A year ago, the US president reinstated and expanded the “global gag rule”, also known as the Mexico City policy. It bans US federal funding for NGOs in foreign countries that provide abortion services or abortion advocacy. This led to significant funding cuts to family planning services globally.
The effects are now becoming visible. As anticipated, the most vulnerable communities and countries, where family planning has saved lives and helped interrupt generational transfer of poverty, are most affected. The African continent is worst hit.
After the announcement, Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation decided they would not longer accept US aid money.
The US then announced it was cutting funds to the UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA).
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the cuts have affected a total of 1,275 NGOs and $2.2bn of funding.
MSI estimates that if it cannot close the funding gap, more than 2 million women will lose access to the contraception services they provide, leading to an additional:
A year on, for many organisations, women and countries, the concerns are becoming reality.
Because the Trump administration expanded the rule across all global health, organisations that have not had to adhere to the policy in the past will now have to implement it. At least 1,275 foreign NGOs will feel the impact, and the amount of energy expended by NGOs, other donor governments, advocates and legislators on the expansion really cannot be overstated.