Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Trump expansion of abortion 'gag rule' will restrict $8.8 billion in U.S. aid

Washington Post (May 15, 2017): Trump expansion of abortion 'gag rule' will restrict $8.8 billion in U.S. aid, by Ariana Eunjung Cha and Carol Morello:

On Monday, President Trump's executive order blocking U.S. aid to groups that counsel or provide referrals for abortion went into effect.  Known as the "Global Gag Rule" because the order cuts funding to health organizations for merely discussing abortion with patients, the order's restrictions are tied to $8.8 billion in foreign health assistance.  Trump's order massively expands previous versions of the Global Gag Rule.  Republican presidents only applied the Global Gag Rule to about $600 million in family planning funding. Trump's Global Gag Rule will apply to other health programs including AIDS, malaria and child health funding.  The George W. Bush administration specifically excluded funding for the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) in recognition that tying the Global Gag Rule to PEPFAR funding would undermine the program's effectiveness. 

In the past studies have shown that the Global Gag Rule actually has increased abortion rates because of closure of health care centers and lack of contraceptive access. Although the Trump Administration has stressed that it is not cutting funding dollars, many established health care organizations may reject the funding based on ethical concerns.

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