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Trump and the global gag rule : charities and abortion

Editorial Staff

US President Donald Trump has reinstated an old policy that blocks foreign aid being passed to any charity that even discusses abortion, setting the stage for Boston Legal revisited. But, not all is quite as it first seems.

The USA's on-off relationship with any form of birth control is felt nowhere more keenly than in its foreign policy. There are those who object to condoms, not on the grounds that they encourage promiscuity (although some do) but on the grounds that they interfere with God's plan for procreation.

In 1973, under the so-called Helms Act, Ronald Reagan ordered that any organisation operating overseas that receives US federal funding must not advocate or promote, in particular, abortion. As long ago as 1993, Clinton (who later events showed might have been wise to have worn a condom to avoid accidental spillage) reversed the decision.

George W Bush brought it back and put a strong anti-birth control activist, Bill Steiger, in charge of the Office of Global Health Affairs. Amongst the groups that lost support were those encouraging the use of condoms to help stop the spread of AIDS.

In 2009, Just three days after taking office, Obama rescinded the rule. Researchers from Stamford University said that they found that the fact that the failure to provide adequate information and education had, oddly, resulted in more, not less, abortions. See this World Health Organisation report: http://www.who.int/bulletin/vo....

So all this seems like its a bad thing, except for one factor: the above is the slant produced on the President's actions by the mainstream media and Trump-bashing blogs. He reinstated what is known as The Mexico City Policy. The policy says little that anyone could take legitimate exception with: what it in fact says is that federal funding must not be used for performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning (our emphasis). It does not say that abortion should be ignored in cases of pregnancy arising from rape, for example. It encourages safe and responsible sex.

Moreover, Trump's Order goes further .. and it protects women. It says "I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organisations or [schemes] that support or participate in the management of a [scheme] of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation."

How can that be wrong? He is actively ensuring that the USA is not complicit in forcing women (and girls) to have abortions or to be sterilised if they do not give full, informed, consent.

Let's be clear: we are not only talking about political or religious extremism: in the UK a young women who was a sandwich short of a picnic had half a dozen children. The court ordered that she could be sterilised without her consent, in part because she was not capable of giving consent. See http://www.independent.co.uk/n...

Trump's campaigning zeal, his ability to create sound-bites that bit him in the arse, is part of the reason for the criticism of him now. Cornered, as he so often was, in a half-baked plan, he told reporters that women should be punished for illegal abortions. The Left naturally, and reasonably, jumped on that, created a cause and that is now tainting reporting of what he he has, in fact, ordered.

That Boston Legal reference? If you don't have a box set, read the episode here: http://www.boston-legal.org/sc...