Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, you should be very concerned by Mr. Trump’s re-instituting the “Global Gag Rule,” also known as the Mexico City Policy. In doing so, the President has ironically all but guaranteed an increase in unsafe abortions (and abortions in general) around the world.
The Global Gag Rule requires foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive US government funds “to neither perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” It therefore prevents these same NGOs from receiving such funds to provide any kind of contraception (like condoms or IUDs) should they discuss abortion as an option (even when such education is paid for with funds from other donors). Some organizations will capitulate and stop talking about abortion but many will refuse U.S. government funding and be forced to stop providing services altogether.
The US government has historically been one of the largest funders of family planning around the world. Now, many programs funded by the US government will end and will not be replaced. Many women who were served by those programs will no longer have access to contraception and, as a result, become pregnant. Many will terminate these unwanted pregnancies. In countries where abortion is restricted, we know from experience that women will resort to back-alley abortions that are unsafe.
If Mr. Trump is serious about reducing the number of abortions globally, he should reverse this decision.
Chris Purdy is the CEO of DKT International, one of the largest private providers of contraceptives and family planning services in the developing world. DKT provides safe and affordable options for family planning and HIV prevention in more than 25 populous countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia that contain 65% of the world’s people. In 2016, DKT served approximately 33 million couples.