The Global Gag Rule, re-introduced by President Trump yesterday, isn’t a new thing. Republican presidents have kept enforcing the ban since the mid-80s. Democratic presidents keep revoking it.
The punitive policy states that any foreign, non-governmental organization that receives funding from the U.S. cannot perform or even discuss abortion with its patients. The rule dismisses the fact that healthcare organizations affected by this ban provide other, crucial healthcare services, such as contraceptives and HIV/AIDS testing.
Who is silenced by this? Let’s see….low-income women who will be afraid to discuss needing an abortion or opening up about potentially fatal consequences of having an unsafe one.
Who suffers from this? Low-income women, of course, in poor countries with limited access to healthcare.
Who dies from this? Yup. You guessed it, low-income women who are forced to seek out medically unsafe abortions that led to fatal consequences.
(Male) politicians who continue to institute measures like the Global Gag Rule are adamant that this is for the greater good. Yet, the lack of access to safe abortions leads to female death. It’s a policy that devalues the lives and rights of women abroad.
Back on the home-front, Rep. Steve King of Iowa introduced a 6-week “heartbeat” bill today, prohibiting women from getting an abortion after a month and a half. If women make the personal decision to have a safe abortion after that 6-week mark, the provider faces financial penalties or up to 5 years of imprisonment.
This is a silencing measure as well. Threatening doctors with jail or heavy fines for performing abortions might lead them to not offer it as a service. Additionally, women who do choose that family planning option might be too afraid to share their positive experiences with others.
As we know, pro-choice activists who want to speak up and provide a different narrative around abortion (yes, some women don’t regret their abortion. Who knew?!?) continue to face online harassment.
It’s now clear that this administration is scarily focused on making severe, authoritarian proclamations on when a woman can have a child.
Trump signed the Global Gag order surrounded by men who weren’t affected by the thousands of women’s lives they’ve just endangered.
The message is chilling; it says, “Hey, women. We know better. If you die, it’s because we knew better.”