The Gag Rule Has Been Reinstated And It’s Posing A Serious Danger For Women

Under Trump’s new administration, we are backtracking to the 50’s. It seems as if women’s rights are far too often put into the wrong hands; the hands of white male authoritative figures. Women’s reproductive rights are at jeopardy and the world is potentially becoming more unsafe for women than ever before.

The Global Gag Rule, first initiated during the Reagan-era and also known as the “Mexico City Policy” in 1984 has been reinstalled by Donald Trump as of Monday, January 23. The executive order requires foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive certain kinds of American aid not have anything to do with abortion or their funds will be cut off. Countries providing any accommodations whatsoever for abortion health, even if it’s legal in their country are forbidden American aid for their health facilities. From physical abortion procedures to abortion health counseling and discussion, organizations that fail to meet these conditions put their U.S. financial health ties (which includes essential supplies of contraceptives) at risk. While it can not put a complete stop to abortion, it will unquestionably make abortion less safe. Strictly speaking, thousands of lives worldwide are at stake and women have officially lost access to safe abortion and birth control, which is nothing new.

From the beginning, the public was made well-aware of Trump’s intentions to tackle abortion. He declared he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would willingly nullify Roe v. Wade without hesitation. Reinstating The Global Gag Rule is just the first step in proving how  serious he truly is about it. Actually, his actions have gone beyond a simple reinstatement. Trump has amped up the policy so that rather than just shunning those countries that condone abortion, Trump has applied the rule to all other global health funding. CEO/ President Suzanne Ehlers, of the global reproductive health organization PAI, has put Trump’s rule in a simpler words stating, “the new rule means that rather than impacting $600 million in U.S. foreign aid, the global gag rule will affect $9.5 billion.” This extension is a colossal slap in the face to everyone who has recently taken the streets in women’s marches nationwide.

Though in the past the Gag Rule was intended to weed out abortion providers and facilities, it has consequently affected women and their families in measures having nothing to do with abortion. According to EngenderHealth Media Center,  “from 2001 to 2009, 20 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East lost U.S.-donated contraceptives, and many organizations and clinics were forced to reduce services, lay off staff, or shut down entirely.” In doing such research, EngenderHealth has also concluded that in Nepal, Kenya, and Zambia in particular, the Global Gag Rule affected HIV services, family planning, Malaria services, and  maternal and child health at large. In none of these locations did the rule curtail abortions either. Ironically, the policy gave rise to an increase in unwanted pregnancies.

Trump’s Global Gag Rule is imposing a dramatic increase in the number and type of foreign assistance programs that fall under these restrictions, subsequently directing aim at all other global health assistance. Without protesting and raising our voices higher and stronger than ever before we are looking at a dangerous world for both the women of America and across the world. As concluded by Gender Health’s Policy Brief of February 2017, the projected impact of Trump’s GGR is as follows: “6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions, 21,700 maternal deaths, a halt to the introduction of new, effective contraceptive options, ceasing the provision of family planning services in over 600 ministry of health sites, and an end of funding  for voluntary family planning consultations and services for young people, including girls living with HIV and AIDS.” So if you thought this didn’t affect, men, women, or anyone in between, think again and stand up to the injustice facing our women at home and abroad.