FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, January 23, 2017 – The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) is deeply concerned about the fate of millions of women put at risk by President Donald J. Trump’s decision today to implement a rule that blocks funds for foreign organizations that provide abortion services, information, or referrals. The Global Gag Rule applies to organizations utilizing their own or US funds to provide access to abortion even in countries where it is legal. It also restricts advocacy for decriminalization of abortion.
“This rule confirms the Trump administration’s clear intent to make women pay the ultimate price for seeking reproductive health services that include abortion,” said Françoise Girard, President of IWHC. “Trump’s Global Gag Rule will reverse decades of progress on reproductive, maternal and child health, leading to an increase in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal and newborn deaths worldwide.”
President Trump is forcing sexual and reproductive health care providers around the world to choose between providing medically necessary, comprehensive, and quality care to their patients and receiving US funding to provide any reproductive health care at all. There are 225 million women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception. The burden of unsafe abortion also falls overwhelmingly on women in the developing world.
Providers that wish to continue receiving US funding are forced to withhold information about a critical health service, violating the trusted relationship between a woman and her healthcare provider. Trump’s Global Gag Rule will reverse decades of progress on reproductive, maternal and child health, leading to an increase in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal and newborn deaths worldwide.
The Global Gag Rule was first introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1984 and over the years has been rescinded by Democratic administrations and reinstated by Republican ones. Despite its purported goal of curbing abortion rates, the rule resulted in an increase in abortions in sub-Saharan African countries during the George W. Bush Administration. The rule also had far-reaching negative effects, such as hampering HIV prevention efforts.