FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— January 24 2017
[NEW YORK] – Yesterday, Donald Trump re-instated the Global Gag Rule, as every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has done since taking office. Unlike his predecessors, Trump far expanded the reach of the Gag Rule.
Under Reagan and Bush, the Gag Rule required that foreign non-governmental organizations certify that they will not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning as a condition of receiving US government foreign family planning assistance.
President Trump not only reinstated President Bush’s memorandum, his order also stated, “I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.
If President Trump had merely maintained President Bush’s order, the Gag Rule had the potential to censor the $608 million of US foreign aid budgeted for family planning assistance in 2017. Though the expansion of all “global health assistance,” this means the Gag Rule could censor the nearly $10.3 billion dollars the US gives in such aid.
Now, in addition to impacting family planning assistance given by USAID and the State Department, the restrictions will also apply to global health assistance provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services (including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Health) as well as the Millennial Challenge Corporation and the Department of Defense.
“When the Gag Rule only censored US family planning assistance the consequences were already dire,” says Akila Radhakrishnan, Vice President and Legal Director of the Global Justice Center. “Now, the expanded Gag Rule combined with the censorship of all US foreign assistance under the Helms amendment means that the deadly consequences of US abortion restrictions will have a far-reaching impact on women around the world. 13% of maternal deaths around the world are from unsafe abortion, and that number is now sure to increase.”
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