Battery acid, cassava sticks and clothes hangers: We must end the global gag rule

Critics say the policy has led to deep cuts in funding for family planning

Nelly Munyasia, Womba Wanki
2 Dec 2020

On 23 January 2017, United States President Donald Trump issued an expansion of the Mexico City Policy, or “global gag rule” (GGR), last implemented under George W Bush. The GGR blocks US global health assistance to any foreign nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) that perform abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the woman; provide counselling on, or referrals for, abortion; or lobby for the liberalisation of abortion law. This stance is enforced even if the NGOs use non-US funds for these aspects of healthcare.

She Decides — a global women’s rights movement, of which we’re both members — was a direct response to the reinstatement of the GGR and its devastating effect on the lives and freedoms of women and girls. We are, therefore, encouraged by early indications that president-elect Joe Biden is expected to rescind this devastating rule as one of the new administration’s first acts.

Continued: https://mg.co.za/africa/2020-12-02-battery-acid-cassava-sticks-and-clothes-hangers-we-must-end-the-global-gag-rule/


Abortion is legal in Namibia, but only if a woman is in danger or has been sexually abused.

Activists are demanding reform.

By Aisha Salaudeen, and Bukola Adebayo, CNN
Thu November 26, 2020

(CNN) What do you do when your country is torn between decriminalizing abortion and maintaining its colonial abortion laws? Start a debate.

That's the idea being put forward by Esther Muinjangue, Namibia's deputy minister of health and social services.

Continued: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/26/africa/namibia-abortion-reform-intl/index.html


Kenyan Reproductive Health Nurse Explains The Chilling Impact Of The Global Gag Rule & How She Defends Women’s Health

November 5, 2020

Since Ronald Reagan first implemented the Mexico City Policy in 1984, also known as the “Global Gag Rule”, every Republican President elected since then has signed this into law. The policy blocks U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocate to decriminalize abortion, or expand abortion services.

But when Trump took office in January 2017, two days after the historic Women’s March, he not only signed the GGR (which President Obama did not), he implemented an expanded version which impacted not just family planning NGOs, but all U.S. global health assistance, increasing the amount of money affected by the policy from roughly $600 million to about $12 billion in estimated planned funding in 2018. The new iteration covered work unrelated to family planning, including projects related to HIV/AIDS, nutrition, malaria, water and sanitation, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Continued: https://www.girltalkhq.com/kenyan-reproductive-health-nurse-explains-the-chilling-impact-of-the-global-gag-rule-how-she-defends-womens-health/


Report: International Conference on Population & Development+25

International Conference on Population & Development+25
Nairobi, Kenya, 12-13-14 November 2019

Press Release: 22 November 2019

What was it about: some history

This conference has taken place every five years, beginning in 1994. At each follow-up meeting, the overarching purpose has been to measure progress (and the lack of progress) in implementing the 1994 Programme of Action, which was agreed by acclamation by the representatives of 179 countries, and the follow-up actions added at subsequent conferences. An excellent summary of the aims, goals and history of the conference can be found here and a 20th anniversary edition of the Programme of Action can be found here along with a global report on progress published in 2014.

In 1994, UNFPA, the conference convenor, described the Programme of Action as: “a bold new vision about the relationships between population, development and individual well-being… remarkable in its recognition that [sexual and] reproductive health and reproductive rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes. The Consensus is rooted in principles of human rights and respect for national sovereignty and various religious and cultural backgrounds.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/press-release-international-conference-population-development-25?e=372dd34034


Malawi – ‘There are times when the whole country runs out of condoms’

'There are times when the whole country runs out of condoms'
Organisations around the world have been badly hit by Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the so-called global gag rule. Here’s what’s happening in Malawi.

July 13, 2019
Charlotte Ryan reports from Malawi

ANGELA SOUZA CAREFULLY unwraps a large box of condoms, individually packaged in silver foil. There is no branding on each one, though the red-blue-and-white USAID sticker on the side of the box suggests their origin.

In this context, they appear as valuable as silver coins. Rodney Chalera, the programmes manager at the advocacy group where Angela also works in Lilongwe, Malawi, explains that there are times “when the whole country runs out of condoms”. Indeed, by the close of the afternoon, two women had asked for some for the road. Just in case.

Continued: https://www.thejournal.ie/global-gag-order-malawi-4711902-Jul2019/


Trump abortion ‘gag rule’ hurts AIDS fight, advocates say

Trump abortion 'gag rule' hurts AIDS fight, advocates say
The ban on abortion funding hurts clinics that provide a broad range of health services, experts said at the International AIDS Conference.

by Maggie Fox
Jul.27.2018

The Trump administration’s rollout of the so-called global gag rule, which keeps foreign aid from going to groups that provide abortion services, is already damaging efforts to battle the AIDS epidemic, advocates and researchers said Friday.

The new policy is also leading to closures of clinics that provide broad health services, including AIDS drugs, they said at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. And it could undo years of efforts to build up health systems in developing countries.

Continued: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/trump-abortion-gag-rule-hurts-aids-fight-advocates-say-n895316


Reproductive Health should not be a Political Football

Reproductive Health should not be a Political Football
24.07.2018 In: News, FIGO news

According to UNFPA, the US contribution of $69 million in 2016 saved 2,340 women from dying in childbirth, prevented just under one million unintended pregnancies, provided 1,250 fistula surgeries and prevented nearly 300,000 unsafe abortions!

Sadly, by March 2017, as a result of the re-imposed so-called ‘Global Gag Rule,’ following the US Presidential Election, reproductive health and family planning funds were slashed significantly by the US Government (aid through the State Department and USAID).

Continued: https://www.figo.org/news/reproductive-health-should-not-be-political-football


South Africa – It takes more than pro-choice laws to end deaths from unsafe abortions

It takes more than pro-choice laws to end deaths from unsafe abortions
South Africa legalised abortion in 1997. Yet so few clinics offer them that women still risk their lives by turning to illegal means

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng
Wed 6 Jun 2018

I have been an abortion provider for as long as I have been a qualified doctor. In the past five years, I have been inundated with emails, social media requests and calls from women from all walks of life desperate for my help.

I will never forget one young woman who came to the public clinic in the West Rand township near Johannesburg, panicking about massive blood loss from her vagina. It was only after some prompting that she and a family member admitted to using abortion pills purchased outside a shopping centre. She bought the pills after being denied an abortion by the local clinic, where health workers told her “We don’t do those things here,” and shamed her for being young and sexually active.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jun/06/pro-choice-laws-deaths-unsafe-abortions-south-africa-dr-tlaleng-mofokeng


Kenyan Clinic Rejects Trump Abortion Policy, Loses $2 Million In U.S. Aid

Kenyan Clinic Rejects Trump Abortion Policy, Loses $2 Million In U.S. Aid

May 2, 2018
Sasha Ingber

On January 23, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that bans U.S. aid to any health organization in another country that provides abortions, advocates or makes referrals for the procedure.

The full impact of the order won't be felt until September. That's when the U.S. government fiscal year comes to an end. At that point, every international organization that does not comply with the order will be excluded from U.S. funding, says Marjorie Newman-Williams, president of Marie Stopes International-US, an organization that provides contraception and safe abortion in dozens of countries.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/05/02/604425181/kenyan-clinic-rejects-trump-abortion-policy-loses-2-million-in-u-s-aid


UK aid official offers ‘loud and strong’ support for access to abortion worldwide

UK aid official offers 'loud and strong' support for access to abortion worldwide

By Sophie Edwards
09 March 2018

LONDON — A top United Kingdom aid official has reassured advocates that the Department for International Development remains a “loud and strong voice for universal access to sexual and reproductive health” services, including abortion, for women and girls in developing countries.

Speaking at the launch of a new report from the U.K. All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health, which calls for the U.K. government to support safe abortion at home and abroad, international development minister Alistair Burt said:

Continued: https://www.devex.com/news/uk-aid-official-offers-loud-and-strong-support-for-access-to-abortion-worldwide-92282