Comment writer Zoe Olukoga considers where the voice of opposition comes from today, and how necessary it isWritten by Redbrick on 18th February 2017
Dear Trump: Global Gag Rule
Helena Shaw writes to Donald Trump about his expansion of the Global Gag Rule
First you threaten to build a wall, and I thought you were an idiot, then you sexually assaulted more than a dozen women and I thought you were a pervert, now you’re risking the health of people worldwide for the sake of unborn foetuses.
By expanding the Global Gag Rule, a rule which prevents international family planning providers from performing or promoting abortion as a means of family planning if they are receiving aid from the US government, you are putting thousands of lives outside of your country, lives that you have no jurisdiction over, at risk. What the hell, man. I’ll accept your choice to reinstate the law, originally passed by Reagan, as all your republican predecessors have done, in fact out of the past 33 years, 17 of those, the law has been in place. I get it, we all bow down to peer pressure one time or another. But do you seriously understand the weight of what you are doing, or did the idea come to you as a brain headed scheme in order to get extreme right wing support and further piss of the women of the world? It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-life or pro-choice, this isn’t about the unborn children, this is about the health of women right now. By extending this law to all global health organisations that receive US funding, you put lives at risk. Organisations that address major health issues from aids to malaria and TB risk losing their funding for simply mentioning something that you don’t like. Experts are now saying that this Gag Rule will apply to 15 times more funding then it used to.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-life or pro-choice, this isn’t about the unborn children, this is about the health of women right now.
What’s more, it is not uncommon for institutions that refuse to sign this pledge to shut down. In 2003, the planned parenthood association of Ghana rejected the pledge and, as such, nursing staff was reduced to 44% and 1327 communities affected by the cuts. In fact Marie Stopes International is predicting that the loss of this funding will result in 21,700 maternal deaths. The issue here is under this rule regular access to contraception gets patchy, this leads to more unwanted pregnancies and the rate of abortions increase with women turning to unsafe options such as bleach or natural herbs. The World Health Organization reported, in 2011, a correlation between the Gag Rule and a rise in abortions in Sub-Saharan Africa, seeing masses of maternal deaths across the world.
The only shining light in this festering turd of a rule is the stance of other countries. For instance, up to 20 countries indicate support to plug the $600 million funding gap through a fund set up by the Netherlands, which hopes to start arranging funding within the next two or three weeks. What’s more, we’re even seeing the UK stepping up with a chorus of MPs and charities writing to the development secretary to increase funding, with the department being keen to continue being a global leader on family planning commission.
So screw you Trump, you can build your wall, you can grab some pussy, but you cannot risk the health of and dictate rules over women’s bodies in the rest of the world, because the rest of the world will be there to stop you.
Article by Helena Shaw