NEWSFLASH: Donald Trump Just Put Millions of Women At Risk

Donald Trump wasted no time putting his anti-woman agenda into place after assuming the office of the Presidency last week. Just today, Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule, which blocks U.S. foreign aid or other funding for organizations abroad that perform abortion, provide information related to abortion or make referrals for abortion care. The decision will endanger the lives of million of women around the world.

The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, was first established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Under the policy, which was done away with under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, international nongovernmental health care organizations who so much as mention abortion to patients cannot receive funding for any of their services—even those unrelated to abortion care—from the U.S. Some of the organizations and health care clinics impacted by Trump’s reinstatement of the rule will shutter completely. Others will have to cut back on the services they can provide or, in an effort to comply, will no longer be able to connect women with safe providers of abortion care.

The United States currently directs about $600 million a year in family planning funding to organizations around the world, impacting an estimated 28 million women and preventing tens of thousands of maternal deaths annually. These organizations are already prohibited from using federal money for abortion care under the Helms Amendment; with Trump’s re-instatement of the Global Gag Rule, they will now be forced to choose between offering incomplete family planning services and resources or forgoing funding for their other programs—including maternity care, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, access to contraception, gynecological exams and more.

Let’s not mince words: The Global Gag Rule kills women. It is estimated that every year, over 28 million women and 3 million girls have unsafe abortions in developing countries each year. 6.9 million of those women are treated for complications related to unsafe abortions. 44,000 of them die. President Trump’s decision to reinstate this outdated and outrageous policy will lead to the deaths of thousands of women and the suffering of millions more every year.

“Reinstating the global gag rule returns us to disgraceful era that dishonored the American values of free speech and inflicted untold suffering on millions of women around the world,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “Two days after millions of people poured into the streets across America and throughout the world in support of women’s rights, the Trump Administration has silenced even the discussion of women’s reproductive choices.”

This move is only a signal of what’s yet to come. Trump promised to appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court Justices, and he has said that if Roe were overturned he would let states decide on abortion—putting women across the country at risk of losing critical access to legal health care. Vice President Mike Pence is also firmly anti-choice, and introduced bills while in Congress that echoed the Global Gag Rule. As Governor of Indiana, he signed several abortion restrictions into law.

Lawmakers like Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), however, will not stand idly by while the Trump administration re-ignites the war on women. “President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule ignores decades of research, instead favoring ideological politics over women and families,” Shaheen, who plans to introduce bipartisan legislation repealing the rule, said in a statement to The Hill. “I will continue to stand up to President Trump and Republican leadership in Congress who are intent on rolling back women’s access to reproductive healthcare.”

Carmen Rios is the Digital Editor at Ms., Managing Editor of Argot Magazine, Feminism Editor at Autostraddle and a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. Her work has also appeared at BuzzFeed, MEL, Mic, BITCH, and Feministing. She stays very zen in L.A. traffic. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

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Comments

  1. Every single time I read an article about the laws that the government that primarily consists of old white men decides to put into place when it comes to women’s body it leaves me frustrated and wondering if these people who are “chosen for the people by the people” are insane. Then I realize that the concept of “the people” rarely includes women because of the lower status in society that women hold globally. That is the only way that something like this would even remotely be achievable. I find it shocking that one of the first tasks of an American President’s new presidency would be to put millions of women at risk globally. I find the blatant disregard of women’s basic human rights to be deplorable. By reinstating the global gag rule women globally are left in a dangerous position. Not only does it endanger millions of women worldwide it violates their reproductive rights. Reproductive rights refer to the right to reproductive health care and the right to reproductive self-determination (Center for Reproductive Rights, 2006). “These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.” (Burn 41) The Trump administration putting this policy back into place denies women of reproductive control. It leaves me believing that the current President and his administration simply do not care about women, their status, or their basic human rights enough to see how awful this is. Based on the information provided worldwide it is very clear that attempts to ban or hinder abortion don’t lead to the decrease of abortion it increases the amount of unsafe abortions. Yearly an estimated 5 million women are hospitalized, millions suffer from infections and complications like infertility and hundreds of thousands die abortion related deaths from these unsafe do it yourself abortion procedures. The fact that women must to go to those lengths to do something that they should have the right to choose to do the safe way is devastating. It makes me afraid for what is to come in the next four years for women globally because US policies influence the world in many cases.

  2. First we had the grabbing women by their private parts incident that boggled the minds of females worldwide, now he is reaching in and cutting off life saving treatment and help for women across the globe. The statistics in the post are staggering, “over 28 million women and 3 million girls have unsafe abortions in developing countries each year”, girls, as in little girls. How can we as a nation sit back as this happens, millions of women around the world have been affected by a man who took office a few days before reinstating the GGR (Global Gag Rule). It has been proven time and time again that the way to treat the issues surrounding pregnancies is not to strip women of their rights to choose what is right for them, but to educate and provide safe and sustainable alternatives of care for women in and out of the US. Historically, the only thing that prohibitions, or gags in this case, have resulted in is more and more people dying and getting into terrible situations because they are trying to get around the law.
    President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both been very clear, trump not so clear but anyways, about where they stand regarding the pro-life or pro-choice movements. Both being very anti-choice, we can only expect them to do one thing, and that is make it harder for women to simply be women in an already difficult society. In a society where women are already oppressed on a day-to-day basis by their male counterparts, every person on this planet should have the right to proper health care and health care facilities, the fact that Mr. Trump is threatening facilities in developing countries with cutting funding if they offer certain services is absurd. How long are we going to keep this sexist agenda going, 44,000 women per year die because of complications related with unsafe abortions; can you imagine how much more that number will rise due to cuts in female abortion care?

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