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Trump Administration’s Expansion of the Global Gag Rule Will Further Devastate Women’s Health and Rights

On Tuesday, March 26, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Trump administration was making sweeping changes to expand the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule.

This policy - which until now prevented foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide abortion services or information, or advocate for abortion law reform, from receiving US funding - will now be applied even more broadly. With this change, any foreign NGOs that give financial support to other groups that ‘provide or promote’ abortion services will also be blocked from receiving US funding.

From day one, the Trump administration has launched attacks on women’s rights. Immediately after taking office, one of Trump’s first acts was to reinstate and expand the Global Gag Rule, applying it not just to family planning funding, but to all US foreign aid funding. Trump’s version of this policy was already broader than that of previous administrations.

Now, with this further expansion of the rule, organizations that seek to speak out about abortion or provide these essential services may have to refuse grants from any donors that receive US funding. Even US-funded foreign NGOs that work on issues like education or economic empowerment will need to investigate whether their grantees are providing abortion-related services.

This policy will have far-reaching and devastating consequences. It could force NGOs to shutter their doors or reduce their services, which deprives women of not only essential reproductive and maternal health care, but also other life-saving treatment for illnesses like HIV, malaria, and cancer. When women are deprived of vital health care, they increasingly turn to unsafe abortions, which puts them at high risk of death and injury. This policy will further marginalize groups like LGBTIQ communities and sex workers, who already have limited access to health care. It will prevent groups from engaging in important movement-building and advocacy work to reform repressive anti-abortion laws.

And we know that the Trump administration is bringing these same regressive policies home to women and girls in the United States, through the domestic Gag Rule which prevents health providers who perform or refer patients for abortion services from receiving federal family planning funds.

Ultimately, this cruel decision endangers the lives of women and undermines reproductive health services worldwide.

We demand that the Global Gag Rule be repealed — permanently. Join us as we continue to ensure that women and girls worldwide, from Syrian refugees to Indigenous women in Nicaragua, can access crucial reproductive health care.

April 3, 2019