Women’s Groups and Funders Respond to Global Gag Rule
Four successful strategies to mitigate the effects of a restrictive funding policy that the Trump administration reinstated.
By Leila Hessini
Apr. 10, 2019
As one of his first acts as president of the United States, Donald Trump reinstated a policy prohibiting organizations from receiving US government aid if they provide services, referrals, and advocacy related to abortion abroad. In late March 2019, the Trump administration expanded this policy to include subcontractors serving groups that provide or discuss abortion.
The United States is the world’s largest donor to global health, and abortion-related services are often integrated into general health care involving HIV, contraceptives, and families. The policy, known as the Mexico City Policy and dubbed the global gag rule by women’s groups to reflect the act’s intentions and impact, was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Since then, each Democratic president has rescinded it and each Republican president has reinstated it. Under Trump, the policy covers all $8.8 billion in US global health aid, nearly 15 times the reach of previous iterations.