Trump’s Global Gag Rule Is Killing Women, Report Says – Foreign Policy
A mobile health brigade in an indigenous community in La Guajira, Colombia.
PHOTO : MARTA ROYO/PROFAMILIA.
The administration’s hard-line anti-abortion stance is undermining women’s rights and U.S. development aid around the world, critics say.
Profamilia lost U.S. funds it used to run its clinics after the Trump administration brought back and expanded a Ronald Reagan-era policy—formally known as the Mexico City policy, but often called the “global gag rule” by critics—that prohibits U.S. health-related aid to foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion. The rule has such far-reaching impacts that, beyond limiting abortion access, it has also decreased access to contraception and treatment for illnesses such as HIV and tuberculosis, as organizations that have lost funding roll back or close services.
Scrambling, Profamilia tried to replace the closed clinics with mobile teams—called mobile health brigades—that set up pop-up clinics in communities for two to three days at a time for “the most basic, basic needs,” explained Royo. But it was a poor substitute: The clinics had offered extensive services, including free counseling for adolescents, and educational workshops about sexual health and reproductive rights. Teens in these communities, where teen pregnancy rates are as high as 49 percent, desperately need this information, Royo said. Otherwise, unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions could rise.
Globally, the Trump administration’s policy is contributing to a backlash against women’s and girl’s rights, according to women’s rights advocates, including Royo, and political leaders from around the world who attended Women Deliver, the world’s largest conference on gender equality, in Vancouver in early June.
“We’re seeing a pushback against women’s rights, whether it is attacks on a woman’s fundamental right to choose or violence against indigenous women and girls,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a press conference at Women Deliver, where he pledged $525 million annually for global sexual and reproductive health rights, including abortion.