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What is the Mexico City abortion rule?
24 January 2017, 12:48 | Ella Tate
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President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday to reinstate a policy that blocks USA foreign aid dollars from reaching any organization that provides abortion counseling or services, dubbed the "Global Gag Rule" by critics.
Known also as the "global gag rule", the policy was first enacted by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984, though it was intermittently cancelled and revived throughout the coming years.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that President Donald Trump has "made it very clear that he's a pro-life president".
The Hill reports the executive order blocks "foreign aid or federal funding for global nongovernmental organizations that provide or "promote" abortions".
The global gag rule goes much further than simply banning United States foreign aid from paying for abortions directly - which is already the law, and which has its own detrimental consequences for women. It prohibits giving US funding to nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on a wide range of family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion ― even if USA dollars are not specifically used for abortion-related services.
The order does provide exceptions in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening conditions. But there are some unintended consequences to not funding organizations that offer abortion services: more abortions.
In reality, attempts to stop abortion through restrictive laws-or by withholding family planning aid-can never eliminate abortion, because those methods do not eliminate women's need for abortion.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) told Foreign Policy last week that she has planned a legislative response in anticipation of Trump's executive order.
Some people think that Trump's action is a response to the women's marches on Saturday. Obama signed an executive order early in his presidency to reverse it.
The majority of aid from USAID through Global Health Programs is directed at countries that have few family planning options of their own, such as those in Africa and Asia as well as a small number of European and south American nations. The rule applies to countries in which abortion is legal.
On the other side of the argument, Pro-life groups and advocates of the policy applaud the rule's return.
Yet again, a rule is back in effect to block US global family-planning assistance from organizations that use other money to discuss or pay for abortions in other countries.
It has been illegal for US foreign aid to be used to fund abortion since the passage of the Helms Amendment in 1973.
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