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Trump’s Global Gag Rule: It’s Not Just About Abortion, It’s Women’s Health

Julia Grady
International women's health is at stake. Listen up.

Twenty-four hours after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal, Trump took matters of women’s health into his own hands. He reinstated the Global Gag Rule. It’s important to understand that while day to day politics, especially now, may be confusing, infuriating and often more than we can process, we must take the time to understand what is happening and how it affects us. This is our future, Metiza girls. We must be active participants in our own education and empowerment.

So, Trump’s Global Gag Rule. Let’s break this down:

What is it?
In 1984, Ronald Reagan created the Global Gag Rule. It forbid any family planning organization from receiving US aid if they performed abortion, supported abortion, or even mentioned abortion. Clinton repealed the rule, Bush reinstated it, Obama repealed it again, and now Trump is bringing it back. Not good. It gets worse.

How did Trump expand it?
Since Trump demolishes everything he gets his tiny hands on, he decided to give the gag rule even more influence. With Reagan and Bush, the gag rule only applied to foreign family planning organizations. This means International Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes International, Family Planning Association, and other international organizations that provide abortion as a main service. Now, Trump has expanded the rule to include all global health organizations.

Which organizations will suffer?
In addition to the family planning organizations that already suffered under the Gag Rule, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator will all suffer under Trump’s new policy. This is as bad as it sounds.

These organizations rely on US resources, funds, and expertise. Women will lose access to HIV/AIDS treatment, maternal health, children’s health, malaria, and more. Trump’s Gag Rule will also lead to an inevitable increase in unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, and death. Awesome. Glad the Trump administration has it’s priorities straight.

This impacts 15 times more funding than the original Reagan Gag Rule. Trump is playing the manipulation game on a different level, forcing these organizations to decide between resources and ethics.

The Global Gag Rule threatens to undermine years of effort 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 Fiscal Year 2016 would:
•   Ensure contraceptive services and supplies for 27 million women
•   Help avert six million unintended pregnancies
•   Help avert 11,000 maternal deaths
•   Help avert 2.3 million abortions, the 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.

Trump Global Gag Rule

Who was responsible for the decision?
Trump’s cabinet consists of the smallest amount of women and nonwhites since Reagan was elected in 1981. When making such an impactful decision regarding women’s rights, a photo (above) shows Trump surrounded by seven white males. When a decision that will have such a great impact on white women and women of color is made entirely by white men, there is a lack of authentic empathy and compassion involved in the decision-making process. The importance of women’s health can only truly be understood by a woman herself.

J.K. Rowling was one of many to condemn Trump’s executive order through Twitter:

Trump Gag Rule Rowling trump gag rule Planned Parenthood

There is a conspicuous paradox at play here. The intention behind the Global Gag Rule is to save lives through the restriction of abortion. But while attempting to do so, the it puts millions of lives at risk when vital health services become inaccessible.

Through this decision, the Trump Administration is sending the world a clear message about US priorities. That message says “America would rather put women in danger than give them the right to choose.”

Statistics and Cabinet image provide by Planned Parenthood.