African countries are trying to liberalize their abortion laws. Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ is making that difficult.
Activists say the policy has forced some countries to take a step backward
March 5, 2020
In 2016, churches in the small southeastern African country of Malawi did something surprising: They backed a law to expand abortion access.
At the time, Reverend Alex Benson Maulana, chair of the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), said that abortion was still a sin. But Malawi was also facing a crisis: In a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, 18 percent of those deaths were due to unsafe abortions.
Win or Lose, Trump’s Policies on Women’s Health Inflict Damage
February 25, 2020
by Barbara Crossette
Whether or not Donald Trump will be re-elected president on Nov. 3, a tough debate is likely to begin soon in the United States Congress over the national budget for the unpredictable year ahead. Reproductive health issues rank high on the agenda for women’s rights advocates.
Trump’s proposed budget would continue to restrict funds for reproductive health sharply, including family planning, to suit the antichoice crowd that is apparently considered an important vote bank. These funds, moreover, would be limited to bilateral aid to allies and other supportive nations. These “friends of Trump” are expected to be active in the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women, beginning on March 9 at the United Nations in New York. They include Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, some diplomats say.
On Abortion Rights, 2020 Democrats Move Past ‘Safe, Legal and Rare’
The Democratic presidential candidates don’t want to simply defend abortion rights. They want to go on offense.
New York Times
By Maggie Astor
Nov. 25, 2019
The Democratic presidential field has coalesced around an abortion rights agenda more far-reaching than anything past nominees have proposed, according to a New York Times survey of the campaigns. The positions reflect a hugely consequential shift on one of the country’s most politically divisive issues.
Every candidate The Times surveyed supports codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law, allowing Medicaid coverage of abortion by repealing the Hyde Amendment, and removing funding restrictions for organizations that provide abortion referrals. Almost all of them say they would nominate only judges who support abortion rights, an explicit pledge Democrats have long avoided.
UK announce £600m aid for family planning as US ramps up anti-abortion stance
Sarah Newey, Global Health Security Correspondent
23 September 2019
Britain announced a £600 million aid package for women's sexual and reproductive health and rights at the United Nations on Monday in the face of opposition from the United States.
Alok Sharma, the UK’s International Development Secretary, told delegates the UK would promote and defend “women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights” – despite the Trump administration circulating a letter calling for the phrase to be dropped on the grounds that it was being interpreted as a new international right to abortion.
At U.N., Trump Administration Professes 'No International Right To An Abortion'
September 23, 2019
The Trump administration is calling on U.N. member nations to oppose efforts to promote access to abortion internationally, a move immediately criticized by reproductive rights groups seeking greater access to the services globally.
At a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke on behalf of the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries stating that abortion is not an international human right.
How US government restrictions on foreign aid for abortion services backfired
Sep 2019, Policy Brief
By Grant Miller, Eran Bendavid, and Nina Brooks
Abortion is an issue that stirs up deeply felt passions and seems to offer little basis for compromise. But there is one thing that both sides of the debate agree on — fewer abortions are better. The pro-life side opposes abortion in principle, while pro-choice advocates generally hold that preventing unwanted pregnancies is preferable to terminating them.
That shared outlook could provide common ground on one of the most important federal initiatives concerning abortion — the Mexico City Policy. This executive order, announced in 1984 by the Reagan administration at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, requires all foreign nongovernmental organizations that get U.S. family planning assistance to certify they will not perform abortions or provide counseling about the procedure.
How billionaire philanthropy provides reproductive health care when politicians won’t
How philanthropists brought us modern contraception — and where we’d be without them.
By Kelsey Piper
Sep 17, 2019
There’s a new backlash against billionaire philanthropy. Some of its leading voices have argued that “every billionaire is a policy failure” and that it’d be better if billionaires didn’t exist at all — even if that meant the disappearance of philanthropy by billionaires.
The conversation has done a lot of valuable work, encouraging more scrutiny of charitable activity, pointing out where philanthropy is a fig leaf for misconduct, and forcing institutions to grapple with when it’s wrong to accept money that was unethically acquired.
Why the domestic gag rule is bad news
By Meredeth Turshen and Yana van der Meulen Rodgers
On July 15, the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the Title X family planning program went into effect – and one month later, Planned Parenthood clinics, which together serve about 40 percent of all Title X patients, withdrew from the program en masse. The new rules prohibit providers and staff in Title X-funded clinics like Planned Parenthood from performing some of their core functions: referring patients for abortion, and receiving funds to provide services like cancer and STI screenings while using non-federal funds to finance abortion. Instead, the rule mandates referral for prenatal care and social services like infant or foster care or adoption – effectively denying patients comprehensive counseling about pregnancy options.
The impact of U.S.’s abortion policies on international diplomacy
On August 29, 2019
WIIS Blog, Women Peace & Security
By Hannah Proctor, Research Fellow, WIIS Global
Throughout 2019, conservative states in the U.S. have been adopting increasingly restrictive abortion laws in an effort to undermine, and eventually abolish, the Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed the right to abortion based on the right to privacy. These laws and the mindsets that accompany them have far-reaching consequences that go beyond U.S. borders.
Historically, conservative U.S. administrations have relied on two main pieces of legislation to enforce their anti-abortion positions globally:
Everything You Need to Know About the Helms Amendment’s Restriction on Abortion Funding
Reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates say the Helms Amendment's ban on using foreign assistance funds for abortion deserves more attention.
Aug 23, 2019
Abortion rights are a high-profile issue for Democrats on the 2020 presidential campaign trail. Candidates have stated their opposition to abortion funding restrictions like the Hyde Amendment and the Trump administration’s expanded global “gag rule.” But little attention has been paid in the race or the media to the Helms Amendment, a ban on foreign assistance funding for abortion.
Rewire.News asked the 2020 candidates about their stance on the anti-choice policy; ten thus far say they oppose it. The Helms Amendment—named for its sponsor, the late-Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC)—states, “No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.” The abortion funding ban was passed as part of the Foreign Assistance Act in 1973 in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion in the United States.