It is time to stop playing politics with the health & lives of women.
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Since taking office in January 2017, the Trump-Pence administration has repeatedly made policy decisions that endanger the health and rights of women and girls around the world. One of the president’s first actions was to announce the dramatic expansion of the inhumane Global Gag Rule (GGR). This expansion of the policy compels foreign NGOs receiving any U.S. health assistance to choose between remaining eligible to receive this funding or providing, referring or advocating for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services using their own, non-U.S. funds.
Evidence from previous iterations of the GGR demonstrates that this policy does not reduce abortion rates. In fact, the GGR leads to an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths by cutting off community access to some of the most effective and experienced local providers of contraception. However, previous implementations of GGR only applied to foreign NGOs providing family planning and reproductive health care—the current administration’s expansion of this policy to all health sectors implicates services for HIV/AIDs, maternal and newborn health, nutrition, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. The impact of Trump’s Global Gag Rule is likely to be more widely felt and life-threatening as additional health services are now put out of reach of those who need them most.
The Trump-Pence administration has compounded the threats of the GGR by continuing to undermine sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide. In March 2017, the administration withheld critical development and humanitarian funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the lead agency providing lifesaving reproductive health care in more than 150 countries—including areas affected by conflict and natural disasters. Meanwhile, the President’s FY 2018 budget proposed to eliminate the U.S. international family planning and reproductive program—a proposal so extreme that a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with a record of attempts to significantly cut international FP/RH funding, was unwilling to entertain it.
Tell the Trump-Pence administration it’s time to stop playing politics with the health and lives of women and girls: repeal the Global Gag Rule, restore UNFPA funding and support the U.S. international family planning and reproductive health program.
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