In his second day in office, President George Bush set back the work of international family planning eight years.
Bush reenacted the “global gag” rule, which limits funding of foreign family planning agencies to those that do not support abortion.
Family planning organizations located abroad depend on money from the U.S. to remain operational and help the poor in underdeveloped countries. These organizations do not use abortion as the first line of defense to limit unwanted pregnancies. Instead, they supply means of contraception and educate the poor in the poorest of the poor nations.
Bush’s order overturns the work of President Clinton who lifted the global gag rule when he took over for George Bush, Sr. Throughout the years of Reagan and Bush, Sr. the global gag rule was in effect.
In 1999, Congress put abortion-related restrictions on federal funds overseas. This past October, supporters were able to lift the restrictions. The only problem was that the lifting of the ban would not come until this month. Bush has made sure that the global gag rule will not be lifted.
What does this mean?
It means that more underdeveloped countries will see more pregnancies and have to suffer through more unsafe abortions. Clinics that want U.S. money will have to stop performing abortions. They can’t even counsel women on the possibility of an abortion for fear of losing funding.
By doing away with legal abortions, more and more illegal, unsafe abortions will be performed. This means higher rates of death among pregnant mothers and newborn children, increased occurrences of HIV and more unwanted pregnancies.
Doctors who don’t stop performing abortions will no longer get American funding, or will get very little. This means they will no longer be able to provide free or low cost contraception- something that is so desperately needed in underdeveloped lands.
This decision by Bush came 28 years to the day of Roe. V. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion.
Conservatives like Bush and members of many religious groups do not support abortion. Whether or not the act of killing an unborn child is right is another matter. But abortion, unfortunately, is necessary in American society.
Because of the legality of abortion, clinics are properly funded, and thus, abortions are carried out safely. Without this federal support more and more women would have to seek out abortions on the street where they are very dangerous.
During his campaign, Bush addressed the abortion issue saying he only supports it if done in cases of rape or incest.
Taking away federal funding to international planning agencies is a small step towards making abortion in America illegal.
At Temple, students are helped through planning methods. Contraception is easily attainable and provided by the University at low costs (10 condoms for a dollar). Counseling Services, although it doesn’t happen all that frequently, does offer help when a student faces a possible abortion or unwanted pregnancy.
Money from the University budget supplies the cheap condoms and counseling for students interested in contraception and abortion.
What if, like the global gag rule, Temple cut funding for contraception? More and more students would need help deciding on whether or not to abort a child and more and more students would have to drop out of school or otherwise shoulder the load of a new child.
If Temple acted like Bush and cut this funding then what would happen to students seeking this help on campus?
This is the problem facing residents of underdeveloped nations. They want to get help but they can’t afford it or don’t know where to get it. The global gag rule does nothing to help this.