President Donald Trump on Monday signed a decree barring US federal funding for foreign NGOs that support abortion, re-launching a battle that has long divided Americans. It comes just two days after women led a massive protest march in Washington to defend their rights, including to abortion.
The decision to ban foreign aid to groups that lobby in
support of abortion rights is certain to deepen concern
among already apprehensive US family planning and
women’s rights organizations. Stenny Hoyer, a Democratic
leader in the House of Representatives, sharply criticized
Trump for using his first week in office “to attack women’s
“It should be no surprise to the millions of women and men
who gathered in protest this weekend across the country –-
and around the world –- that Republicans are focused more
on making it harder for women to access health care than on
the serious economic and security challenges we face.”
The restrictions imposed Monday prohibit foreign
nongovernmental organizations that receive US family
planning assistance from using non-US funding to provide
abortion services, information, counseling or referrals and
from engaging in advocacy to promote abortion. They were
first put in place in 1984 by Republican president Ronald
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Later eliminated by Democratic president Bill Clinton, they
were reinstalled by his Republican successor George W.
Bush, and annulled again after Barack Obama took office.
Galvanized by Trump’s November 8 election, abortion
opponents in states where Republicans hold power moved
swiftly last month to adopt draconian anti-abortion measures
that in some cases pose challenges to constitutional
liberties. The new president, meanwhile, has pledged to
nominate an anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court,
which could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade, the emblematic
ruling that legalized abortion in the United States in 1973.