Trump Orders Global Gag Rule, Cuts Off Vital, Safe Abortion Services For Women

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(PRESS RELEASE) As one of his first acts as president, Donald Trump imposed a sweeping new policy that restricts access to safe abortion services for women worldwide.

Trump’s Global Gag Rule dictates that U.S.-supported international family planning groups abroad may no longer use their own money to provide safe and legal abortion services, or even information or referrals for safe abortion, at the risk of women’s health and lives. The policy applies even where women need access to safe abortion services to preserve their health and well-being, the only narrow exceptions to the rule are for women who have been raped, who are survivors of incest, or who face a life-threatening pregnancy.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Today President Donald Trump made clear that women will be the first casualty of his administration. 

“It is appalling to dictate to civil society groups and health care providers how they can spend their own money and force them to withhold from women critical information about and access to the full range of reproductive health care. 

“Trump’s Global Gag Rule will only lead to increases in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal and newborn deaths. This harmful policy undermines American democratic values of free-speech and imposes an anti-woman agenda.

“The progressive voices in Congress as well as international reproductive health groups must unite to protect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women from this latest attack on health care access.”

The Center, along with more than 130 civil-society organizations, issued a statement against Trump’s Global Gag Rule.

Previous iterations of Trump’s Global Gag Rule have been associated with an increase in abortion rates as organizations that provide access to family planning services lose funding, a 2011 study conducted by Stanford University researchers and published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization concluded. Another 2011 study of women in Ghana found that the abortion rate was higher in rural areas when the Global Gag Rule was in effect. A 2003 report by the Center for Reproductive Rights concluded that the Global Gag Rule also “helps perpetuate unsafe abortion” in countries with restrictive abortion laws and limited access to safe abortion services.