Trump reinstates anti-abortion policy from the Reagan era

US President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, January 23, 2017.
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, January 23, 2017.

In one of his first acts as president on Monday, Donald Trump signed an anti-abortion executive order — a mere two days after millions of people took to the streets to protest Trump’s policies on women.

Trump also signed executive orders freezing federal hires and withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

The Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR), prohibits US funding being given to any international nongovernmental organizations (NGO) that offer family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortions.

The US spends about $600 million a year on international assistance for reproductive health and family planning. This makes it possible for 27 billion people to access contraceptive supplies and services. None of that money, however, is used for abortions. Under the 1973 Helms Amendment, no foreign assistance funds can be used to pay for abortions.

First put in place by Ronald Reagan in 1984, the GGR has come and gone with each new president that takes office. Bill Clinton did away with the policy, George W. Bush reinstated it, and Barack Obama revoked it again.

Two of the biggest family planning NGOs, Marie Stopes Internations (MSI) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have told BuzzFeed News that they will refuse to sign on to the policy.

“The Global Gag Rule has nothing to do with funding for abortion, something already restricted by unfair federal law,”said Dawn Laguens of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement. “What the Gag does is prohibit international organizations from even mentioning abortion or providing information to women.”

“The world’s most vulnerable women will suffer as a direct result of this policy, which threatens to undermine years of efforts to improve women’s health worldwide,” she continued. “As the millions of women who marched this weekend in DC and across the country and around the globe made clear, the American people will not stand for attacks on women’s health or women’s rights, both here at home and abroad.”

The World Health Organization estimates that 21 million women a year have unsafe abortions. This makes up nearly 13% of all global maternal deaths.

Women’s March

On Saturday, a day after Trump’s inauguration, people all over the world gathered for Women’s Marches. They hoped to raise awareness of women’s rights and other civil liberties they fear are threatened by Trump.

Marches were held in 673 cities in all seven continents, according to the Women’s March website. Almost five million people participated, including over 1 million in Washington. New York and Los Angeles each had an estimated half a million marchers.

Many of the participants wore knitted pink cat-eared “pussyhats,” referencing Trump’s admission that he committed sexual assault in a tape released weeks before the election.

Celebrities also took part in many cities, some as speakers, and some as protesters. In Washington, America Ferrera, Scarlet Johansson, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, and Madonna were all speakers, while Melissa Benoist, Zendaya, Amber Tamblyn, and Ellen Page were also in attendance. Chelsea Handler led the march at the Sundance Film Festival, along with Charlize Theron, Ashley Judd, Nick Offerman, and Aisha Tyler. London’s march has Ian McKellan, Gillian Anderson, John C. Reilly, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Vera Farmiga was in Vancouver, and Seth Rogen was in New Orleans. LA’s march had Miley Cyrus and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Jane Fonda, Mandy Moore, Gina Rodriguez, Helen Mirren, and Amy Schumer also took part.

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