Rump’s “global gag rule’ is likely to cause more abortions, but not less

While it’s great that efforts to recoup the money that was lost due to the gag rule in the world is necessary, it’s important to realize that this isn’t an issue that is pro-life. It’s a global health problem that has grave implications for the most vulnerable population, including millions of men, women, and children living in developing nations.

The threat to services

Also called also known as the Mexico City policy, the global gag rule imposes on all non-governmental organizations working abroad to avoid advising and recommending or performing abortions for the purpose for family planning. Some NGOs, however operate in areas where abortion, whether safe or not, is the only available option for contraception.

Numerous international NGOs are focusing on increasing access to short-term as well as long-term contraception. This process takes time and funds.

Non-governmental organizations who may be required to cut or shut down health services due to the impact of the policy tend to be the sole source for women’s reproductive health services. They could, in reality be the only source of medical assistance for other health care services such as the screening of cervical cancer, HIV prevention, testing and counseling, STI prevention and treatment as well as post and pre-natal treatment as well as newborn health healthcare.

International NGOs are also encouraging contraception. Amit Gupta/Reuters

Services that are threatened by the policy are also training health professionals such as midwives and traditional birth attendants in nations that are severely lacking qualified health workers.

Most developed nations are home to 33 health specialists per 10,000 inhabitants. The majority of developing nations have two health specialists for the same amount of people. The research also indicates that births without attendants have higher rates of newborn and maternal death.

Unintended results

The first time the rule was introduced by the former US President Ronald Reagan in August 1984. Since then, it’s been removed by Democratic presidents, and then reinstated through Republican presidents.

In contrast to the time the time Reagan introduced it, have plenty of evidence to support the unintended health effects. A study from 2011 showed females were 2.73 percent more likely to undergo an abortion under the rules. While the intention might be to lower the frequency of abortions, the rule actually makes it more likely.

The lack of the availability of family planning will lead to more unplanned pregnancy with more unsafe abortions and more maternal deaths.

Sexual and Reproductive Health research organization known as the Guttmacher Institute, quantified this in the year 2016. It found that when US$607.5 million is removed from reproductive services and planning for families, 27 million couples and women are unable to access items and services for family planning. This results in six million more pregnancies that are not planned and 2.3 million additional abortions, two million of which are unsafe.

This might not be a big deal in a developed nation that has a high rate of deaths from birth and pregnancy, which is around 12 women for every 100,000 live births. However, it can affect women living in developing nations, in which the mortality rate for mothers is at 239 per 100,000 live births and in which the majority of worldwide maternal deaths happen.

As of 2000, 189 nations comprising that of the United States committed to the Millennium Development Goals. They included the commitment to improve the health of mothers by reducing mortality among mothers and ensuring the opportunity to access reproductive healthcare services before the year 2015. It was one of the less successful Millennium Development Goals, being halfway off.


Although the US is ranked 19th globally as an aid donor in percentage of gross national earnings, USAID is the largest humanitarian aid donor in terms of dollars. It provided more than $USD6.42 billion for humanitarian aid in 2015.

This implies that the global gag rule is seriously threatening the UN Sustainable Development Goal of decreasing the rate of the mortality rate of mothers at a rate of less than 70 percent of live births in 2030. It also could undermine the goal of providing access to sexual and reproductive health services, such as information, family planning, and education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *