Reportedly, newest U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated a global gag rule on Monday (Jan. 23) that will ban U.S.-funded groups around the world from discussing abortion.
The rule, that was created under U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984, affects American non-governmental organizations that work abroad.
Trump, who is an abortion opponent, on his fourth day in office, signed the reinstatement directive at a ceremony in the White House. However, our former President Barack Obama lifted this same exact gag rule in 2009 when he took office.
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity in Washington, stated that, “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 not cost women their lives,” she said.
The far-reaching gag rule affects groups getting funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, even if they use separate money for abortion services, counseling, or referrals, advocates note.
Many sources from Trump’s camp spoke out in defense of the decision.
Nancy Northup, president of the U.S.-based Center for Reproductive Rights, also mentioned that, “It is appalling to dictate to civil society groups and health care providers how they can spend their own money and force them to withhold from women critical information about and access to the full range of reproductive health care.”
Brian Dixon of Population Connection Action Fund said that,
“The policy puts groups that provide women’s health care in an ‘untenable’ position, they can either accept the restriction to keep their funding or they can reject the restriction and lose their funding, either choice hurts the women that rely on them.”
Unfortunately, the rule has been tossed around more than once. The rule, having been established in 1984, was revoked by former President Bill Clinton when he took office in 1993, and former President George W. Bush reinstated it in 2001.
Women who are activists and leaders of groups are not pleased with this decision.
For instance, Ann Starrs, head of the Guttmacher Institute, a leading reproductive rights group, said, “Life-saving global health funding should not be a political football. In fact, by targeting funding for overseas family planning programs, it may well have the opposite effect by making it harder for many women to avoid unintended pregnancy, which in turn would increase recourse to unsafe procedures by women who cannot access safe abortion care.”
Socialites, are you educated about this gag rule? What are your thoughts…