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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.

First implemented under Ronald Reagan in 1984, the global gag rule has been rescinded by every Democrat and reinstated by every Republican to occupy the Oval Office, reflecting the partisan nature of abortion.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

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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

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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Professor reminds Trump of his two immigrant wives: ‘Four of his five children are children of immigrants’

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As President Donald Trump complains about immigrants, he should remember his own family, Fordham Professor Christina Greer explained on MSNBC on Monday.

"Mind you, he's a child of immigrants and twice married to two immigrants, right? Four of his five children are children of immigrants, but he has to use this rhetoric to make sure that he can frame all of his failures in a way that it’s never him and it’s always someone else who is taking away from the good, 'white Americans' who deserve to be here," Greer explained.

In 1977, Trump became the second husband of Ivana Zelní?ková -- who was born in Czechoslovakia. She is the mother of Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.

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Racism drives Trump ‘like rocket fuel’ — but even for him, this is ‘shocking and disgraceful’: WaPo journalist

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Washington Post reporter David Swerdlick told anchor Wolf Blitzer that there's nothing truly new about President Donald Trump's racist social media assaults on Democratic congresswomen of color — but that there is something uniquely horrible about the latest episode.

"People are suggesting what the president has said in the past day or two represents a new low," said Blitzer. "But when you look at the president's history ... the president claiming Barack Obama wasn't born here in the United States, his comments about Charlottesville. This clearly isn't a one-off."

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Trump’s racism ‘fundamentally disqualifies him to be president’: Former White House lawyer

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The former acting solicitor general of the United States explained on MSNBC on Monday that President Donald Trump's racism "fundamentally disqualifies him to be president."

Neal Katyal was interviewed by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber on "The Beat."

"I think the reason why you get these comments creating such resonance in the country is because of the personal dimension. I think — I don’t talk personally on your show much, but I think anyone who has brown skin hears these comments all the time," Katyal explained. For me it started when I was 3 years old when my mom was pulling out of the car, pulling out of the driveway and someone knocked on her door and said, 'go back to your country.'"

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