EDITORIAL: Hurting more than just abortion
President’s restoring of global gag rule will impact family planning
With over 2.9 million people protesting in the Women’s March just this past weekend, it seems like President Donald J. Trump’s latest reinstatement of the Mexico City policy, or global gag rule, on women’s health seems like a severe punch to the gut and to the uterus.
The enactment of the Mexico City policy would mean that international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that offered family planning and reproductive health options would be cut off from receiving federal funding if they offered abortion services. This makes it hard to believe that Trump was even aware of the protests happening around him.
It was no secret that Trump was a pro-life candidate. It was one of the stances in his campaign that his supporters were passionate about. But this is not just a shot at women who obtain abortions. This is a shot at women as a whole.
According to the details of the policy, these NGOs will only receive government funding if they choose to eliminate their abortion services. If they fail to do this, the government essentially retracts their funding and leaves them to raise money for themselves. This is telling women that the act of getting an abortion warrants punishment. This is also sending a message to these NGOs, frightening them out of offering these services. Imagine having to choose between offering a service and getting funding cut, and removing an essential aspect of service in order to remain in business. Trump is bullying family planning organizations out of offering a procedure that some women have no other choice but to obtain. In fact, the policy states that “it is unclear as to whether or not services are actually provided under (rape, incest and life endangerment).” How can someone who just witnessed millions of women (and men) voice their anger and concern over the neglect of their needs still manage to turn a blind eye? How disconnected is Trump from his nation’s people to enact such a law?
The worst part of this law is the blow it sends to contraceptives in general. Say that an NGO decides that it cannot sustain its services without governmental assistance in funding and that there is no way to receive the funds from an outside force. The NGO would have to be shut down. This does not just mean that abortion services would go away. This means every service offered by that NGO would go away as well. And despite the belief of many members of the Republican Party, abortion is not the only family service that women visit these NGOs for. According to the statistics of Planned Parenthood, a popular organization that has been under deep scrutiny by Trump’s administration, only 3 percent of their total 10.6 million services account for abortions. The rest, including testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, contraception-related services, cancer screenings including Pap smears and pregnancy and prenatal services. These are all of the things Trump and his policy are putting at risk. But of course, there are concerns about whether Trump prioritizes contraceptive services at all. Many women, after the announcement of Trump’s win, flocked to their gynecologists and asked about immediate IUD insertion because of the fear of Trump repealing the Affordable Care Act, leading to the fall of their contraceptive options. In an administration that does not seem to favor abortion or contraceptive use, it is difficult to find a direction women can turn to.
Everything seems to be slowly falling apart, and women seem to be standing and watching as it happens. Rather than taking initiatives to improve sexual health education or creating easier channels to contraceptives, Trump and his administration have, yet again, put the pressure on the women of the country. And with it still being within the first five days of his presidency, one might wonder what other obstacles women are going to face.
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