Attempts at rebranding the policy as “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” represent a deadly deception, as this is sure to prove lethal for women and vulnerable communities worldwide
Washington, DC – Today, just one day after Mother’s Day and during National Women’s Health Week, the Trump-Pence administration released implementation guidance for Trump’s expanded global gag rule under the ironic name “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.” The guidelines contain information on how the expanded global gag rule – a U.S. foreign assistance policy already unprecedented in its deadly scope – should be implemented.
“Yesterday, we celebrated mothers and the vital role they serve in society. Today, one day into Women’s Health Week, Trump has gutted lifesaving care for women and communities around the world,” said Latanya Mapp Frett, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global. “This policy is sure to tragically increase the number of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and women dying from pregnancy-related complications around the world. It will also increase infant and child deaths globally. We know this because we saw it under previous versions of the policy – and this rule goes even further.”
In January, Trump signed into law the expanded global gag rule, which targets international organizations that work on any U.S. funded global health program, including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, and Zika programs. As of today, these groups will be banned from all global health funding from the U.S. government if they also happen to provide counseling, referrals, services, or advocate for safe and legal abortion – even with their own funding. Previously, when in effect, this policy only applied to U.S. international family planning assistance. Today, it implicates 15 times more funding and the lives of millions of women and their families.
“Whether through willful ignorance or an utter disregard for the lives of the world’s most vulnerable women, the Trump administration continues to trample on progress without even the semblance of strategy. It is especially disappointing to see the administration continue to push policy driven by ideology instead of evidence,” said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President. “There is a sickening irony to the rebranding of this policy as ‘protecting life’ when we’ve seen time and again how the global gag rule has harmed women and increased maternal mortality. This deeply unpopular policy only serves to deny women and families life-saving health care. In short, Trump’s global gag rule endangers the lives of mothers and hurts families, and it undermines America’s moral authority on the world stage.”
A study of 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa found that the abortion rate rose during the George W. Bush administration in countries affected by the ban. And a recent analysis by the independent Kaiser Family Foundation found that, based on FY 2016 data, the policy could mean that health care providers in 37 countries will be prohibited from providing medical care that is legal in their country. In every country around the world, adult individuals working at organizations receiving global health assistance will be prohibited from advocating for their completely legal rights as a condition of U.S. support for their global health efforts.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With nearly 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
For over 40 years Planned Parenthood Federation of America has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world through our international arm, Planned Parenthood Global. In partnership with more than 50 organizations across 12 focus countries in Africa and Latin America, we advance the health and rights of young people, women and families, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. Last year, our partners reached over a million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services provided by our partners. Our unique sustainability model sets us apart, as we empower partners to stand on their own. We help grassroots organizations develop solid reproductive health programs, identify other sources of funding, build their communications and advocacy skills, and develop strategic plans.