Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The effect of the so-called "global gag rule" on international health programs and women's health in particular is "expected to be profoundly damaging," according to Human Rights Watch. (Photo: NARAL/Twitter)

Huge Crowd Marches on White House to Protest Trump's Global Gag Rule

The president's expansion of the policy "is just the first of many attempts the Trump administration will make to strip away our sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice"

Deirdre Fulton

Hundreds of women marched in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, protesting President Donald Trump's reinstatement of the so-called "global gag rule"—a "failed, deadly policy" they say "threatens access to safe abortion and other basic healthcare for millions of people around the world."

Trump signed an executive order reinstating and "dramatically expanding" the rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, on his first full business day in office. The policy cuts off U.S. aid for international NGOs that offer abortion services, even provide information or referrals on abortion, or advocate to make abortion more accessible.

"We know that this egregious attack on the health and lives of women and other people who depend on U.S.-funded health programs for their care is just the first of many attempts the Trump administration will make to strip away our sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice," organizers wrote in their call-to-action for Wednesday's protest, one of many marking International Women's Day.

In an analysis published Tuesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted, as others have done, that the rule threatens the health and safety of women and families around the world.

But the organization went further, pointing out that Trump's version of the rule is worse than previous incarnations. Under prior Republican administrations, HRW explained, "the restrictions in the Mexico City Policy applied specifically to U.S. family planning funds"—about $575 million. But now:

Trump's policy extends restrictions to all U.S. global health assistance—which could be up to $9.5 billion in funding support for family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS—including PEPFAR, infectious diseases, malaria, TB, and neglected tropical diseases. The effects on these programs are still unknown but are expected to be profoundly damaging.

"In effect, Trump's global gag rule will produce a funding gap for some organizations that provide the highest quality services in some of the most under-resourced communities and countries," HRW wrote.

There have been international efforts to fill that gap. Just last week, the Canadian government pledged up to $20 million to fund sexual health and family planning initiatives as part of the global campaign called "She Decides." The first gathering of that group, held March 2, raised close to $200 million from countries and philanthropists. 

Learn more about Wednesday's action and opposition to the gag rule under the hashtags #TrumpGlobalGag and #NoAbortionBan:

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'This Cannot Happen': Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians.

Jessica Corbett ·

Global Vaccine Goals 'Fall Terribly Short' Due to Big Pharma and Rich Nations' Greed: Experts

"Wealthy nations are using up the world's vaccine supply, and developing nations are suffering and losing thousands of people every day."

Brett Wilkins ·

11 Senators Support House Progressives' Push to Pass Full Biden Agenda

"We voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the clear commitment that the two pieces of the package would move together along a dual track."

Jessica Corbett ·

Ex-Prisoners Recall US Torture at 'Afghanistan's Abu Ghraib'

"It is psychologically hard for me to recall all that was happening," said one former Bagram Air Base inmate. "The torture was mostly done by Afghans, sometimes the Americans. But the orders came from the U.S."

Brett Wilkins ·

Rapid Shift to Electric Vehicles Could Create Over 150,000 Jobs in US by 2030

A new report says "smart" pro-labor policies by lawmakers would transform the "inevitable" shift to EVs "into a new beginning for U.S. producers and the rebuilding of a foundation for good jobs."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo