On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating a Reagan-era policy that denies international aid funding for non-governmental groups outside the United States that offer information on abortion services or advocate for legal abortions.
The measure, typically referred to as the Mexico City Policy or as the Global Gag Rule, has been repeatedly put into and taken out of effect by Republican and Democratic presidents, respectively. Most recently, it was effective under President George W. Bush, before its revocation under President Barack Obama.
According to the New York Times, United States law currently prevents taxpayer-funded money to pay for abortion services both domestically and internationally. This order will expand upon this existing regulation, targeting groups that provide abortions, and those who offer information or referrals about the procedure to patients or visitors.
The rule can prove to be a major blow to some international health organizations that rely on this maintain efficient services and may cease to offer services that counsel those who are pregnant on options that include abortion. “In the past, the abrupt cutting of funds has led to entire health care networks collapsing, with providers noting a lack of resources and resorting to higher service costs in order to maintain efficiency,” the Center for American Progress wrote.
Groups can choose to comply with the order’s strict parameters, or may choose to forego funding and maintain services, according to The Hill. However, for some groups, the funding is vital to survival.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated during his briefing Monday that the order, signed with two others removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and instituting a hiring freeze on federal employees (excluding the military), made it “very clear that he’s a pro-life president.”