FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — May 15, 2017
[NEW YORK, NY] - Today, Donald Trump is announcing a new policy entitled “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance." This policy will massively expand the Global Gag Rule by drastically increasing the amount of global health assistance funds and government programs that will be covered, affecting some $8.8 billion dollars. In the past the Global Gag Rule has been limited to overseas family planning assistance only. This new policy is said to cover a broad range of funds for global health, including maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, malaria and family planning.
“This is exactly what we feared,” says Global Justice Center Vice-President, Akila Radhakrishnan. “The Trump Administration has decided to use the power of its purse to endanger the lives of girls and women around the world on an unprecedented scale. 13% of maternal deaths around the world are due to unsafe abortions. Far from being “pro-life,” this is a policy that will almost guarantee the deaths of women around the world.”
The Gag Rule, or Mexico City Policy is re-instated by every Republican president. If Trump had merely maintained Bush’s order, the Gag Rule had have censored the $608 million of US foreign aid budgeted for family planning assistance in 2017. This expansion also means that the funds set up to counter the Global Gag Rule, including the Dutch She Decides initiative, which raised a commendable $181 million dollars, will have a much larger funding gap to fill.
“Yesterday, President Trump issued a statement declaring this week Women’s Health Week and recognized the importance of providing women access to the best, evidence-based health information and care,” says Radhakrishnan. “Time and time again, it has been proven that restrictions on abortion serve no purpose other than to make abortion unsafe. Trump continues his habit of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite by kicking off Women’s Health Week by expanding this grotesque and inhumane policy.”
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