Mexico City Policy

Global Gag Order: A Ban on Abortions

You heard it folks: there is a ban on abortions.

Okay, okay, it only applies where federal money is going to international groups that perform or provide information on abortions. I.e. it only applies outside of USA borders. (This is still a major problem!).

Now this is not something new, for many a decade Republicans and Democrats have been going back and forth on this issue. Some might remember it as the Mexico City policy or the global gag order.* It started with Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984 with stopping the funding for international groups which perform or provide information on abortion. The tug-o-war on this continued from Clinton, to Bush, to Obama. But just because it’s happened before does not mean that it is alright to take these rights away from women.

There are several things about this that get my blood boiling (and fill me with terror and sadness);

  1. This takes away a woman’s right to choose.
  2. This takes away a woman’s control over her own fertility.
  3. This takes away a woman’s right to complete and full advice on family planning.
  4. This in ways censors organisations from giving women all the information, and providing essential care.
  5. This will result in a rise in unsafe abortions, which could result in death.¹
  6. Trivially, why was there no woman in the photograph: Are men eminently qualified to make such decisions about women’s health care?¹

In the face of all of this, what brings tears to my eyes (because of the good in the world) is that the Dutch have stepped in (#ThankYouToTheDutch). They are stepping in to support an international abortion fund which will help to mitigate the some harmful effects of Trump’s atrocious, ogre-defining, uncivil global gag order. The fund, announced by Dutch Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen, will help those groups that wish to continue providing birth control and abortions to women who need it. I do hope other organisations and governments also step up, join the cause, and help provide this essential health care for women.

Population Action International (PAI) describes the ban well: “The only goal the policy will achieve is to punish women in already challenging circumstances by blocking access to essential care.”

And Ploumen’s words are one to remember: Speaking of the Netherland’s taking an independent stance, even if it sets the Dutch government against the Trump administration, she said: “I’m pro-choice and pro-women’s rights. It’s important to stand your ground…We respect the decisions of a democratically elected president, but we’re democratically elected too and we can make different decisions…This is also about millions of women and girls who often have no voice or live in countries where democracy is less deeply rooted, and when they speak up they need our support.”


¹ Activists say that Trump’s global gag order will lead to deaths: Read more here, and here, and here where there is also some talk of the new patriarchy.

² Many thanks to the Dutch Government for stepping in with their international abortion fund.

*P.s. we’re noticing a trend: gag-orders galore. For more gag-order related news watch out for Friday’s post by Bookpheonix.