As one of his first acts as President of the United States, Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating a version of the global gag rule. Under this rule, US grantees are barred from receiving global health funding if they engage in abortion-related work: not only abortion services, but also abortion referrals and counseling or advocacy for the liberalization of abortion laws. Critics of the Trump global gag rule generally raise three classes of objections: (1) that the rule fails to accomplish its presumed objective of reducing the number of abortions; (2) that it negatively affects the health and well-being of individuals and populations in affected countries; and (3) that it interferes with governments’ ability to meet their international obligations. In this commentary, we examine the scientific and policy bases for these criticisms.
Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council. Jeffrey B. Bingenheimer is Associate Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University. Patty Skuster is Senior Legal Advisor, Technical Innovation and Evidence at Ipas.