This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Global Gag Rule Bites Africa

Shortly after Donald Trump assumed the presidency in January of 2017 he reinstated the "global gag rule" that had been originally put into place during the Reagan administration, as I discussed at the time. This is a regulation that says that any organization in the world receiving money from the U.S. government (typically through USAID) was prohibited from providing abortion, abortion counseling, or abortion-related services. As a story in Reuters from yesterday notes:
The goal is to please Christian conservatives who strongly oppose abortion and are a major part of Trump’s political base.
MSI [Marie Stopes International] and the International Planned Parenthood Federation are among only four to reject the conditions of the order. They offer abortion services, in accordance with local rules, and say it is a last resort in preventing unwanted or unsafe births.
USAID says 733 other NGOS still receive funding. But in Africa, MSI and IPPF are the two largest NGO providers of free contraception and family planning advice.
Note that none of these organizations are suggesting or doing anything that is unlawful in those places. Abortion is legal under various circumstances in a large number of African countries, but that doesn't mean anything to the Trump administration with regard to Africa, just as it doesn't mean anything to them here in the U.S., where abortion is also legal. Furthermore, these organizations are not promoting abortion. They are promoting contraception, and the more effective those programs are, the lower will be the demand for abortion--everyone knows that.

Who will step up to fill in the gaps left by drops in funding from USAID? The Reuters article suggests the following candidates: They include the Hewlett-Foundation, the Waterloo Foundation, the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Gates Foundation.

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