U.S. President Trump Reinstates Mexico City Policy, Broadens Executive Order To Apply To All Global Health Aid

BuzzFeed News: Here’s How Trump’s Anti-Abortion Rule Will Affect Women Worldwide
“President Donald Trump has reinstated the controversial ‘global gag rule’ — a policy reversal that women’s rights and health advocates fear will bring a rise in unsafe abortions around the world. The Reagan-era rule essentially prevents foreign organizations that receive U.S. money from talking to women about abortion. President Trump’s decision to reinstate the rule comes one day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Conservatives welcomed the move, while some Democrats and many public health experts decried the change as dangerous…” (Moore, 1/23).

CQ News: Trump Administration Bans Foreign Aid for Abortion Providers
“…At least $500 million in USAID funding on family planning and reproductive health could be affected by a change in the rule. In addition to rescinding Obama’s order and restoring Bush’s, Trump’s memorandum also instructs the secretary of State and secretary of Health and Human Services to implement a plan to extend the policy’s guidelines to other global health programs that receive federal funding…” (Siddons, 1/23).

Devex: Trump executive order cuts funding to NGOs that provide abortion services, information
“…Already, a political rebuttal to the Gag order has taken form. Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen [N.H.] plans to introduce bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to permanently repeal the global gag rule to stop the back and forth as administrations change and safeguard women’s access to reproductive care, she said in a statement. But with Republicans in control of Congress, a fight to repeal the rule could face an uphill battle…” (Saldinger/Lieberman, 1/23).

The Guardian: ‘Global gag rule’ reinstated by Trump, curbing NGO abortion services abroad
“…The rule will put thousands of international health care workers in the difficult position of deciding whether to continue to offer family planning care that includes abortion at the expense of a critical funding stream. Many international health advocates insist that their efforts are not comprehensive without abortion services. Unsafe abortions are a major cause of maternal mortality and kill tens of thousands of women every year…” (Redden, 1/23).

The Hill: Trump reinstates ban on U.S. funds promoting abortion overseas
“… ‘I think the president, it’s no secret, has made it very clear that he’s a pro-life president,’ White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his first briefing Monday afternoon. ‘And I think the reinstatement of this policy is not just something that echoes that value, but respects tax payer funding as well’…” (Hellman, 1/23).

New York Times: Trump Revives Ban on Foreign Aid to Groups That Give Abortion Counseling
“…United States law already prohibits the use of American taxpayer dollars for abortion services anywhere, including in countries where the procedure is legal. But Mr. Trump’s order takes the prohibition further: It freezes funding to nongovernmental organizations in poor countries if they offer abortion counseling or if they advocate the right to seek abortion in their countries. … The impact of Mr. Trump’s order is likely to be felt beyond abortion services, which cannot be carried out with federal funding under a 1973 law known as the Helms Amendment, after former Senator Jesse Helms…” (Sengupta, 1/23).

POLITICO: Trump revives funding ban to groups providing abortion overseas
“…Now, [the executive order] will apply to organizations that get global health money, potentially including maternal health programs, anti-Zika efforts and the expansive PEPFAR program to stop HIV/AIDS. ‘The intent is to extend the policy to apply not just to family planning assistance but to global health, including PEPFAR and maternal health,’ said Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, who added that the full scope of the policy isn’t yet known. She estimated that when the policy has been applied in the past, it covered about $600 million in foreign aid spending. The new policy could potentially cover up to $8 billion…” (Haberkorn, 1/23).

Vox: Trump just reinstated the global gag rule. It won’t stop abortion, but it will make it less safe.
“…The global gag rule has become something of a political seesaw since Ronald Reagan first implemented it in 1984 at a United Nations population conference in Mexico City (which is why it’s also called the ‘Mexico City policy’). Bill Clinton repealed it immediately when he took office. George W. Bush immediately reinstated it when he took office. Then Barack Obama immediately repealed. But the effects of reinstating the gag rule now — especially after eight years of the Obama administration, which supported sexual and reproductive health in foreign aid — will be nothing like a seesaw. It will be very messy, advocates say, with ripple effects and unintended consequences that will have devastating effects on the health of women and girls around the globe. And while it will export the U.S. abortion wars overseas, only foreign women will be the casualties…” (Crockett, 1/23).

Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump Reinstates Antiabortion Policy for Overseas Groups
“…Maine Sen. Susan Collins is the lead Republican sponsor of Ms. Shaheen’s bill [to repeal the Mexico City policy] and doesn’t support Mr. Trump’s move to reinstate the policy. ‘My concern is that it will diminish family planning services for women around the world and as someone who would like to reduce the number of abortions, the best way to do that is ensuring that people have access to family planning services,’ she said. Other Republicans welcomed Mr. Trump’s move…” (Schwartz et al., 1/23).

Washington Post: Trump reverses abortion-related U.S. policy, bans funding to international health groups
“…In 2011, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found that implementation of the Mexico City policy was linked to increases in abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries. But they said that they couldn’t draw ‘definitive conclusions about the underlying cause of this increase’…” (McGinley/Goldstein, 1/23).

Additional coverage also is available from the following sources: Agence France-Presse, Africa TimesCBS NewsCNNCosmopolitanHuffington PostHuffington Post U.K., Miami HeraldMother JonesMSNBC, NBC News, NPR, Quartz, Reuters, TIME, USA TODAY, and Vogue.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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