Today, one of President Donald Trump’s first acts in office was to sign an executive order reinstating the Gag Rule, which had been reversed by Obama eight years ago. The Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, puts a ban on federal funding to organizations that literally do something as simple as mentioning abortion to the people they serve.
Clearly, Trump’s move to reinstate the policy is huge for women, but not in a good way. This means access to safe abortions and abortion education will be severely limited, since U.S. dollars can’t be used for abortion-related services. Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), commented on how costly it will be to women’s lives:
“Women’s health and rights are now one of the first casualties of the Trump administration. The global gag rule has been associated with an increase in unsafe abortions and we expect that Trump’s global gag rule will cost women their lives.”
Around the world, about 47,000 women die as a result of unsafe abortions each year–that’s a lot of lives that could be saved if it were only for better and safer access. As of now, the U.S. government is the world’s largest donor to global health programs–which is great except that with the new policy, it could severely limit other countries’ access to safe abortions, thus costing more women’s lives.
Here’s a short history lesson: The Global Gag Rule was first signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, then reversed by President Bill Clinton, then re-introduced by President George W. Bush. After Bush’s reinstatement, the U.S. stopped providing aid to groups it said were violating the Gag Rule in 20 countries, which caused many clinics to close in general. It seems this will be happening again–and I personally don’t see how this is at all helpful to women and families in general.