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Donald Trump’s ‘Global Gag’ Puts Women’s Lives at Great Risk

New Delhi: US President Donald Trump has hit the ground running.  One of his first acts as the US​’ 45th President has been to reinstate the draconian ‘Global Gag’ rule.

This rule mandates that any overseas organization receiving U.S. aid can’t have ‘anything to do with abortion.’ These organisations can’t even speak ​of abortion (essentially gagging NGOs when it comes to giving reproductive advice, hence the name).

Not just that, they cannot even offer abortion services using their own funds, irrespective of the legality of abortion in the country they operate from. This gag also prohibits aid to any organisation that even lists abortion as part of family planning methods, and for those NGOs that are found violating this blanket ban, the aid gets cut off- thus choking all health services they offer.

This was first introduced in 1984 by then American President Ronald Reagan and in 2009 you had Barack Obama rescinding it and now, thanks to Donald Trump the clock has turned back and women’s lives are at peril.

The Global Gag Rule 

Through this latest executive order, Trump has struck a body blow to women’s reproductive rights- ironically, not in the country he governs but across the world.

In the run up to the elections, Trump had claimed ‘there has to be some punishment for women who have abortions’,  Donald Trump: “There has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions and the punishment he was referring to appears to be making women who abort, pay with their lives- and no, that statement is not a feminist hyperbole.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, over 600 million dollars in aid was handed out for family planning and reproductive health by the US in 2016. This fund helped avert 6 million unintended pregnancies, prevented 2 million unsafe abortions and saved the lives of 11,000 women.

Hundreds of women die every year due to unsafe abortions- that’s nearly 13% of all maternal deaths globally Impact of Global gag Rule  and with the global gag in place, these numbers will skyrocket.

Various surveys suggest that far from curbing abortions, the gag rule in the past has led to an increase in unsafe terminations.

Gag me: Trump’s anti-abortion executive order

According to an estimate by Marie Stopes International, 21,700 maternal deaths will be reported between 2017 and 2020 and 2.2 million women will go in for abortions of which 2.1 million will be unsafe terminations.

Marie Stopes International-Children by Choice,Not Chance

Before he was sworn-in, there were legitimate concerns of the kind of havoc a Trump Presidency would wreak on women’s rights- and this is the first step Trump after coming to power- deliberately setting women back by decades, if not centuries and he’s not done. It’s become amply clear where his administration’s priorities lie.

The irony of the timing of this executive order is hard to miss.

At least 3 million people marched across the US The Long March Ahead For Democrats protesting Trump’s misogyny and in support of women’s rights and equality, Trump signed off on the global gag rule- surrounded by his mostly white, privileged male Cabinet

Also Read: Misogyny in the ‘Time’ of Donald Trump

As long as you live you’ll never see a photograph of 7 women signing legislation about what men can do with their reproductive organs

— Martin Belam (@MartinBelam) January 23, 2017

If you’re wondering what patriarchy looks like: A group of white men watch as Trump reinstates the #GlobalGagRule

— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 23, 2017

This group just made it more difficult for women to get access to health care worldwide. You tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 23, 2017

No one respects women like Donald Trump, who signed an anti-abortion executive order today surrounded by nothing but men.

— shauna (@goldengateblond) January 23, 2017

For everyone who wondered why we march & fight for our rights. Looking at this makes me feel sick & fight harder.

— SophieWalker (@SophieRunning) January 23, 2017

First “grab them by the pussy” Then get rid of their reproductive rights. The Oval office: the world’s most powerful locker room.

— Gary Younge (@garyyounge) January 23, 2017

Here’s President Trump signing an executive order that endangers millions of women around the world. Notice anyone missing?

— Chirlane McCray (@NYCFirstLady) January 23, 2017