Just a few days into taking office, President Trump has already made a series of disagreeable decisions, to put it lightly, with reinstating the Mexico City Policy being one of them.
The Mexico City Policy is a policy that requires foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to certify that they will not “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning” if they wish to receive any funding from the U.S. government’s global health budget.
This will end lives. Non-profit organization Marie Stopes International estimates that this policy could result in 21,700 maternal deaths during Trump’s first term in office. It has been proven time and time again that restrictive sexual policies do nothing but harm, unable to even achieve their own goals. In Mississippi, for example, strict abstinence-only education has caused teenage pregnancy rates significantly higher than the national average.
A recent study from the Guttmacher Institute has shown that since the ruling of Roe v. Wade, the abortion rate has actually decreased despite increased access to safe and legal abortion in the U.S. Even without this access to safe abortion, women will still get abortions.
The only difference here is that now, they will be forced to do it under unsafe conditions that could injure or kill them. These are the conditions that Trump is aiming to force upon women across the globe. Many of these organizations rely on U.S. funding, so they are forced to either end their promotion of safe abortion or fall into shambles. All of this is to try and bring about some global abortion-less utopia despite proof that access to safe and legal abortion decreases the number of abortions.
I also feel the need to go more into the scope of the requirements of the Mexico City Policy, specifically the “actively promote” part. This means that not only must these groups cease in providing abortion services, but they must formally rescind any advocacy for legal abortion. These groups therefore cannot even make any attempt in lobbying their own government for a change in abortion policy or hold a campaign to change public perception of legal abortion. This policy is a form of blackmail to prevent independent organizations from even educating the masses on the facts concerning abortion, thus placing the interests of the U.S. government over the interests of a mostly poor and undereducated global population.
Since U.S. taxpayer dollars have not been permitted to be used directly toward abortion services since the Helms Amendment of 1973, the funding they have received must mean they offer other services that provide healthcare for women. This includes, but is not limited to, the distribution of contraceptives. By limiting access to contraceptives, pregnancy rates increase, therefore increasing the number of abortions.
I understand the argument that it is considered a sin in the Christian faith to abort a fetus, thus making the support of safe and legal abortion seem like a support of abortion. But look at it this way; the abortions are going to happen. No policy will prevent abortion. What we can do instead is give these women access to safe abortion and do our part in working towards a world more supportive of the wellbeing of women. While I respect this belief, it is important that we do not attempt to force Christian values on others through government policy in a government formulated on the value of religious freedom that ensures a separation of church and state.