President Donald Trump on Monday signed several executive orders, one of which reinstituted a ban on federal money for non-governmental organisations that perform abortions or provide information on abortions. Barack Obama had revoked the ban in 2009.
The rule has been revoked and reinstituted by various Republican and Democratic presidents several times since 1985, when it had come into effect. Obama’s predecessor and Republican George W Bush had also reinstituted the rule in 2001, The Guardian reported.
The ban is likely to affect women in parts of the world where such NGOs have trained staff and provide information on abortions and contraceptives. “Funding cuts would mean we can’t support … the government of Nepal’s effort on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Additionally we would not be able to run community clinics or mobile health days or train healthcare workers. The impact also means we would lose essential medical staff like nurses, doctors and health experts,” Amu Singh Sijapati, president of the Family Planning Association of Nepal, told The Guardian.
The United States is the world’s largest donor towards global health, and spends around $3 billion on worldwide health through just its US Agency for International Development, besides others. International Planned Parenthood Federation said that because of the rule, they could lose around $100 million that the US provides them.
“The President, it’s no secret, has made it very clear that he’s a pro-life president,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said at his first briefing. Trump had spoken against abortion repeatedly in his campaign. In his final debate with opponent Hillary Clinton, Trump had referred to the procedure as “ripping the baby out of the womb” days before birth. Activists had said his description was more apt for a caesarean section than an abortion.
On Saturday, the day after Trump had been sworn in as president, millions of women had taken to the streets (pictured above) to protest for their reproductive rights and freedom.