Since Ronald Reagan enacted the Mexico City Policy — otherwise known as the Global Gag Rule — in 1984, each incoming Democratic president has moved to revoke it, while each incoming Republican president immediately reinstates it. As expected, President Donald Trump continued the tradition by signing the executive order that bans federal funding for international non-governmental organizations that offer abortions.
This essentially forces NGOs to choose whether they will continue to offer safe abortion access to women — or lose the funding that allows them to provide other women’s health services to the population they serve.
As an earlier Cut article on the policy points out, the 1973 Helms Amendment already prohibits foreign aid from going toward abortions; the Global Gag Rule goes a step further by barring NGOs who receive U.S. aid from providing abortions that they’re paying for themselves or with other funds.
A 2010 report from Population Action International (PAI) has found that the Global Gag Rule is actively harmful for women’s health, while a 2003 report from the Center for Reproductive Rights points to its contribution to unsafe abortions.
U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) released the following statement in response to the policy’s reinstatement:
“The Trump Administration and Republican leadership have made no secret of their dangerous obsession with rolling back reproductive rights. President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule ignores decades of research, instead favoring ideological politics over women and families. We know that when family planning services and contraceptives are easily accessible, there are fewer unplanned pregnancies, maternal deaths, and abortions.”