The Global Gag Rule – 2017 Update

Have you heard of the Global Gag Rule? Aptly named, it’s a piece of legislation that’s been repealed and replaced multiple times under different U.S. presidents. Similar to the current debate over health insurance coverage for birth control, the Global Gag Rule constitutes a decades-old debate between religious conservatives and the rest of the world.

So what exactly does the Global Gag Rule, otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy, entail? The legislation, recently reinstated by the Trump administration, denies funding to U.S. organizations that provide education and services related to abortion.

2017 isn’t the first time that we’ve seen this policy in the news. First enforced by the Reagan administration in 1984, it was overturned by President Clinton, then reintroduced by President Bush, then overturned again by President Obama. Although every iteration of the policy has had devastating effects on women, children, and men around the world, Trump’s version is particularly heinous. While the policy has affected less than a billion in U.S. funds in previous administrations, the current policy will restrict approximately $8.8 billion dedicated to global public health.

Complications related to childbirth are one of the leading causes of death for women across the world. According to the World Health Organization, “to avoid maternal deaths, it is also vital to prevent unwanted and too-early pregnancies. All women, including adolescents, need access to contraception, safe abortion services to the full extent of the law, and quality post-abortion care.”

And the gag rule doesn’t just affect women’s access to abortion services and family planning education—it touches funds used by organizations that provide medical aid for devastating diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.

The organizations who have been defunded by Trump’s executive order have literally saved millions of lives, and are supported by politicians and constituents on both sides of the political spectrum. One has to ask: Who stands to benefit from Trump’s global death mandate?

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