MSH Op-Ed: Trump’s global gag rule silences doctors and midwives and harms their patients

 {Photo Credit: Leslie Alsheimer}Nurses at health clinic Virgen del Lourdes Puesto de Salud in Lima, PeruPhoto Credit: Leslie Alsheimer

Catharine Taylor weighs in at STAT on President's reinstatement of Mexico City Policy

MSH vice president of health programs, Catharine Taylor, writes in STAT today on the Trump administration's revival of the global gag rule. STAT is a national news publication focused on health, medicine, and scientific discovery. The new version of the rule expands the former prohibition on foreign, non-governmental organizations from receiving U.S. funding if they provided, gave counseling on, advocated for, or referred clients for abortion services. Previously the prohibition was on U.S. family planning funding only, but under the new administration the rule extends to any global health money, potentially including maternal health programs, efforts to fight Zika, and the expansive PEPFAR program to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. Taylor writes:

Under the Trump version of the global gag rule, millions of women in some of the poorest places in the world will lose access to affordable, high-quality, comprehensive reproductive health care, and will be less able to make informed health choices. Health systems in countries that are now showing real, sustainable progress in improving population health will be weakened. Good organizations that do effective, lifesaving work will have to cut back their activities or go out of business. The US investment in global health will be much less effective.

Global health experts know that access to family planning and accurate, comprehensive health information saves lives. By restricting that access, the global gag rule does the opposite, harming the well-being and resiliency of families, communities, nations, and economies.

Organizations should not be disqualified from participating in US-funded health projects because they use their own funds to provide the accurate, comprehensive health information that their patients need, and services that are legal in their own countries. If they are, it is women who will pay the price.

Read the whole opinion piece at STAT.