Trump Reinstates Reagan-Era Abortion Restriction, Somehow Makes It Worse

Day One on the Donald Trump check list: Revive and expand upon legislation that could harm and kill millions of women around the world.

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Jan 27 2017, 5:10pm

Below is what happened on Trump's first day in office. You can find out what damage was done every other day so far on the Saddest Calendar on the Internet

Wasting absolutely no time at all (except for the weekend, as the man who is now running the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave abides by the five-day work week), President Donald Trump and his cabal of concerned-looking white men assembled around the Resolute desk to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, or what is known more commonly as the global gag rule. When in place, the Reagan-era law restricts foreign family planning providers that receive US money from performing abortions, advocating for a woman's right to an abortion, referring women to other health clinics that do provide abortion care, or providing any information at all related to abortion to women who ask for it.

So, if an NGO even wants to mention abortion in its statement or policies, it can't receive US federal-funding. The fact that this policy was dreamed up under the era of pro-life, anti-Equal Rights Amendment President Ronald Reagan leaves no room for debate: It's bad.

Perhaps the most common misconception around the Mexico City Policy is that it prevents the the United States Agency of International Development from using federal dollars to fund abortions, but that's been illegal since the 1970s. The Helms Amendment had previously banned this in 1973, stating that "no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions." Piggybacking on this, the 1976 Hyde Amendment stopped the federal funding of abortion through Medicaid. In 1984, eleven years later, along came Reagan's global gag rule.

Since its conception, Democratic presidents have historically repealed the global gag rule, while Republicans have revived it.

The impact of the law is far-reaching. According to Center for American Progress, its effects extend to all areas of reproductive care:

Shortly after the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy in 2001, for example, shipments of donated contraceptives—including condoms—were completely stopped from the United States. This left 20 developing countries without much-needed contraceptive supplies. In addition... abortion rates increased in countries where [organizations that refused to sign the global gag rule] were working to more than twice the rate prior to the presidency of George W. Bush.

Furthermore, Trump not only reinstated the global gag rule, but also expanded the funding it effects almost fifteen-fold, so much so that reproductive health advocates say the legislation may result in the suffering and deaths of millions of women.

So while Trump did not figure out a way to overturn Roe v. Wade the day after its 44th anniversary—which he had stated that he intended to do "automatically" during the third presidential debate last October—he did seize the opportunity to make safe, legal reproductive care inaccessible to the women around the world who need it most. Not bad for Day One.


That's Bleak. Who's Fighting Against It?

Many international reproductive health organizations, like Pathfinder International and the International Women's Health Coalition, have made statements regarding the Mexico City Policy's dangerous implications and would benefit from support in any way. For a generously comprehensive list of the organizations that oppose the global gag rule, the Center for Reproductive Rights' coalition statement names 138 groups.

Not Depressed Yet? Read the Full Saddest Calendar on the Internet Here

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