Trump’s version of the Mexico City policy applied not only to federal family planning money, but to all U.S. global health assistance. That means it applied to as much as $10 billion in funding rather than to around $600 million.
Because organizations that care about the quality and integrity of the reproductive healthcare they offer won’t just refuse to tell women their options, the global gag rule reduces the funding available to the best caregivers. “We’d have to stop telling women and girls when they came into our clinic what their options are,” International Planned Parenthood’s director of advocacy told NPR in 2017 of Trump’s policy. “And we can’t do that.”
Lack of reproductive care is a huge problem for women around the world—“About 295,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2017,” according to WHO. More than 800 women died each day of preventable pregnancy-related causes. High quality care is desperately needed, and the global gag rule strips funding from many of the organizations that provide that.
This is a typical Republican policy in that it claims to be all about reducing abortion, but, according to one study:
Curbing US assistance to family planning organizations, especially those that consider abortion as a method of family planning, increases abortion rates in sub-Saharan Africa. Abortion rates among women in countries highly exposed to the policy rose by 4.8 abortions per 10,000 woman-years.
The Mexico City Policy reduces contraceptive use and increases pregnancies as well. The study found a symmetric reduction in use of modern contraception (relative decrease of 13.5 percent) and increase in pregnancies (12 percent) when the policy was enacted.
Biden has not been known as a longtime champion of reproductive freedom, but as president he’s doing the right thing. According to Fauci, “it will be our policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally. To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.”
Congress needs to pass a law repealing the global gag rule so that it’s not a thing that’s constantly put into place under Republican administrations and revoked under Democratic ones.