How Trump's latest efforts to stop abortion increasingly undermine global health
Canada recently committed a record amount toward safe abortion services. Will that be enough to combat the impacts of the US' revised ‘global gag rule’?
By: Urooba Jamal
July 16, 2019
The dilemma for a health organization is hard to fathom.
In 2018, two young women died at the hands of knitting needles and other everyday objects in Kenya, where seven women die each day in an attempt to induce an abortion on their own, bereft of safer options.
Even two years earlier, their deaths might have been prevented. But a local organization that would have previously referred them to abortion provision services was forced to choose between giving sexual and reproductive healthcare advice or signing a “global gag rule” and stopping that program, in order to continue to provide HIV services to its 10,000 clients.
African Women's Rights Groups Dismayed By US Abortion Move
JOHANNESBURG – The United States' relationship with Africa has always been somewhat strained, as unequal match ups often are, and president Donald Trump's abrasive rhetoric towards the region has not helped.
Ironically, however, his administration's crackdown on abortion will likely resonate with most of the continent's political leaders, even as it alienates rights groups which have historically held Washington up as a champion of personal freedoms they accuse African leaders of stifling.
New report details the devastating impact of President Trump’s Global Gag Rule
Wednesday, 5 June 2019
Experts at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference discuss the impact of US funding restrictions and the need for data-driven programs and policies to increase access to safe abortion
(Vancouver, Canada) – A new report released today at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference reveals that the Global Gag Rule is reducing the quality and availability of care, particularly for marginalized communities, in four countries studied. Advocates, researchers and implementing partners discussed the findings from the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) detailing the effects of the expanded US Global Gag Rule, as well as a new evidence-gathering initiative by several partner organizations designed to increase access to safe abortion.
US global gag rule abortion policy 'killing women': IWHC
5 Jun 2019
Report highlights 'devastating impact' of Trump's reinstatement of ban on foreign aid to groups that discuss abortion.
The Trump administration's reinstatement and expansion of the global gag rule has "deprived women of essential healthcare" and is "ultimately killing" women worldwide, the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) said in a report released on Wednesday.
"This deadly policy violates the rights of patients and ties the hands of providers," IWHC President Francoise Girard said in a statement. "After two years of implementation, the impact is clear: The Global Gag Rule reduces access to contraceptives and abortion care, leading to unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and preventable deaths."
Trump Administration Expands Assault on Global Abortion Access
April 18, 2019
Nina Besser Doorley
In March, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced two significant escalations in the Trump administration’s attacks on sexual and reproductive rights globally: a new expansion to the already-devastating Global Gag Rule and the unprecedented use of the Siljander Amendment to attack funding for a multilateral organization, the Organization of American States.
While the latest expansion to the Global Gag Rule has been well publicized, the use of the Siljander Amendment—an obscure legislative provision that prohibits the use of US funds for abortion-related lobbying—to cut more than $200,000 in US funding to the Organization of American States (OAS) has received less attention. Nonetheless, the use of this provision sets a dangerous precedent by attempting to force global human rights bodies to bow to US political pressure.
The Global Gag Rule Has Put Women in Danger for Decades. Here’s How We Can Stop It.
The Global HER Act would remove reckless restrictions on international recipients of U.S. funding.
Feb 7, 2019
Vanessa Rios & Nina Besser Doorley
On January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated the “global gag rule,” singlehandedly undermining women’s health worldwide with a stroke of his pen. The policy prohibits any U.S. global health funding to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide, counsel, refer, or advocate for abortion—even with their own funds—resulting in life-threatening consequences.
While previous iterations of the global gag rule covered only family planning spending, President Trump expanded it to cover all global health funds—a staggering $9 billion per year to NGOs that cover a range of health needs, from maternal and child health to malaria treatment. Even in its more limited forms, the policy backfired, increasing unintended pregnancies, maternal mortality, and unsafe abortions. Evidence suggests that the current version is producing a similar effect on an even larger scale.
Kenya lifts ban on Marie Stopes abortion services after warning lives are at risk
Clinics reopen in country where backstreet abortions kill seven women a day and hospitalise 320
Fri 21 Dec 2018
The Kenyan government has lifted a ban preventing the international charity Marie Stopes from providing any abortion services, following warnings the ruling endangered the lives of thousands of women.
The Kenyan ministry of health said on Thursday that an audit of Marie Stopes’ clinics had been completed and that the charity could resume post-abortion care services under “regular supervision”.
Beyond Abortion: A Podcast on All Things SRHR
October 3, 2018
Abortion rights. Contraception. Child, early, and forced marriage. Gender-based violence. Comprehensive sexuality education. Access to screenings and care for reproductive cancers. These are just a few of the critical issues that fall under the umbrella of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Yet, too many people live under restrictions that limit their knowledge of and access to crucial sexual and reproductive rights and health services. Moreover, there are still fundamental misunderstandings about what SRHR comprises, who it serves, and why it is a core human right
IWHC senior program officer, Nina Besser Doorley recently joined the RePROS Fight Back podcast to answer pressing questions about what defines these rights, how they are restricted, and what we can do to protect and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
This podcast was originally published by RePROS Fight Back.
Why the fight for legal abortion is only half the battle
July 13, 2018
By Shannon Kowalski and Susan Wood
For years, Irish women have been forced to travel abroad or seek underground abortion services. But, a historic vote in May delivered a landslide rebuke that rescinded the country’s constitutional provision recognizing the equal rights to life of both a woman and a fetus, opening the door to expanded reproductive autonomy. The euphoria over this victory has barely settled, and already steps are being taken to curb Irish women’s hard-won right. The new front of resistance to women’s rights emerges from those who seek to allow medical professionals to deny women abortion services based on their own religious or moral beliefs. It would be a mistake for Ireland’s legislators to allow such refusals, which ultimately endanger and discriminate against women.
Since 2000, 28 countries have liberalized their abortion laws. In response to this progress, anti-choice advocates and policy makers have mounted a deliberate campaign to undermine women’s access to legal abortion services. A primary tactic has been establishing laws and policies that allow doctors to opt out of fulfilling their professional obligation to provide health care services on the basis of their personal beliefs. The use of these so-called “conscience” claims is on the rise worldwide.
Unconscionable: Health workers' right to refuse abortions vs women's right to choose
When religion trumps science in medicine, women's bodies and Constitutional rights may be caught in the crossfire.
21 Jun 2018
Marion Stevens, Mandi Mudarikwa
South Africa‘s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act legalises voluntary abortion at different stages of pregnancy. Although viewed as a generally liberal law, the Act has not effectively enabled broad and consistent access for women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
One of the reasons has been some health providers’ and facilities’ refusal to treat women who need abortion care.