Donald Trump Is Reinstating A Policy That Restricts Abortions

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Just 48 hours after millions of women across the world marched to advocate for their health and rights, Donald Trump has signed off on the first abortion restriction policy of his term. President Trump has reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which would block federal aid to foreign organisations that provide abortions or even abortion counselling.
Related: Cecile Richards & Hillary Clinton On The Threat To Reproductive Rights

Under the policy, also known as the "global gag rule," organisations that receive any federal funding are not to use their own funds to pay for abortion-related programs. Though the 1977 Hyde Amendment already bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, the Mexico City Policy, which was introduced by President Reagan in 1984, goes a step further and blocks organisations from even providing advice or referrals for safe abortions, hence the name "global gag rule."
Since its introduction, U.S. presidents have each taken their stance on it — Bill Clinton repealed it, George W. Bush replaced it, and Barack Obama repealed it again. Essentially, the policy forces organisations to choose between either accepting crucial federal funds and be prohibited from providing abortion services or counselling, or refusing the funds and finding alternative sources of funding to continue to provide a range of health services, including abortion-related programmes.
Nicole Cheetham, director of the International Youth Health and Rights Division, tells Refinery29 that it can even result in these organisations shutting down altogether if they are unable to survive financially. It's also predicted to actually drive up abortion rates. A study from Stanford University School of Medicine, published by the World Health Organisation in 2011, found that abortion rates went up by 40% when the policy was last instated under President Bush. The study also estimated that women were twice as likely to have an unsafe abortion after the policy went into effect — something that accounts for about 13% of maternal deaths globally. "This policy not only endangers the survival, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women by increasing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions." Katja Iversen, president and CEO of Women Deliver said in a statement. “It will also stop progress for girls and women in its tracks.” U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agreed. "We know that when family planning services and contraceptives are easily accessible, there are fewer unplanned pregnancies, maternal deaths, and abortions," she said in a statement. "And when women have control over their reproductive health, it improves the long-term health of mothers and children and creates a lasting economic benefit." She added: "I will continue to stand up to President Trump and Republican leadership in Congress who are intent on rolling back women's access to reproductive healthcare, and will introduce bipartisan legislation to repeal the Global Gag Rule for good.​​​"

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