Global gag rule expansion plan will be disastrous for women

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

photo with hashtag #trumpglobalgag

On Monday, 15 May, 2017, the U.S. State Department announced a plan for implementing President Trump’s expanded Global Gag Rule. The announced plan directs government agencies to apply an unprecedented global anti-abortion policy that will require foreign NGOs to choose between receiving U.S. funding and providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.

Under the expanded policy, “global health assistance” will include funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health.

“The Global Gag Rule will be disastrous for the world’s most vulnerable women. The U.S. government’s actions will result in an increase the number of unintended pregnancies. Even more women will die from unsafe abortion as the Trump administration cripples organizations that serve women who need abortion care,” says Ipas’s Senior Legal Advisor Patty Skuster.

The expanded Global Gag Rule will affect roughly $8.8 billion in U.S. global health assistance and targets the most effective health organizations in 60 low and middle income countries. Without funding these organizations won't be able to provide HIV prevention, care and treatment services, provide integrated maternal health care with contraceptive services, counsel women on their potential risks of Zika infection among others. Humanitarian assistance is excluded.

“We have made so much progress over the past several decades toward a world where every woman can exercise her right to safe abortion care. Ipas will continue to work in partnership with governments and local groups around the world to promote women’s access to abortion,” says Skuster.

“This policy totally ignores the lived experiences of women in the global south and truly threatens women’s health and lives,” she adds.