On the 23rd January, two days after the global Women’s March that emphasised the importance of the rights of every kind of woman, President Trump, along with seven other men (if you had assumed they were all white, you would be correct. Who could think otherwise??), signed an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, or, as it is otherwise known, the Mexico City Policy.
The policy was first introduced into American law by Ronald Reagan in 1984 and is, in its essentials, a foreign aid ban on any non-governmental organisation offering, or supposedly “promoting”, abortions. Since then, the policy has been lifted by any democratic Presidents and reinstated by any Republican presidents, so it came as no surprise to many when its reimplementation was announced and we knew from his campaign that his presidency would be pro-life, although there has still been a considerable public backlash.
Such a policy would always be detrimental globally, by cutting funds to many organisations and harming the sexual and maternal healthcare given to the women who need it most. However, Trump has taken the traditional Republican policy further. He has expanded the funding cut to $9.5 billion as opposed to the usual $600 million, according to the Population Action International. Trump’s version of the Global Gag attacks a wider range of healthcare. If the organisation offers something even vaguely involved with abortion services and does not provide actual abortions, it will receive no US funding. This order will affect HIV/AIDS treatment, contraception distribution, maternal health care, family planning (including organisations such as IPPF, who support people in over 180 countries), vaccinations, etc., which will harm the health of those living in low and middle income countries, including men, but particularly that of women and children.
Banning abortions, or attempting to limit access to them in places where they are legal, does not prevent abortions from taking place. Banning abortions only increases the number of illegal abortions taking place, with further threats to women’s lives and health becoming a consequence of that.
I have a read a lot about this issue, including articles from The Hill, The Guardian, Vox and Amnesty International among others. I would advise anyone and everyone to educate themselves on the policies Trump is implementing to understand how everyone is affected and how to combat the changes he is putting forward.
If you liked this post you might like: 5 Ways You Can Stand Up to Trump