On January 23, 2017, millions of women around the world – from Canada to Antarctica – marched in solidarity against Donald Trump. While the issues being protested were as diverse and numerous as the crowd members, pink ‘pussy hats’ were one uniform of the sisterhood. Hundreds of thousands of women around the world held signs saying “pussy grabs back” and “my body, my choice.”
The same day, seven white men surrounded Donald Trump as he signed an executive order to reinstate the banning of U.S funding being used for abortions overseas. ‘The Mexico City Policy,’ or more colloquially, ‘the global gag law’ was first implemented by Reagan in 1984, rescinded under the Clinton administration, reinstated by Bush Jr. and overturned once more by Obama.
It was one of Trump’s first official acts as the P-word and a direct ‘fuck you’ to women everywhere – women, who are 50% of the population, yet treated as though life is one big buddy system where men are paired with women to explain what uteruses are and how to use them properly. Women, who will never be pictured signing off on a bill that determines what men can do with their reproductive organs. (Although for a laugh, see what that would look like here.)
As we’ve seen in the past, making abortion illegal will only increase the number of unsafe abortions. It will only increase the level of barriers to safe procedures, and prevent women from getting the education and contraceptives they need. Anti-choicers are thrilled, taking to the internet with quotes such as “thank you for making sure our hard-earned tax dollars aren’t used to fund or promote abortions abroad,” and, “America has so much more to offer the world than death.”
While the policy doesn’t directly affect services in the US, House Republicans made sure to include their country one day later. They voted 238-183 to permanently ban U.S women from receiving federal financial assistance for abortion, regardless of their insurance being public or private, through a bill called HR 7. If this bill is passed through the senate, the Hyde Amendment would become permanent law, and federal funding for abortion in the US would be banned.
This highly debated and stigmatized operation is not about life or choice – it’s about money and how people who don’t believe in abortions are incensed that their hard earned cash may support procedures that they’re against. I’m making a grand generalization of course, but if issues with abortion were truly over the fact that it’s an act of murder on vulnerable beings, then pro-life groups would be demonizing certain police officers (who weren’t charged for murdering around 300 black people in the U.S last year) as much as they demonize Planned Parenthood. Instead, they paint frivolous and convenient pictures of ‘the kind of women who get abortions’ when there are all sorts of reasons a woman may terminate a pregnancy: Rape, incest, an abusive partner, a lack of finances, post-fetal diagnoses, threats to their own life by carrying to term, etc.
Are we forgetting what tax dollars are for? Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. Taxes pay it forward for future generations to have schools, hospitals, courts of law, well-maintained roads, public transit and parks. Taxes are a collectivist agreement that we will look after one and other.
Trump mentioned several times on the campaign trail that while Planned Parenthood does good work when it comes to providing health service to women, he would defund it if he were elected so long as they continued providing abortion services. Planned Parenthood gets federal funding, but it’s not even allowed to use these funds towards abortion services. The Hyde Amendment, which has been passed every year since 1976, prevents this. Instead, they use government funding to provide numerous services such as birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, well-woman exams and more. Planned Parenthood is able to reach men and women in marginalized communities who otherwise wouldn’t have access to these services. An estimated one in five women visit Planned Parenthood at least once in their life.
Trump’s ideal alternative is to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This would implement a national ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Furthermore, women who were raped would be required to file a police report before obtaining an abortion at twenty weeks, which is absurd considering how many victims are slut-shamed and re-traumatized while seeking help from authorities.
Thanks to The Mexican City Policy the International Planned Parenthood Federation will loose $100 million US Tax Dollars for its programs. THE IPPF refuses to sign the policy, saying that it denies human rights and puts the lives of women at risk. They will instead work with governments and donors so that women and families can still have the same safe access to abortion and family gaps within their budget and communities.
Trump is essentially blackmailing a group that helps marginalized people because he is more concerned about his ‘forgotten men and women’ (read: white, cisgendered, heterosexual persons). We all know the quote, right? When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
If you want to help remove financial barriers to health care and abortion access, click here to get started.