A lack of female body parts did not stop newly sworn in President Trump from signing an anti-abortion executive order. The best part is that he was surrounded by other white men. This executive order will reinstate the Mexico City policy/global gag rule that was first signed into existence by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Reagan's gag order "prohibits giving U.S. funding to international nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on a wide range of family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion." Even if the organization does not use U.S. funds for abortion-related services, the gag order will deny the whole facility funding, which can lead to it slashing its services or shutting down completely.
This means fewer women will have access to safe, affordable healthcare. According to Huffington Post, the "World Health Organization estimates that more than 21 million women a year have unsafe abortions in developing countries, accounting for about 13 percent of all maternal deaths."
But numbers show that, while the United States spends approximately $600 million a year on "international assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs," none of those funds are used for abortions or related services.
“President Trump's reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule ignores decades of research, instead favoring ideological politics over women and families," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). "We know that when family planning services and contraceptives are easily accessible, there are fewer unplanned pregnancies, maternal deaths, and abortions."
Alternatively, the Helms Amendment of 1973 has stopped U.S. tax dollars from being used to fund overseas abortions. Policy makers believe the Helms Amendment is not "strong enough" without help and makes the gag order necessary.
According to The Guardian, "The rule will put thousands of international healthcare workers in the difficult position of deciding whether to continue to offer family planning care that includes abortion at the expense of a critical funding stream."
A spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) says the company, which saw about a 900% increase in appointments before President Trump's inauguration, will not be complying with the gag order. Even though Planned Parenthood will lose around $100 million in government funding, it is willing to take the hit in order to continue to provide care and information for its clients.
Other companies under the IPPF umbrella also face loss. Amu Singh Sijapati of the Family Planning Association in Nepal says the gag is "devastating" for their work and will severely impact their ability to "offer long-acting, reversible contraceptives to disadvantaged women."
“Funding cuts would mean we can’t support ... the government of Nepal’s effort on sexual and reproductive health and rights," Sijapati said. "Additionally we would not be able to run community clinics or mobile health days or train healthcare workers. The impact also means we would lose essential medical staff like nurses, doctors and health experts.”
This was just one of several executive orders President Trump signed on Monday. Others included one that would freeze federal hiring and our country's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The gag order has gone through several presidents who have either rescinded or reinstated it. President Bill Clinton rescinded it, President George W. Bush reinstated it, and President Barack Obama took it away again. Now President Donald J. Trump has completed the pattern with one of the more white male Cabinet's since Reagan's presidency.