Joe Biden Plans to Reverse Donald Trump’s Anti-Abortion Global Gag Rule

Culture

One of Donald Trump’s first moves as president in 2017 was to reinstate the Global Gag Rule—officially known as the Mexico City Policy. As ELLE reported then, the rule stripped “funding for family planning services and child health initiatives from organizations around the world that offer or even mention abortion services.”

Per NPR, on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the World Health Organization’s executive board that President Joe Biden plans to revoke the Mexico City Policy “as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.”

Under previous Republican administrations, the policy only applied to NGOs that receive family planning funds. But the Trump administration expanded it to apply to all organizations that receive any global health assistance from the U.S. This meant that maternal health initiatives, anti-Zika efforts, and HIV/AIDS work were also affected by the lack of federal funds. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the lack of funds additionally affected projects related to “nutrition, malaria, water and sanitation, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases.”

In 2019, the Trump administration did further harm to those who receive healthcare through government funding. In February of that year, the administration first announced its plan to make it illegal for healthcare providers who receive federal funding to give patients referrals for abortions. As ELLE.com pointed out that year, the rule disproportionately affected women and families of color who rely on federally funded programs for their overall healthcare. One of the biggest consequences of this rule came when Planned Parenthood decided to leave the federal program rather than comply with the Trump administration’s new restrictions.

“The Trump administration has forced Planned Parenthood grantees out of Title X,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s president said in August 2019, per NPR. “The impact of the Trump administration’s gag rule will reverberate across the country.”

The Mexico City Policy is just one reported item on a long list of Trump actions the Biden administration plans to reverse. During his campaign, he pledged to overturn what reproductive advocates refer to as the “gag rule on Title X” as well. In fact, during his first three days in office, Biden signed 30 executive orders, including imposing a national mask mandate, reversing Trump’s border wall and Muslim ban, and bolstering the Defense for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. Seventeen of these executive orders occurred on January 20, Biden’s first day in office.

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