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Abortions rise worldwide when US cuts funding to women’s health clinics, study finds

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Fulfilling Republican efforts to “defund Planned Parenthood,” the Trump administration announced on Feb. 22 it would end federal funding to health providers that perform abortions.

This new ruling is the domestic version of the “global gag rule” that Trump imposed in 2017. It cuts U.S. global health funding from organizations abroad that perform – or even talk about – abortions, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

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First implemented under Ronald Reagan in 1984, the global gag rule has been rescinded by every Democrat and reinstated by every Republican to occupy the Oval Office, reflecting the partisan nature of abortion.

Supporters of the global gag rule say defunding abortion providers will reduce abortions. However, researchers from Stanford University in 2011 found that this U.S. policy actually made women in sub-Saharan Africa twice as likely to have an abortion.

Gag rule increases abortions in Latin America and Africa

My new study, published in November 2018, confirms those findings in Africa and shows that the global gag rule had an even greater effect in Latin America.

Analyzing abortion data from 51 developing countries between 2001 and 2008 – which encompassed the reproductive decisions of about 6.3 million women – I found that women in Latin America were three times more likely to have an abortion while the global gag rule was in effect.

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Reflecting this impact, the percentage of pregnancies in Latin America that ended in abortion rose from 23 percent in 1994, under the Clinton administration, to 32 percent by 2010, after two terms of the Bush administration.

In the United States, where abortion is legal nationwide, about 25 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.

How a US law hurts women abroad

Funding cuts under the global gag rule cause health care staff reductions, clinic closures and contraceptive shortages. Without family planning counseling and birth control, there are more unintended pregnancies – and, consequently, more abortions.

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Numerous studies confirm that making abortions harder to get doesn’t stop them from happening. It just makes them less safe, because the procedure is not necessarily performed in sterile facilities by qualified doctors.

Latin America, a heavily Catholic region, has the world’s most restrictive abortion laws. Six countries, including Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, completely ban abortion. Others permit it only in extreme cases like rape, incest or maternal health.

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Latin America also has the world’s highest rate of illicit abortions, according to a 2017 study in The Lancet. Seventy-five percent of all abortions in Latin America are performed illegally.

Since Trump reinstated the global gag rule in 2017, health workers in developing countries have reported drastic reductions in the availability of contraception, teen sex education and family planning services.

If the U.S. follows this trend, the domestic gag rule will soon push abortion rates up domestically, too.The Conversation

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Yana Rodgers, Professor of Labor Studies, Rutgers University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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