Trump Will Likely Stop Federal Funding for Women's Programs Worldwide
Jan 22, 2017 11:15 AM EST
Trump is determined to reinstate the "Mexico City policy" against federal funding for abortion, family planning and possibly clean out programs for women worldwide. Also known as the "global gag rule", the U.S. government could not provide funding for family planning services to clinics or groups that offered abortion-related services overseas even if funding came from non-government sources. It bars recipients of the foreign aid or federal funding from promoting abortion as a method of family planning. Due to his wavering stand on issues regarding women, people are concerned whether Trump will likely stop federal funding for women's programs.
The global gag rule has a long history of being used as a political football by presidents. It was first introduced by the administration of Ronald Reagan in 1984 in Mexico City and instituted that year. Later, President Bill Clinton in 1993 overturned the policy, thereafter, it was restored by President George W. Bush at the beginning of his office in 2001. Finally, President Obama signed an executive order reversing the ban in 2009 and days after inauguration, there have been talks that Trump will likely stop federal funding for women's programs.
Beyond the gag rule, aid officials are also worried that the current administration is set on removing programs designed to empower women and boost public health, which includes projects aimed to end gender-based violence and providing women opportunities in business and politics. It is not clear whether Trump will likely stop federal funding for such programs, Foreign Policy reports. But given his party's position on social issues and his controversial statements regarding women, ultimately there are growing concerns that the administration could target programs that have a "liberal social agenda."
Further, Trump's transition team released a memo last month to the dismay of aid officials and nongovernmental organizations (NGO). The team asked the State Department to submit details of programs and jobs aimed at promoting gender equality. Accordingly, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been planning a legislative response to Trump should he restore the gag rule and lift international women's programs. She said that if Trump will likely stop federal funding then this will tarnish America's status as a global leader in empowering women.
Ironically, the timing of the executive order coincides with the anniversary of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. Currently, Trump officials have been closely guarding the president's move with staffs across the Congress still unaware of his plans. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said that the president will issue a number of executive orders but declined to comment whether Trump will likely stop federal funding for abortion and family planning.