On Jan. 23, the Trump administration reinstated the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “Global Gag Rule,” to cut all federal funding for NGOs worldwide that “counsel people on family planning options that may include abortion.” The policy was first introduced in 1984 by Former President Ronald Reagan, and has been revoked and then reinstated with every Democrat and Republican in the Oval Office since.
According to the Guttmacher Institute,the United States sends over $600 million a year to in foreign assistance for family planning, which allows about 27 million women and couples worldwide to receive contraceptive supplies and services. This money, instead of increasing the number of abortions, actually averts 2.3 million abortions per year, with about two million of them typically being unsafe, and preventing 11,000 maternal deaths.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “I think the reinstatement of this policy is not just something that echoes that value [of the President], but respects taxpayer funding as well, and ensures that we’re standing up not just for life of the unborn, but for also taxpayer funds that are being spent overseas to perform an action that is contrary to the values of this president.”
However, the Helms Amendment, passed in 1973 following the decision made in Roe v. Wade, already prevents the use of U.S. federal aid for abortions. The Mexico City Policy instead cuts funding for any organizations that even discusses abortion with women, even if they provide many other health services, such as birth control or sexual education.
History has shown that abortions are never prevented by making them illegal, getting rid of clinics, or cutting funding to health providers that may provide them. A Stanford University study, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, found that after Former President George W. Bush reinstated the Mexico City Policy in 2001, abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries increased, not decreased.
The cutting of funding to health organizations will create 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths in Trump’s first term, according to Marie Stopes International, a global family planning organization that works in 37 countries.
The Mexico City Policy also hinders prevention of HIV and AIDS in developing nations, as frequently the only organizations that provide condoms in certain nations are defunded, as was the case with Planned Parenthood in Lesotho in 2001.
President Trump signed the Mexico City Policy on Jan. 23, surrounded by cabinet members and staff, including Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. The policy being signed primarily impacts the lives of women of color in developing countries across the globe, yet the signing was attended by primarily white men.
Here are a few organizations that provide reproductive health services around the world that may be defunded that you can donate to:
Population Action International
Works to improve reproductive health services by building political will in the U.S. and internationally for health` programs.
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Works with accredited member associations around the globe to ensure that “all people are free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being, in a world free of discrimination.”
Family Planning Association India
Works to make sexual and reproductive health accessible for all, including gender equality leading to alleviation of poverty, population stabilization and sustainable development.
Marie Stopes International
Provides contraception and safe abortion to women in urban and rural communities all over the world.