Trump’s New Gag Rule Will Result in More Abortions, and More Women Dying

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I’ve talked a few times about the “Mexico City Policy,” also known as the Global Gag Rule, which Donald Trump reinstated upon entering office. The policy takes away millions of dollars in federal funding for any international nonprofit that so much as mentions abortion as an option for women, even in countries where abortion is legal. Experts estimate that this policy will lead to the unnecessary deaths of 21,000 women.

Apparently that wasn’t enough death, so this week Trump announced a domestic version of the gag rule: he will remove all federal funding from any organization that offers abortions or provides referrals for abortions, forcing organizations like Planned Parenthood to lose millions of dollars or else split into two separate entities — one that provides abortions, and one that provides birth control, cancer screenings, pap smears, and other crucial health services used mostly by low-income women. The only upside is that unlike the global gag rule, these organizations can still mention abortion — they just can’t help women actually get them.

Planned Parenthood already receives zero federal money for abortions, so this is just another way that the Religious Right is attempting to use Big Government (something they are ostensibly against when it doesn’t benefit them) to prevent women from accessing healthcare. We already know what will happen here, because the research is done and clear: women will die. Without easy access to birth control (and sex education), more women will get pregnant unintentionally. And when that happens, women will continue to seek out abortions, but when they can’t get them safely and cheaply, they will opt for dangerous back alley procedures. So compared to today, we will see more fetuses aborted due to this policy, and more women die from botched procedures. Truly a great Trumpian victory.

Reagan tried this same shit back in 1988. It ended up going to the Supreme Court, which ruled that it was constitutional. Luckily, Bill Clinton got into office and stopped it, but the precedent is set — this will go through. The only thing that tied up the Reagan version was the stipulation like in the global gag rule that stopped organizations from even mentioning abortion. By ditching that part, Trump makes it more likely that his version will stick. And by the way, I say “Trump” but you know that idiot doesn’t give a shit about any of this. This is Mike Pence’s baby — the same Mike Pence who kicked off an HIV crisis in his home state because he hated Planned Parenthood so much.

I really need you guys to understand this — this is huge, and horrific. This is the anti-choice Religious Right taking their biggest step ever in preventing women from accessing health services — not just at Planned Parenthood, but at any clinic in the United States that has the ability to refer women for abortions.

If you live in the United States and you give a shit about women’s health, please follow Planned Parenthood and take action on their behalf. Go to WeArePlannedParenthood.org and send a statement to the Department of Health and Human Services letting them know that women are humans who need their help, not baby factories who should give up cancer screenings just to have a baby they never wanted and can’t care for. If we can tie this up for as long as a previous generation tied up the Reagan gag, we might be able to delay it past the point that Trump and all his cronies are indicted, tried for treason, and hanged, at which point we will just all agree to make Cynthia Nixon president for awhile.

Hey, a girl can dream. Still, let’s do what we can.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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  1. This is actually typical Republican nonsense. Bush did the same thing.

    (Though you’d think if all these women were getting raped by Mexicans, as Donnie says, they should at least have access to abortion.)

  2. Rebecca Watson,

    I’m hoping that we are able to somehow get the Mexico City Policy to be declared unconstitutional, Unfortunately, the more far right judges Trump is able to appoint, the less likely that’s going to happen.

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