If you haven’t done your own research on the subject, the chances of you believing a click-bait title like this one are high. And while a multitude of Trump’s recent domestic and international policy decisions have left many in tears, one of the most talked about topics (besides “The Great Wall of Trump”) is his conservative pro-life agenda.
Back in 1999, Trump claimed to be pro-choice when he sat down with Meet the Press. Unfortunately, it’s 2017, and Trump has backtracked on his previous claim with his reinstatement of the “Mexico City” policy. Originally instituted by President Ronald Reagan back in 1984, the “Mexico City” policy prohibits NGOs (Non-Governmental organization) that receive government aid from distributing, promoting, or providing women with abortions and/or abortion information. An important thing to note about this policy is that it only limits international organizations. What does this mean for women in the United States? Organizations like Planned Parenthood are still up and running in the States but international organizations such as the Center of Reproductive Health (CRH), whose focus is “ensuring reproductive health and freedom as a fundamental human right,” will be defunded by the federal government if they continue to inform women about abortion options. Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center of Reproductive Health was quoted as saying that the reinstitution of the “Mexico City” policy will only increase “unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal and newborn deaths”.
Unfortunately, with organizations such as the CRH facing budget cuts, women in third-world countries living in impoverished, conservative environments are due to suffer the most. In the majority of Latin America, African states, and the Middle East abortions are completely outlawed, with the exception of some countries such as Argentina, Ghana, and Pakistan which permit abortions only to preserve the health of the expectant mother. In reaction to Trump’s executive order, the Netherlands’ Minister of Foreign Trade, Lilianne Ploumen, announced that she will be establishing an international fund to finance family planning education around the world. The Netherlands has initiated the fund with $10 million, and urges other nations to join.
Trump’s “Global Gag Rule,” a nickname for this ill-received executive order, hasn’t just affected women internationally – outrage has sparked across the nation. Activists have raised their arms in protest, reminding the American public that this is a step backwards from the landmark victory in Roe v Wade back in 1973. Some have wondered if this executive order can repeal the Supreme Court decision made in 1973, but the Supreme Court ruling continues to stand for the time being. The ruling can only be reversed (indirectly) in one of two ways; 1. through the use of fetal-pain laws, which prohibit abortions once a fetus feels pain, or, 2. through the use of TRAP laws (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers), which require abortion providers to jump through restrictive hoops in order to perform the procedure.
Fortunately, five out of the eight current Justices of the Supreme Court are in favor of female reproductive rights, including abortions – meaning that the decision made on Roe v. Wade is safe for now. This balance may shift if Trump’s nominatee Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado is approved by the Senate, but the shift will only move slightly right, leaving the justices on a 5-4 stand.
Even though this policy doesn’t affect any reproductive services offered in the U.S., female bodily autonomy is still at risk of being tempered with old, white men in Capitol Hill. Earlier in his campaign, Trump stated that he supports an abortion ban in the U.S., allowing exceptions only in the case of rape or incest. His conservative stance on abortion is a great prediction of policy he may enact in the future, but only time will tell. In the meantime, women everywhere should obtain as much information about reproductive resources available, and stay up to date with current events. Remember, women around the world lost their rights to reproductive health with this policy, but women in the U.S. still have resources available. Planned Parenthood offers free birth control, free Plan-B pills, and free contraceptives and it’s 100% confidential. Don’t doubt contraceptives and proceed safely when engaging in sexual encounters to avoid unwanted pregnancies. With a character like Trump in office and female reproductive rights running perilous danger, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP