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Letter To Editor, Opinion Pieces Discuss Potential Implications Of Mexico City Policy Reinstatement, Expansion

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: The Gag Rule, Expanded
José Luis Castro, president and chief executive of Vital Strategies

“‘Supersizing’ the global gag rule to defund organizations with family planning activities not funded by the United States will render the world, and America, more vulnerable to the next global pandemic. … No country is a public health island, and Zika, Ebola, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, or the next health threat will not stop at America’s shores. These health crises must be stopped at the source by strong health systems and smart policies before they balloon out of control. The United States funds some of this critical work; defunding it because an organization’s brief may include family planning with abortion services is shortsighted. Even if one is not swayed by the strong evidence that comprehensive reproductive health services are critical for women’s health and for societies, supersizing the global gag rule threatens America’s security and may harm the global economy and stability if a pandemic should strike. We urge the administration to rescind this ill-advised rule” (2/9).

Huffington Post: Trump’s Expanded Global Gag Order Is Dangerously Restrictive
Jacquelyn Corley, Duke neurosurgery resident, global health advocate, and health care journalist

“…According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the Mexico City policy specifically targets organizations that provide abortions, but it also restricts reproductive health NGOs from providing advice and information about abortion, offering referrals for abortions, promoting policy changes or lobbying for legislation that promotes abortion, or conducting public information campaigns about abortion. … In 2003, President George W. Bush assured funds given to address other issues separate from family planning services would be secure, stating in his Mexico City policy memorandum funding for global HIV/AIDS programs and multilateral organizations that are associations of governments would not be at risk. With [President] Trump’s additions, however, all U.S. global health assistance, not just funds focused on family planning, must now comply with the order, KFF reports. … [F]unding is needed for reproductive health in developing nations and … any policy that limits foreign health aid is potentially destructive. Should the current global gag order remain in effect, its large scope will reach beyond reproductive health issues, making it likely there will be unnecessary and preventable deaths. This tragedy can and should be avoided…” (2/9).

New York Times: How the Trump Gag Rule Threatens Women’s Lives in Nepal
Subina Shrestha, journalist, filmmaker, and Nieman fellow at Harvard

“…As soon as abortion became legal in Nepal [in 2002], the Family Planning Association of Nepal, the largest organization providing contraceptives, lost part of its American funding [because of President George W. Bush’s reinstatement of the Mexico City policy]. It was doing pioneering work in expanding awareness of reproductive health and contraceptive use in Nepal. FPAN refused to renounce counseling or referrals on abortion. It was forced to lay off 60 health workers and give up its mobile health clinics on reproductive health in rural areas, and its capacity to provide contraceptives was substantially impaired. The group didn’t use American funds for abortion or abortion counseling, but it worked with government hospitals and clinics that provided the procedure. … In 2015, [FPAN] received a USAID grant of more than $5 million spread over four years. The grant helped [FPAN] train more than 80 health workers in three districts. They were to go from house to house to educate people on family planning, set up health camps, and screen for sexually transmitted infections and uterine cancer. If the Trump administration withholds funding, the program won’t take off. American aid has made a very valuable contribution to women’s health, but these policy reversals undermine it. Nepali women’s welfare is vulnerable to the whims of each new administration…” (2/9).

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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.