Last week, the Trump administration reinstated Ronald Reagan’s Global Gag Rule policy, which prohibits the granting of U.S. foreign aid to health service providers abroad who advise abortion as a family-planning option (not just those who provide the service itself). This move comes on top of an existing U.S. law which prohibits the use of American taxpayer dollars for abortion services anywhere in the world.Here are four rarely stated and nonpartisan reasons why reinstating the Rule is a dangerous move.
- It will hurt children. The Rule will create a situation where vulnerable women who do not wish to have a child might be forced to do so, even if they know they will not be able to feed, clothe, and otherwise care for that child. And that will mean children living—and dying—in conditions none of the Rule’s proponents would allow their own children to live in. A good life requires more than simply being born; it requires the parents to have actual resources. Being pro-birth is not the same thing as being truly pro-life or being prepared to give kids the resources we ourselves would want and that they legally and morally deserve. Will those behind the Rule pay for the care of the severely disabled children affected by the Zika virus who will be born as a result of the policy? If not, why shouldn’t they?
- It will widen the global gap between rich and poor, and it will underscore the poor’s demands to take resources from the rich so that their kids get a fair start in life. Will the children affected by the Rule get a fair start in life, relative to the born-rich children of Mr. Trump and the other wealthy pro-birthers pushing this policy change? Probably not. Given that any human-rights-based and democratic system requires that all people enter the system as free and equal persons, the Rule degrades the system and heightens the likelihood of justified class conflict.
- It exacerbates the degradation of our atmosphere. While those living in many part of the word affected by the Rule probably have a negligible impact on climate change relative to those living in the U.S., the fact is that any rule interfering with a woman terminating her pregnancy blocks the most effective individual move a person can make—choosing a smaller family—to protect the environment. Given that the U.S. Department of Defense recognizes climate change as a threat to our national security, the Rule poses a threat to us and future generations.
- It interferes with building democracies around the world. U.S. efforts to help build democracies around the world operate on the backs of international development programs that work by promoting smaller families with higher investments in each child. The Rule moves in the opposite direction, ensuring crowding, inequality, lower rates of education, and other factors that create a human environment incompatible with the development of true democracy.
In short, if you care about kids, equality, the environment, or democracy, you will have reasons to oppose and work against the Global Gag Rule. Having Kids will stand with you as you do.