News Outlets Examine Possible Impacts Of Expanded Mexico City Policy On U.S. Global Health Aid, Women’s Health Worldwide

Associated Press/ABC News: Trump Expands Anti-Abortion Ban to All U.S. Global Health Aid
“…The order directs the secretary of state, in cooperation with the secretary of health and human services, for the first time to extend the requirements in the ban ‘to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.’ The ban is known as the Mexico City policy or global gag rule. Suzanne Ehlers, president of Washington-based Population Action International which lobbies in the U.S. and developing countries for women’s reproductive health, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that targeting health assistance expands the amount of U.S. funding affected by a magnitude of 15 times and will impact millions and millions of women in low- and middle-income countries…” (Lederer, 1/24).

Bustle: The Global Gag Rule Is Unconstitutional For Reasons That Have Nothing To Do With Abortion
“…Much has been said about how this is another example of the Trump administration’s war on women’s and reproductive rights. However, there is a point that is often overlooked: the global gag rule is also an affront to another fundamental American right, free speech. … If international family planning and health care NGOs want to receive funding from the United States — which is the largest bilateral donor to health care and family planning services in the world — they must agree not only to refrain from providing abortions in countries where it is safe and legal to do so, but they cannot refer women to other clinics for abortions, offer abortion counseling, or even provide literature on the topic. They also are barred from lobbying for pro-choice legislation in the countries in which they are working…” (Spychalsky, 1/24).

BuzzFeed News: Trump’s Anti-Abortion Rule Is Broader Than Anyone Expected
“…The Trump order applies to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, including the Bush-era PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program; some gender-based violence prevention programs; maternal and child health; nutrition; infectious diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases; and foreign projects of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. It’s unclear if the rule will affect the Global Fund for AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, which leads prevention globally on those diseases. The World Health Organization also receives U.S. funding that could impacted by the rule, but those funding streams are complicated, and a WHO spokesman said it was too soon to comment on whether or how it might be affected by the rule…” (Moore, 1/25).

BuzzFeed News: No, Trump Didn’t Ban U.S. Funds From Paying For Overseas Abortions
“…People thought that before the Trump policy, U.S. aid money was paying for abortions in foreign countries. … That’s just not true. U.S. foreign aid has two kinds of abortion-related restrictions on it. One is the global gag rule, which was first signed by Ronald Reagan in 1984. … The other restriction is the Helms Amendment, which is a U.S. law. It’s been around since 1973. The Helms Amendment prohibits U.S. foreign aid from being used to provide abortions, or to persuade women to get abortions, as a method of family planning. In practice, this policy is a steadfast no-abortion policy — with no exceptions, not even for rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. … Activists have been arguing that the language of the Helms Amendment should actually allow abortion services for rape survivors, because the amendment prohibits only ‘abortion as a method of family planning.’ Activists say abortions after rape, or when a pregnant woman’s life is in danger, cannot be considered family planning…” (Moore, 1/24).

CBS News: Trump expands anti-abortion ban to all U.S. global health aid
“…[Sen. Jeanne] Shaheen [D-N.H.] and Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, introduced legislation late Tuesday to repeal the global gag rule, with support from 43 other senators. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat. ‘Women’s reproductive health care remains under constant assault,’ Shaheen said, and Trump’s action has broadened the assault…” (1/24).

CNS News: International Planned Parenthood Will Lose U.S. Funds Because of Trump’s Pro-Life Policy
“The International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, two major beneficiaries of U.S. funding, indicated Monday they will not comply with a newly reinstated policy that prohibits federal funding for organizations that promote or perform abortions around the world…” (Goodenough, 1/24).

Devex: Impact of the global gag rule on health sector: Q&A with DKT International CEO Chris Purdy
“…Devex spoke with Christopher Purdy, CEO of [U.S.-based] DKT International — one of the largest private providers of family planning services and safe abortions overseas — to learn how the reinstatement of this policy will impact other health providers across the globe…” (Roby, 1/24).

The Guardian: ‘Global gag rule’ on abortion puts $9bn in health aid at risk, activists say
“…Campaigners fear the move could affect a wide range of groups providing lifesaving treatment, such as those working to combat HIV and Zika, as well as those helping prevent child and maternal deaths and unwanted pregnancies worldwide. … The U.S. is the most generous bilateral donor to reproductive rights causes worldwide — with current funding at $575m. What is still unclear is to what extent the gag rule will affect the U.S.’s wider global health funding, which the reproductive rights campaigners PAI estimate to be more than $9bn…” (McVeigh, 1/25).

International Business Times: Globally 14 pregnant women could die each day as consequence of Trump’s abortion-gag order
“… ‘In one breath the U.S. is telling my government to promote human rights and good governance. In the other breath it’s saying, take away the rights of women to know about all the issues that surround their reproductive health,’ explained Nkandu Luo, former health minister of Zambia, in an eight-minute documentary about the effect of the gag rule in the country produced by the reproductive health charity PAI…” (Persio, 1/24).

The Nation: Trump’s Anti-Abortion Order Is Actually Likely to Increase Abortions
“…MSI (which often works in unstable and emergency settings, such as in Nepal after the deadly 2015 earthquake) will lose $30 million, or about 20 percent of its annual budget. The organization estimates the shortfall could, during Trump’s first term, lead to 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions, 2.1 million unsafe abortions, and the deaths of 21,700 pregnant women…” (Carpenter, 1/23).

NBC News: Global Gag Rule Will Cause More Abortions, Not Fewer, Groups Say
“…Anti-abortion-rights groups welcomed the new order. ‘This is a welcome step toward restoring and enforcing important federal policies that respect the most fundamental human right — the right to life — as well as the long-standing, bipartisan consensus against forcing Americans to participate in the violent act of abortion,’ said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops…” (Fox, 1/24).

Slate: Trump Didn’t Just Reinstate the Global Gag Rule. He Massively Expanded It.
“…[Foreign o]rganizations working on AIDS, malaria, or maternal and child health will have to make sure that none of their programs involves so much as an abortion referral. Geeta Rao Gupta, a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation who previously served as deputy executive director of UNICEF, gives the example of HIV/AIDS clinics that get U.S. funding to provide antiretrovirals: ‘If they’re giving advice to women on what to do if they’re pregnant and HIV positive, giving them all the options that exist, they cannot now receive money from the U.S.’…” (Goldberg, 1/24).

VICE News: Anti-abortion collateral damage
“…If the past is any indication, the policy won’t necessarily spur a decrease in abortion rates — but it could cause an increase in unsafe or illegal abortions by women who no longer have access to the procedure. This in turn could cause a rise in deaths; unsafe abortions remain a leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide…” (Becker, 1/24).

Washington Post: Trump’s revival of the antiabortion ‘gag rule’ could have a big impact in Africa
“… A similar policy was implemented under President George W. Bush. Researchers discovered that the policy seemed to lead to ‘increases in abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries,’ according to a report published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization in 2011. ‘The results were exactly the opposite as the intended effect of the policy,’ said Eran Bendavid, one of the researchers and an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University. One possible reason for the increase was that the U.S. policy, while aimed at abortion, curtailed the activities of organizations that provided condoms and other birth control methods, resulting in more unwanted pregnancies, the study said” (Soffen/Sieff, 1/24).

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