One clear indication of what The Washington Post calls the “harder-edged” ideology of the women who marched in Washington on “A Day Without a Woman,” were the demands for rescinding what they call “the global gag rule.”
This is the rule, first set out by Ronald Reagan and suspended by an executive order by Barack Obama, that bars U.S. government aid to nonprofits and other nongovernmental organizations that provide abortions to women in foreign countries. President Obama, with an executive order of his own, suspended the rule.
President Trump’s order rescued what’s formally known as “the Mexico City policy” on his fourth day in office, eight years to the day after President Obama suspended it. It’s called the “Mexico City policy” because that’s where the United States announced it, at the United Nations International Conference on Population.
The average American woman is likely ignorant of the Mexico City Policy, but the women who marched on “the day without a woman” are very much aware of it. For all the media cooing and coddling they got for their march, the “Day Without a Woman” marchers represent only a small fraction of Americans, female or male. A Marist Poll finds that 83 percent of Americans oppose sending American tax dollars to support abortion in other countries.
The United States is by far the largest global funder of family-planning services, i.e., abortions, and Mr. Trump expanded the bar against U.S. aid to foreign organizations that use funds from other sources to perform or promote abortion. Foreign NGOs that provide abortions or abortion information have to make a choice, either stop promoting abortions abroad or get by without U.S. dollars. Suzanne Ehlers, president of Population Action International, which lobbies for what it euphemistically refers to as “women’s reproductive health,” says that groups in 60 countries worldwide receive $9 billion. That will now be saved and available for worthy causes.
Abortion providers were naturally not pleased by the Trump executive order, which extends the ban to “global health assistance furnished by all departments and agencies.” Before now, the ban was limited in application to the U.S. State Department. Abortion providers argue that the U.S. money does not go to abortion providers — they use other grants and awards for that — and dollars from the United States have been kept in separate accounts.
But money, as every accountant knows, is “fungible.” U.S. dollars spent on family-planning counseling and birth control free other dollars for abortions.
Rep. Lois Frankel, Florida Democrat, vows that “we won’t go back to coat hanger medicine,” and that’s good. Nobody advocates coat-hanger medicine.
Marie Stopes International, which provides family-planning and abortions in 37 countries, says it expects to lose 17 percent of its grants if it does not abide by the restored rule. The group tells The Washington Post that it received $30 million last year from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
That’s a “choice” Stopes has to make, of course, and perhaps the uber-rich Hollywood glitterati so vocally supportive of the various liberal marches in Washington will step up and keep the abortion money flowing. There’s a certain irony in this for the feminists. In many of the Third World countries where groups like Marie Stopes International provide abortions, female fetuses are disproportionately destroyed through sex-selection abortions. Foes of that “gag rule,” whether they like it or not, ultimately contribute to many days in the future without a woman.
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