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News Outlets Continue To Look At Potential Impacts Of Expanded Mexico City Policy On Women’s Health, AIDS Programs

Broadly: Trump’s Massive Expansion of the Global Gag Rule Will Kill Women, Advocates Warn
“…On Monday January 23, Trump signed an executive action that reinstated the global gag rule, just as Republican presidents have done for the past 30 years. However Trump took it a step — or rather, a flying leap — further by massively expanding the scope of the rule, and the impact will be catastrophic. Reproductive health advocates warn that millions of women could suffer and die as a result. … Due to [the Helms amendment], the U.S. government has maintained a de facto ban on funding abortion care with foreign assistance dollars for over forty years. Apparently this wasn’t sufficiently restrictive for conservative politicians, who found it necessary to police words as well. It’s worth noting that American NGOs are not required to make the same certifications because the policy violates the constitutional right to free speech. Foreign NGOs, on the other hand, are considered fair game…” (Grant, 1/25).

Devex: NGOs scramble to safeguard programs in wake of Trump’s expanded ‘global gag rule’
“…Trump’s Jan. 23 memorandum takes it further [than past applications of the Reagan-era policy], expanding on previous iterations by restricting funding to all [foreign] organizations that receive global health funding, rather than only family planning providers — potentially including maternal health programs, efforts to fight Zika, and the PEPFAR program to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS. With this addition, global health NGO PAI estimates the rule could impact $9 billion in U.S. funds, 15 times as much funding as it did under President George W. Bush. … Even though the move was widely expected, it still leaves foreign global health NGOs with two hard options: Continue to accept U.S. funds and be prohibited from providing abortion counseling, referrals, or engaging in advocacy efforts and from providing abortions outside of the three exceptions; or refuse U.S. funds and look for alternative sources of funding to keep health clinic doors open…” (Rogers, 1/25).

The Guardian: ‘Global gag rule’ could have dire impact in Latin America, activists warn
“…Not only will [the Mexico City policy] hit wider civil society programs, such as contraception provision and campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS, but aid workers, academics ,and activists warn it could also bolster political opposition to women’s reproductive rights. ‘This is very discouraging,’ said Mary Ellsberg, director of the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University. ‘It will have a chilling impact on the work done by U.S. organizations that work with Latin American women’s groups that advocate safe abortion. It also adds to the recent conservative backlash in the region, which has seen bans on all forms of abortion, including in cases of child rape and where the mother’s life is at risk. This will have a huge negative effect on maternal mortality’…” (Watts, 1/26).

Huffington Post Australia: There’s A Whole Lot At Risk With Donald Trump’s Executive Order On Abortion
“…Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop insists the Government ‘remains committed’ to the protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights in Australia’s foreign policy and aid program. A spokeswoman said, ‘the Foreign Minister has elevated the issue of gender equality in our foreign policy and aid program.’ Labor is calling on the Turnbull Government to lobby the Trump Administration to repeal the global gag rule…” (Barlow, 1/25).

New York Times: Clinics for World’s Vulnerable Brace for Trump’s Anti-Abortion Cuts
“…The wording in the Trump order extends the restrictions to all American global health aid, an $8.5 billion pot of money, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research organization. More than half of that money goes to programs for HIV and AIDS, including services for women of reproductive age, the analysis found. An additional nine percent goes to maternal and child health care, which is partly aimed at promoting safe pregnancies. By contrast, the last time the rule was in place, under President George W. Bush, it applied only to family planning money, an amount that is currently around $520 million, the analysis found…” (Searcey et al., 1/26).

New York Times: Q. and A.: How Trump’s Revival of an Abortion Ban Will Affect Women in Kenya
“…Caitlin Parks, a family planning fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, provides reproductive health services to women at clinics and a teaching hospital in western Kenya. Her clinics receive American funding, and she says that the ban, called by critics the global gag rule, could have a major impact on poor women and communities like the ones she serves…” (Ingber, 1/26).

SELF: Trump’s Global Gag Rule May Have Terrible Impact On HIV/AIDS Patients
“…Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a board-certified infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh and an affiliated scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security, tells SELF that this expansion will make it nearly impossible for global HIV/AIDS providers to be able to inform their clients of all of their options. ‘If someone becomes pregnant when they’re HIV-positive, you need to be able to talk about what the options are,’ he says. ‘When you inject something like the global gag rule into it, you’re automatically walling off certain avenues of discussion, and that makes it difficult to provide comprehensive care’…” (Miller, 1/25).

Washington Post: Does Trump’s Mexico City policy ban funds to groups that ‘even mention’ abortion?
“…Trump plans to reduce global aid overall. Draft executive orders obtained by the New York Times showed a termination of funding ‘for any United Nations agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria’ — including organizations that support programs that fund abortions. In general, the executive branch has broad discretion over foreign affairs and foreign aid. So in theory, Trump could decide to expand the policy to strip the previous exclusions (i.e., the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother) or even ban an organization that ‘even mentions abortion.’ But until the regulation is written and entered into the Federal Register, it would be pure conjecture to say how the policy will change under Trump…” (Lee, 1/26).

Yahoo Beauty: 8 Not-So-Obvious Ways the Global Gag Rule Can Harm Women
“…In response to Trump’s executive order, nearly 140 diverse advocacy organizations issued a joint open statement. ‘Countries around the world are making significant progress in improving women’s health,’ it said, ‘and the global gag rule undermines that momentum.’ … To break it down into eight points of harm…” (Uffalussy, 1/25).

Yahoo News: How global gag rule could have devastating effects for world’s most vulnerable women
“…MSI’s ability to provide health care in [Uganda’s] Kimombasa and throughout the world has been threatened now that President Trump, in one of his first moves as chief executive, reinstated the U.S.’s global gag rule, which bars foreign aid to any [foreign] NGO that offers abortion services, or even discusses abortion options, to its patients, ever. The rule is also known as the Mexico City policy, named after the host city of the U.N. International Conference on Population where the U.S. announced it in 1984…” (Conley, 1/25).

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