Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Trump's global gag rule goes far beyond abortion, groups say

ABC News (January 23,2018), Trump's global gag rule goes far beyond abortion, groups say, by Cara Anna:

One year after President Trump reinstated and expanded the scope of the global gag rule health groups describe the the impact as "devastating."  The global gag rule prohibits recipients of U.S. foreign aid from engaging in abortion related activities or discussing abortion as an option with patients.

When President Trump took office last year, he expanded the global gag rule beyond the scope of the rule under the George W. Bush administration making it apply not just to $575 million in U.S. family planning funds but also to $8.8 billion in U.S. global health aid. 


It was widely expected that President Trump would reinstate the global gag rule, but its extension to global health aid including the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has dramatically expanded its impact.

"For the rest of the global health community this is a huge wake-up call," said Robin Gorna with SheDecides, a global movement that sprang up last year to raise money to help fill the U.S. gap and brought in $450 million throughout 2017. "The HIV community, for example, was ill-prepared for it. ... It's really exceptionally problematic."

At least 1,275 foreign NGOs, and about $2.2 billion in global health funding, could be affected by the expanded global gag rule, the Kaiser Family Foundation says.

It is also clear that the global gag rule has devastated access to family planning and other health services for women around the world.  For instance, "Marie Stopes International announced it faces a funding gap of $80 million in the 37 countries where it works, with more than 2 million women risking the loss of contraceptive services."  In Africa, Marie Stopes has cut its outreach sites in half from 1200 to 600.  In addition to the loss of family planning, the closure of these sites will result in the loss of other health care services including treatment for HIV and other diseases for women and men.




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