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Mexico City Policy Could Fuel Extremism In Fragile Countries

TIME: The Connection Between the Global Gag Rule and Extremism
Elizabeth Weingarten, director of the Global Gender Parity Initiative at New America

“…[The Mexico City] policy will increase gender inequality. Gender inequality can fuel extremism. Extremism fuels terrorism. … Limiting access to reproductive health services impedes declines in women’s fertility in countries with large family sizes. Sustained high fertility can produce large populations of young people, which, combined with an absence of economic opportunities may, according to some analysts, be one of the best long-run predictors of state weakness, risk of civil conflict, and vulnerability to social unrest. … The Trump administration has claimed to prioritize fighting terrorism. Yet actions like the global gag rule perpetuate both gender inequality and destructive gender norms. They enable groups like ISIS to achieve one of their key objectives: dominating women, and controlling female bodies for their own use. As it prepares to implement further guidance for the Mexico City policy and to even potentially expand it, the White House can’t afford to ignore these potential consequences. If it doesn’t consider the interconnectedness of women’s rights, family planning, global health, and overall security, we are far more likely to lose the battle against extremists” (3/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.