Trump to expand policy that bans USA aid for overseas abortion providers

Trump to expand policy that bans USA aid for overseas abortion providers

Trump to expand policy that bans USA aid for overseas abortion providers

Back in January, one of the first actions that Donald Trump took as president was to reinstate the global gag rule, a harmful policy that hijacks USA global health assistance in the name of anti-choice politics.

"This isn't about cutting funding or cutting services", said Melanie Israel, a research associate at the Heritage Foundation's DeVos Center who focuses on religion and civil society.

This move by Trump may come as no surprise, after he and Mike Pence eagerly played their part in previous rollbacks of women's health care, and after Senate Republicans saw fit to put together a working group on their version of the House's health care repeal plan composed of 13 men and precisely zero women. The official added that the policy will now be called "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance", though it is more commonly referred to as the Global Gag Rule or the Mexico City Policy. "Abortion is not health care; it's the deliberate destruction of innocent human life". No government funding goes to worldwide abortion services due to the Helms Amendment of 1973, but Republican leaders have turned to this policy to keep health NGOs from even speaking of abortion when they provide services (which is where the "Global Gag Rule" comes in).

Suzanne Ehlers, president of Washington-based Population Action International which lobbies in the US and developing countries for women's reproductive health, said in a statement that the change would "cause unspeakable damage to integrated care efforts across all health sectors".

'President Trump is treating women's lives like political bargaining chips, trading them away to shore up his flagging support, ' said Sasha Bruce, the senior vice president of campaigns and strategy for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

The officials noted that the expanded policy will not affect the amount of funding for life-saving health programs.

It does NOT reduce the total amount of global health assistance being used to support health programs around the world, and the policy takes special steps to ensure humanitarian assistance and lifesaving HIV/AIDS work through PEPFAR continue to provide services uninterrupted - preventing the disruption of lifesaving services around the world.

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Just days into his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order reimposing the ban, known as the Mexico City policy, which had been lifted by Barack Obama. And the only way to meet the challenges of the coming years is by being smarter about what services to provide, how to make them sustainable, and how to fund them. That was roughly $600 million.

Critics say the expansion is more about ideology than about global health.

When the GRG last went into effect in 2001, according to the Center for American Progress, contraception donations from the USA shuddered to an abrupt halt, leaving 20 developing countries without the resources on which they relied.

In 1973, the Helms Amendment prohibited the use of USA taxpayer money to be used to fund global abortion services.

Under the Bush administration's Mexico City Policy, in effect from from 2001 to 2009, the abortion rate in sub-Saharan Africa actually rose, according to a 2011 Stanford University study. Many of those abortions however, were done underground, making them unsafe, and at times lethal. Administration officials, who would only discuss the policy on condition of anonymity, said money could be "redirected" to other organisations offering similar health services.

What they say they're going to do is, they're going to ask their partners overseas to sort of agree to a clause that says they are not going to talk about or provide abortion services.

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