President Donald Trump's administration's "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" policy will broaden the George W. Bush-era Mexico City policy, which was reversed by President Barack Obama but reinstated by Trump in January, to include not only the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as with the earlier law, but also the Department of Defense as well, reports Christian Broadcasting Network News' "The Brody File".
On May 14th, President Donald Trump issued a statement in honor of National Women's Health Week, pledging to "recognize the importance of providing women access to the best, evidence-based health information and care".
However, the anti-abortion policy was not well-received by everyone.
In 2016, the organization used the US funding (which is about 7 percent of its budget) to provide contraceptive access to 800,000 people around the world, and prevented an estimated 100,000 unsafe abortions and 10,000 maternal deaths, according to the International Women's Health Coalition.
The State Department could not give specifics on how numerous partners in programs such as PEPFAR, which comprises $6 billion of the affected funding, it anticipated refusing to sign on to the new terms.
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The gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, blocks worldwide family planning assistance through the U.S. Agency for global Development to any groups or programs that provide or even mention abortions to women, or speak out about abortion laws in their own countries.
In this week's press release, the State Department explained that this expanded ban on funding of abortion supporters would apply to "international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health".
The State Department says that the policy will not reduce the overall level of foreign aid as funds from those groups that do not agree to the new terms will be redistributed to organizations that do. With Trump's new policy, their funding will be threatened, as will the funding of many other global health organizations. It's illegal for any US aid money to go toward abortion care itself; what the global gag rule does is prevent these organizations from using even separate funding on abortion care or referrals, even if abortion is legal in their country.
It said that no organisation receiving United States money can promote or discuss abortion services, even if they are using foreign funds to do so.
Women's health experts also cite a 2011 study by Stanford researchers that shows similar policies may be linked to an increase in abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries - the exact opposite of the outcome Trump and anti-abortion advocates of the rule are seeking.
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What is not included in the change is funding to foreign governments, multilateral organizations, migration and refugee assistance, and disaster and humanitarian relief from USAID and the Pentagon.
Officials said the new policy would be applied immediately to new funding issued and then to existing arrangements as they are amended.
The GGR was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded by Democratic presidents only to be reinstated by Republican presidents.
"And in a way, his coming into the movement as an ally seems to have freed him to be able to take a lot of actions that others might have been a little too skittish to take", she said. In countries most heavily affected by the rule, contraceptive use dropped, and a woman's odds of having an unsafe abortion were more than two times higher.
Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona told CP that he believes the 45th U.S. President has the "potential to be the Abraham Lincoln of the unborn". This deeply unpopular policy only serves to deny women and families life-saving health care.
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