What is the global gag rule and how does it affect access to abortion around the world?

It is estimated that between 2015 and 2019 about 121 million unintended pregnancies occurred all over the world. Of them, 61% ended in abortion. This equates to around 73 million abortions each year. This can mean very different things depending on where you live. For a termination to be considered secure, it must be carried out by someone who is trained and in a clean environment. For many people, this is not an option. Then, What is the global gag rule? It is reported that President Biden will terminate the efforts of the US government. restrict access to reproductive rights and healthcare around the world through the Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule.

The global gag rule was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It states that foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive funding from the U.S. government to improve health services cannot work to provide legal abortions or referrals and do not allow money to be used to advocate for health care reform. abortion law. This applies if the NGOs plan to use their own money, not the US governments. Under the global gag rule, abortion is only allowed in cases where the parents’ lives are at risk, incest or rape.

The global gag rule forces NGOs to decide between the support of the US government and the support of the US government. ability to provide sexual and reproductive health care services around the world. Upon assuming office, the President of the United States has the option of repealing the global gag rule or supporting it.

“We need to ensure that adolescent girls and women have autonomy over their lives and bodies, and are empowered to make informed decisions,” says Rose Caldwell, executive director of Plan International UK, “That is why Plan International supports the Global HER Bill in the US Congress, which would outlaw the global gag rule by law and prevent future presidents from reinstating it through executive orders. ”

A study conducted by the US Department of State. discovered that the global gag rule disrupts access to health services, including services for HIV / AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. President Biden has made the decision to end it.

However, this comes after former President Trump expanded the global gag rule in a way that has been described by the Guttmacher Institute as “unprecedented and unjustified. “ After conducting research on the impact of the global gag rule, the institute concluded that it is “part of an armament of US foreign aid to systematically target global sexual and reproductive health and rights programs.” He has called on Congress to permanently repeal the global gag rule and support health care services that help the most vulnerable people around the world. This includes access to safe family planning facilities and terminations.

“The decision to repeal the rule does not come too soon. The Covid-19 crisis has sparked a hidden pandemic of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. Combined with reduced access to health services, this is likely to mean an increase in early and unintended pregnancies, which is already one of the leading causes of adolescent death worldwide, “says Caldwell,” in addition From health risks, early pregnancy can rob girls of their future by putting an unfair and unnecessary end to their education. “

According to research published in The Lancet, nearly half of all abortions that occur every year they are unsafe. That equates to around 25 million completions. Of those that are not safe, 97% are made in developing countries. There are many factors that make a termination safe. While it should be performed by a qualified physician in a clean environment, the World Health Organization says that patients should receive advice in advance. Any medication should be prescribed by a pharmacist and aftercare should be considered.

The Trump administration began expanding the global gag rule in 2017. He went beyond asking NGOs to act to extend reproductive health care and rights. The Guttmacher Institute reported that HIV / AIDS related projects, nutrition, malaria, water and sanitation, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases were affected.

In repealing the global gag rule, Plan International UK says: “We applaud this important decision by President Biden. Over the past four years, the expanded global gag rule has had a negative and lasting impact on millions of vulnerable girls and women around the world. It is now critical that the policy be permanently repealed. ”It could mean a renewed commitment to supporting family planning and reproductive services in the US and around the world.

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