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U.S. abortion policy reenactment has global impact

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On his fourth day of presidency, President Donald Trump signs the Mexico City Policy, which has a history of being revoked and reenacted through many presidencies. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP

Written by Carsie Mendoza, Staff Writer

Foreign non-governmental agencies will no longer receive US monetary support if they provide or support abortion-related services, now that President Donald Trump has reinstated the Mexico City Policy.

This policy, also known as the “global gag rule,” was originally enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It prohibits non-governmental agencies (NGOs) from receiving U.S family planning assistance if they provide services related to abortion. This includes offering abortion procedures, providing counseling about abortion services, or lobbying to change abortion laws, even if these activities are financed with non-US funds.

This policy has not always been in effect. It was first repealed by President Bill Clinton. Following his administration, President George W. Bush reinstated it, only for the following president Barack Obama to repeal it.

Without the Mexico City Policy in place, the U.S gave funds to these organizations as long as they used funding that was not US-based for abortion services. The United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, is one of the largest donors in regards to family planning assistance and reproductive health in the world. In 2016, the United States alone provided $608 million dollars to these causes. Contraceptives, condoms and other health services were readily available to those in developing countries because of this funding.

With the second reinstatement of the policy last Monday, by President Trump, however, this will all change.

According to Marie Stopes International, a group that provides family planning assistance and abortion services around the world, their organization received about $30 million dollars from the United States and the loss of this money will cause an increase of unwanted pregnancies as well as abortions in the places they do outreach. Additionally, a study conducted by Stanford School of Medicine found that “the induced abortion rate increased significantly from 10.4 per 10,000 women” between the years 1994 and 2001 to “14.5 per 10,000 women” from 2001 to 2008. “Although the trend changed gradually,” the study noted, “the timing of the rise is consistent with the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy in early 2001.”

It can also be noted that the Society of Medical Anthropology found that during the presidency of George W. Bush, “Health and family planning clinics…[had] been forced to shrink and in some cases to close as a result of cutbacks in funding.” Furthermore, Population Action International reported that during Bush’s administration, “shipments of U.S.-donated condoms and contraceptives completely ceased to 16 development countries, primarily in Africa.”

While it has only been five days since the Mexico City Policy has been reinstated, the ramifications on family planning and health will be felt globally.

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