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After Trump’s First Week as President

More important than Ever to Protect Women’s Right to Abortion

By: Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

Last week was the inauguration of President Donald Trump. This was met with a global protest the following day, which millions of people participated in across the world. It is said to have been the largest protest in US in history.

Only two days after the Women’s March and one day after the anniversary of Wade vs Roe, President Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule. This is an executive policy that prevents organizations from receiving US foreign aid if they provide or perform information about abortion as a method of family planning.

Once the text of the order was revealed, it was discovered that Trump did not merely reinstate the Gag Rule, he also expanded it far beyond what Reagan and Bush ever did. Where previous republican administration have only applied the Gag Rule to family planning assistance, which in 2016 would cover a $608 million budget, Trump’s Gag Rule censors all “global health assistance.” This would apply to a budget of nearly $10.3 billion. This will force even more organizations to circumvent abortion speech and services to an even larger extent. This difference will have deadly consequences and increase the number of women who die from unsafe abortion each year.

Fortunately, Trump’s Gag Rule has already met international resistance and efforts to minimize its damages. GJC President Janet Benshoof has previously said that the reinstatement of the Gag Rule will only “put the US further out of step with our allies.” The EU has already taken action to protect their humanitarian aid from US abortion restrictions by making it explicit in their budget that their humanitarian funds are not subject to partner donor restrictions. In response to the expansion, the Dutch government immediately set up an abortion fund to cover costs of abortion services for women in developing countries. Some foreign organizations have started fundraising campaigns similar to the one of the Dutch government.

GJC will continue working with the international community to minimize the effects of these changes in US aid. Protecting a woman’s right to safe abortion services saves lives around the world. It is exactly in these times that we need to stand together against the Trump administration’s threats to human rights.