By Brian Dixon, Senior Vice President
On Sunday, Donald Trump designated this week as “National Women’s Health Week.” On Monday, his administration released details of its expanded Global Gag Rule that will undermine women’s health around the world.
It’s a pattern. When Trump mentions women’s health, you can be sure he’s about to take access to care away. This newly expanded Global Gag Rule threatens programs to fight malaria, Ebola, Zika and HIV. It will shutter clinics and will deny care to millions of vulnerable people – especially girls and women. And it will stifle global efforts to address the tragedy of unsafe abortion.
We know this because when a similar policy was in effect during the Bush years, it resulted in closed clinics, contraceptive shortages, higher maternal mortality, and dramatic increases in unsafe abortion. And when Mike Pence closed Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana, he caused a new HIV outbreak.
We know how this ends, because we’ve seen it before. And they know how this ends, but they’re doing it anyway. The pain they’ll cause is nearly unfathomable.
When President Obama lifted the previous version of the Global Gag Rule, the Family Planning Association of Nepal had U.S. funding restored. Since then, Nepal’s maternal mortality rate has fallen by a third. But now Trump is cutting off that aid.
Family Health Options Kenya will likely be forced to close half their clinics causing 1.5 million women to lose their sole access to care.
This is why our #Fight4HER campaign urging Congress to pass the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act is critical. The Global HER Act will overturn this appalling policy and ensure that U.S. assistance supports effective, experienced and respected health care providers in the developing world and the women they serve.