglobe and retweet this message:
Tags: Abortion, Donald Trump, global gag, mexico city policy