Monday, August 7, 2017 | News

What are the ‘foreseeable harms’ of the Trump global gag rule? A commentary looks at the evidence

Under President Trump’s expanded Global Gag Rule, U.S. government agencies have been directed 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.

A new, detailed examination of the gag rule’s likely impact by Ipas
Senior Policy Advisor Patty Skuster and George Washington University
Associate Professor Jeffrey B. Bingenheimeralso points toward even more extensive and damaging effects in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Writing in a forthcoming commentary in the journal Family Planning Studies, Skuster and Bingenheimer say that impacts of the expanded gag rule are likely to include:

  • Increased maternal and child deaths and illnesses
  • Reduced economic growth and social development in affected countries
  • Other wide-ranging effects, including the possibility of “a lost
    opportunity to bring the HIV epidemics of Southern and Eastern Africa
    under control.”

Noting that the gag rule has been the subject of discussion in the
popular media as well as academic journals, the authors say their
commentary is the first to identify the global commitments that will be
strained by the rule and to examine the scientific evidence on its
effects. With respect to impacts specifically on women’s reproductive
health, Skuster says, “the crucial work of governments and NGOs toward
meeting international commitments to reduce unsafe abortion, increase
access to contraception and abortion, and decriminalize abortion will be

An “early view” of the full commentary is available here.

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