‘Global gag rule,’ aka the Mexico City policy, aka the anti-abortion crusaders’ football, makes its depressing return

Here’s a handy policy sheet on the “Global Gag Rule” for those who are understandably confusing it with diplomatic reflexes kicking in across the world these past few days.

A brief summary for the tl;dr jackals (asterisks mine):

“Under the GGR, foreign NGOs are forced to choose between one of two options:

1. Accept U.S. family planning funds and be prohibited from providing abortion counseling, referrals, *or even advocacy efforts* and from providing abortions outside of the three exceptions.

2. Refuse U.S. family planning funds and attempt to secure alternative sources of funding in order to keep health clinics open, continue providing *a range of sexual and reproductive health services* to clients, and continue advocating for law reforms to reduce unsafe abortion.”

I’d be charmed if someone could point out the benefits of this one.

And, briefly: I find it mindfuckingly complicated to parse out the reasons why so many people feel the need to decry and insult the Women’s March on Washington and elsewhere this weekend. (I suspect the reflex to delegitimize peers comes from either sitting out Nov. 8, 2016, altogether and feeling prideful or actually casting a vote for this new president and feeling a Stockholmish need to lash out at the first whiff of dissent.) Most people I know who joined the marches live socially engaged and community-based lives; the spirit of public protest, which is just one part of all that, is an important tenet of American cultural and political growth. So, I guess, buckle up for a few metric tons of “Get a job!” rhetoric aimed at people who publicly denounce policy decisions like this piece of work today. Slopes tend to be slippery, and silence protects no one in times of duress. Read the book!

To everyone else who sees the value in vocal opposition, friends all, let it ride.


Here are two important studies on the impacts of this policy in a) sub-Saharan Africa and b) Ghana.

I’ve been reading through the first study, undertaken in 2011, which looks at how George W. Bush’s reinstatement of the gag rule went. Spoiler: Induced abortion rates skyrocketed in the absence of significant U.S. funding for contraception in some of the world’s poorest countries.

And here’s a follow-up remark on my earlier rant regarding people shouting down the efforts of public protesters (i.e. the Women’s March on Washington and all over the world this weekend), which comes off as unnecessarily unhelpful. Take these studies as examples of why women and men in developed nations shouldn’t stay silent and assume that everything’s going to be OK.

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