Global Gag Order Fight Back

The international response to Trump abortion policy.

A number of countries around the world have banded together to create a funding initiative to push back against President Trump’s revival and extension of Reagan’s anti-abortion Mexico City policy This executive order means that any NGO that provides abortion services or even discusses abortion with patients will be barred from US foreign aid. Family planning agencies around the world will lose a large part of their funding, a move that will place the lives of the most vulnerable women around the world in danger. The order will create a funding gap of $600 million (£480 million) over the next four years.

Sweden’s deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin has stated that there will be a conference on 2nd March to kick-start a funding initiative. Countries that have already lent their support include Luxembourg, Belgium, Finland, Canada, Denmark, Cape Verde, and Sweden, with perhaps more to follow.

The Dutch international development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, has stated that the Netherlands are in talks with 15-20 countries as well as foundations in order to raise the $600 million. In Denmark, Ulla Toernaes, the Development Aid Minister, has also said that ‘an alliance of like-minded European countries’ is lobbying the EU on the issue. She also revealed that Denmark has pledged 75 million kroner (£8.6million). In addition, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg pledged an increase of ‘85 million Norwegian crowns (£8 million) compared with 2016’.

This support will hopefully grow, but can only limit the impact of the policy, not stop it. Trump’s policies will not decrease the amount of abortions across the globe. Instead of a medical abortion, women will be forced to seek backstreet abortions or attempt to self induce. According to the World Health organisation one of the main five causes of maternal mortality across the world is unsafe abortion; 47,000 women die from complications each year. In sub-Saharan Africa it was found that Mexico City Policy reintroduced by Bush actually resulted in a rise in the number of abortions. Trump’s policies are likely to have the opposite of the desired effect by increasing the number of abortions, and putting women at risk.

Increased funding from other countries will help mitigate some of the impact of this policy but the only real way to lower abortion rates is better family planning – something that President Trump is unlikely to consider.  

[Rose Jackson @ginger_git]

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