Will Trump's Global Gag Rule Lead to More Abortions and Maternal Deaths: An Interview with Jonathan Rucks (January 29th)
A year ago last week the President Trump signed an executive order reinstituting the so called global gag rule (more formally termed the Mexico City policy). The policy was first implemented by President Reagan and has gone in and out of effect depending on whether a Republican or Democrat holds the White House. The initial policy only applied to abortions, i.e., in order to obtain US family planning funding aid, not for profits or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had to certify they would not use non-US funding, including private funding, to perform or promote (i.e., they are gagged) abortions overseas. Beginning in 2001, the policy was expanded to cover other forms of contraception. Under President Trump the policy was substantially expanded. Under this administration's global gag rule, NGOs can neither use US family planning funding aid (at $575 million annually) nor any US global health funding aid (that totals $8.8 billion) even if it is used to prevent or treat other public health issues, for example, HIV or malaria, unless, again, the NGO certifies it is not using other funds in performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning.
During this 21 minute conversation, Jonathan Rucks briefly explains PAI's mission, the Trump administration's significant expansion of the global gag rule, what effects the global gag rule has had in the past and what expected results an expanded policy will have going forward, what work PAI is doing to address the current global gag rule and past and present efforts by the Congress to prohibit the implementation of the rule via executive order.
Jonathan Rucks is the Senior Director of Advocacy at PAI (formerly the Population Action International) where he is responsible for the development and management of advocacy strategies to inform and influence public policy in the US and overseas in moreover developing countries to increases support for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Prior to PAI, Mr. Rucks worked for Pathfinder International, prior still he spent eight years working for Congressional Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN). Mr. Rucks holds a master's degree in Strategic Security Studies from the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.
For information regarding PAI go to: pai.org.
President Trump's January 23, 2017 global gag rule memorandum is at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-regarding-mexico-city-policy/.