The Growing Toll of the Global Gag Rule

A new study shows abortions actually go up when the U.S. pulls funding from NGOs offering abortion referrals. But that’s only one way underserved populations suffer.

Patients wait for HIV testing, counseling and prevention services in Xinavane, Mozambique.

Xai-Xai, a peaceful coastal town a few hours north of Mozambique’s capital, sits in a province with the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country. One-quarter of the population in this region is HIV-positive, a figure which along with tuberculosis contributes significantly to high maternal-mortality rates. Sixteen percent of residents have malaria.

In regions where clinics depend on funding for specific services—say, testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program, or for malaria under the President’s Malaria Initiative—one-stop shops for medical care aren’t a given. But here in Xai-Xai, residents can go to a clinic run by an NGO called the Mozambican Association for Family Development (AMODEFA) for family planning, tuberculosis testing, information on drug use, HIV prevention, and referrals for treatment in youth clinics. Many young people in Mozambique born with the virus aren’t aware of their status, so AMODEFA began a pilot program encouraging parents to explain HIV to their children.

On January 23, 2017, however, much of AMODEFA’s work came to an abrupt halt. The reason was the Republican U.S. administration’s desire to limit abortions abroad—a reinstatement of what’s known as the “global gag rule.” Continue reading at The New Republic.

Categories: Freelance Articles

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