Gag rule shows disregard to women

As Julie Burkhart describes in “Women Are Dying In America—why aren’t lawmakers helping?,” the United States is falling distressingly short in protecting the lives of mothers in this country. Burkhart notes, “Our country places more value on the life of a fetus than that of a woman’s.”

Our high maternal mortality rate is a shameful blemish on this country’s record of impressive health advancements. It’s not surprising, however, given the abysmal disregard the majority of American lawmakers have for women. That disregard extends to women in countries that receive our foreign aid as well.

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For example, in one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump imposed the global gag rule, which bans foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from so much as talking about abortion if they want to receive U.S. foreign assistance for family planning. To make this terrible policy — imposed by every Republican administration since Ronald Reagan — even more far-reaching than usual, Trump’s version impacts all U.S. global health funding, including for programs that work to eradicate tuberculosis, and to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and Zika.

Nearly 300,000 women around the globe die each year from pregnancy-related complications — 47,000 of them from unsafe abortions. Contrary to the dubious claim that the gag rule will reduce abortions, we know from previous iterations of the policy that unsafe abortions, unintended pregnancies and maternal deaths will increase as a result of it.

This horrific policy will threaten the lives of young women like “Aisha,” who grew up in extreme poverty in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. Forced into prostitution to support her family, Aisha became pregnant at 18 and, without support from her family or a partner, sought an abortion at an underground clinic.

Suffering from severe pain and bleeding following the incomplete abortion, she was kicked out of the first hospital she visited, which refused to treat her complications. Thankfully, the second hospital her aunt brought her to successfully completed the abortion, saving her life.

Passing the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act would end Trump’s global gag rule and would prevent a future president from unilaterally imposing this terrible policy.  It would ensure that foreign NGOs are not denied much-needed U.S. aid simply because they offer legal abortion services using non-U.S. funds, and it would prevent the deeply undemocratic violation of free speech that results from the gag rule.

From Rebecca Harrington, national field director, Population Connection, Washington, D.C.


No evidence of crimes by Trump

Where is the crime under federal statute or regulation when President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE spoke casually with former FBI Director James Comey regarding the various approaches that could be taken to deal with the Michael Flynn investigation? So, as Clara Peller once exhorted years ago, “Where’s the beef?”

Charges levied against this president by Democrats and the mainstream liberal media are based on rumor, innuendo, leaks, anonymous sources, unverified sources, hearsay, unsubstantiated newspaper accounts and articles from those publications that despise the president. There is no credibility whatsoever in what can only be categorized as a Watergate-style witch hunt.

Expanding beyond Flynn to Trump’s alleged relationships with Russia, note that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone challenges Dems to produce WikiLeaks evidence Steve King asks Google CEO for names of employees to see if they're liberals O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll MORE and Vice President Biden “reset the button” with Vladimir Putin. Furthermore, and for those who care to remember, President Obama said in 2012 to outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev that after his election, he could be more “flexible” in his dealings with the Kremlin.

From Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.