Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump Resurrects the "Global Gag Rule"

On January 23, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, also known as the "global gag rule", CNN reports. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the Mexico City Policy forbids NGOs from promoting or performing abortion with non-U.S. funds, lest they lose U.S. global health assistance funds.

Different presidents have embraced or rescinded the Mexico City Policy based on their stance on abortion. The policy was first instituted by the Reagan administration, then upheld during George H. W. Bush's presidency. It was rescinded by President Bill Clinton in 1993, reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001, and rescinded again by President Obama. Now, under President Trump, the "global gag rule" has returned.

Reproductive rights advocates have long criticized the Mexico City Policy for burdening NGO health care providers, infringing on women's right to make informed reproductive decisions, and compelling women to seek out unsafe abortions. Trump's reinstatement of the "global gag rule" is yet another right-wing assault on women's reproductive freedoms.

NARAL Pro-Choice America wasted no time blasting Trump in a January 23rd press release.
"It's telling that one of Trump's first executive actions combines two of his favorite things: silencing anyone who disagrees with him and repressing women. Just two days after the historic Women’s March and one day after the anniversary of the historic decision in Roe v. Wade, Donald Trump's misguided priority is to reinstate the global gag rule, a policy that silences health workers at the expense of their patients. With this action, Donald Trump has turned his anti-women rhetoric into policy, and made it more difficult for women and families all over the world to access vital reproductive care. He really is living up to the lowest of expectations."
Latanya Mapp Frett, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global, accused Trump of jeopardizing women's lives. "President Trump’s actions will have far-reaching impact for women and girls around the world and is a stark warning about what may be in store for women here in America," she wrote in a January 23rd press release.
"By reinstating the global gag rule as one of his first actions in office, Donald Trump has put politics over women’s lives. The global gag rule will cause clinic closures around the world, resulting in more unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion, not less. The world’s most vulnerable women will suffer as a direct result of this policy, which threatens to undermine years of efforts to improve women’s health worldwide. 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.

Politicians should not stand between a woman and her doctor, neither here 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."
Predictably, the Religious Right was delighted. For example, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins praised Trump in a press release for resurrecting the policy.
"This is a vital step in the journey to make America great again, recognizing and affirming the universal ideal that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity, regardless of their age or nationality.

I thank President Trump for issuing an executive order in keeping with his campaign promise that he will protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions ... Family Research Council and the pro-life movement looks forward to continuing to work with the Trump administration in bringing about a culture of life in which every child is welcomed into this world and protected under our laws, both here and abroad."
Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance was also jubilant. In a recent press release, she applauded Trump's decision.
"On behalf of CWA’s nearly half a million members and pro-life women across the country, I want to thank President Trump for using one of his first executive orders to keep his promise to defend life.

Thank you for making sure our hard-earned tax dollars aren’t used to fund or promote abortions abroad. America has so much more to offer the world than death.

Over 80 percent of Americans want a ban on taxpayer funding of international abortions. President Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy is a powerful first step. We at Concerned Women for America look forward to working with the Trump Administration to ensure taxpayers are no longer forced to pay for abortions, period."
Cardinal Timoth Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was pleased that Trump took action against the "violent act of abortion".
"We applaud President Trump's action today to restore the Mexico City Policy, which withholds taxpayer funds from foreign non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas (often in violation of the host country's own laws). This is a welcome step toward restoring and enforcing important federal policies that respect the most fundamental human right—the right to life—as well as the long-standing, bi-partisan consensus against forcing Americans to participate in the violent act of abortion."
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser praised Trump for "continuing Ronald Reagan's legacy" and acting on his "pro-life priorities".
"President Trump is continuing Ronald Reagan’s legacy by taking immediate action on day one to stop the promotion of abortion through our tax dollars overseas ... President Trump’s immediate action to promote respect for all human life, including vulnerable unborn children abroad, as well as conscience rights, sends a strong signal about his Administration’s pro-life priorities."
It's going to get worse, folks. The Trump administration has already signaled its animosity toward women's reproductive rights in the U.S. and around the world, and they won't stop with the Mexico City Policy. For example, if H.R.7 (The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017) passes through the House and Senate, I expect Trump to sign it into law. If you care about reproductive freedom, pay attention, and speak out.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

The Atlantic: Trump Strikes at Abortion With a Revived Foreign-Aid Rule

Vox: Trump just reinstated the global gag rule. It won't stop abortion, but it will make it less safe.

Mother Jones: The House Is About to Hand a Big Win to the Anti-Abortion Movement

The Guardian: How the US global gag rule threatens health clinics across Kenya and Uganda


  1. I'm not surprised at this. Wait 'til we hear in the next day or so who he's nominating for SCOTUS. I read somewhere that his prospective list includes Judge William Pryor.

  2. Shaw -- Whoever Trump chooses as his Supreme Court nominees, they'll probably make our hair stand on end.

  3. Other rich countries that don't have these stupid religious taboos holding sway among large chunks of their populations need to provide more funding for these organizations so they aren't so dependent on the US. We can't have health care all over the Third World being repeatedly disrupted by the political vicissitudes of one country which comprises just 4% of the Earth's population.

    1. Infidel -- Fortunately, the Netherlands plans to do just that. Let's hope that other countries follow suit.



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