President Donald Trump, since he has come into office, has reinstated and expanded the ‘global gag rule’ of Ronald Reagan. This law has caused quite a stir in our nation as people are wondering about the implications that this law may have. It first prohibited USA from giving funds to family planning but now it includes all international organization that offer advice on a wide range of reproductive health options and family planning, this includes advise on abortions and providing them with contraceptives which helps reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
This law was signed on the grounds that when implemented it will support the pro-life movement by preventing people from getting abortions. In my opinion, it is more of an attack on female empowerment. The sad fact is that abortions are happening in this world and happening in very unsafe conditions, not because mothers want to kill their babies, but in some cases pregnancies are forced upon them through rape, or working in the sex industry, which includes the girls that are stuck in it because they were forced towards the situation. This law will not reduce the amount of abortions people get over the world. In fact, it may increase the number of abortions, as this law prevents organizations from providing contraception aid.
The prevention of organizations from giving out contraceptives may also lead to a spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and we might see something such as an HIV epidemic in many parts of the world again. The law will not just prevent organizations from providing advice on family planning but may also lead to many other indirect repercussions. Many organizations that fall under this restriction also work in many other areas of health improvement such as maternal and child health, malaria, nutrition, infectious disease, tuberculosis and neglected tropical disease. The restriction on funding will affect those programs as funding from USA will have stopped for these organizations in all the areas that they are involved in.
USA not supporting these organizations will affect the work that they can carry out as it will reduce their spending. One example is the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, “The Gates note that big foreign aid donors such as the U.S. and its U.K., which contributes $30 billion and $16 billion respectively and combine forces with the foundation’s $40 billion endowment, are critical to preventing deaths in poor countries.” The aim of the organizations, such as Bill Gates foundation and the US development aid is not so that these countries become depended on getting the charity to survive but so that they can come out of the third world state. A great example of this is South Korea, which was once a recipient of aid is today a donor country.
The main reason I think USA should care about the global health institutions and not stop funding them is because a healthy world is also in USA’s interest. We need to realize that we live in an interconnected world and to fight and eradicate the new diseases and stop long standing diseases, the countries need to work together in a partnership. This way we can prevent diseases from coming to America or at least be prepared to deal with them so nothing like the Ebola epidemic can cause chaos in this country.
In the end, this law goes against basic humanity. Health is a basic right that should be granted to every human being on this planet. It is a moral imperative that whoever has the resource to contribute to human well-being in this regard must do so.