Rescind the Global Gag Rule
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On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule, otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy. This policy makes it so that non-governmental organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, that receive federal funding are unable to provide abortion services or refer their patients to facilities that can. In addition, the said organizations cannot advocate for the need for safe, legal abortions to the public or the government. This leaves organizations like Planned Parenthood with two options, either stop providing abortion services or refusing federal funding and find funds elsewhere to stay open.
However, if Planned Parenthood was forced to shut down there would be more harm done than good, as most of Planned Parenthood’s patients already struggle to get care to begin with. Over half of its locations are in rural or underserved areas, and 60% of its patients rely on federal health care programs such as Medicaid and Title X. A common misconception is that if Planned Parenthood closed, its patients could be easily absorbed by other healthcare providers. This is simply not true. If they shut their doors, 20% of counties with current locations would have no other healthcare providers, and two-thirds of states are already having difficulties ensuring enough healthcare providers for people on Medicaid. If Planned Parenthood were to shut down, in many instances, there would be no other providers to absorb the patients.
The Global Gag Rule wrongfully targets those in the low-income bracket that rely on federal healthcare programs as well as minority groups. People of color, who make up almost 40% of all Planned Parenthood patients, and members of the LGBT community, who already experience stigma and discrimination throughout their daily lives, will have nowhere else to turn for reproductive health services, which does not only include abortions. The fact is that federal funding given to Planned Parenthood and similar organizations ALREADY can’t be used for abortions anyway. Defunding would mean no more preventative care, no more birth control, STD tests, and cancer screenings. The 579,000 unintended pregnancies that Planned Parenthood helps prevent each year would instead give way to a rise in pregnancy-related deaths. The Global Gag Rule not only denies freedom of speech by prohibiting advocacy efforts for safe abortions by organizations such as Planned Parenthood, it denies essential reproductive rights to the 20% of women who have been to a Planned Parenthood.
I urge each of you to understand this issue in terms of how it affects volumes of people across the country, rather than if it has affected you personally or not. It is the right of each and every individual in the country to have access to reproductive health care and be able to choose whether they want to reproduce or not. To deny these rights to any group of people is an issue that affects all of humanity. I encourage you to sign this petition to declare your support of universal human rights.
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