Trump makes early move on restricting abortions around the world

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NEW YORK — U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday reinstated a global gag rule that bans U.S.-funded groups around the world from discussing abortion.

The rule, which affects American non-governmental organizations working abroad, is one that incoming presidents have used to signal their positions on abortion rights. It was created under U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Trump, an abortion opponent, signed the reinstatement directive at a ceremony in the White House on his fourth day in office. Former President Barack Obama had lifted the gag rule in 2009, when he took office.

The gag rule affects groups getting funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, even if they use separate money for abortion services, counseling or referrals, advocates note.

The policy puts groups that provide women’s health care in an “untenable position,” said Brian Dixon of Population Connection Action Fund.

They can either accept the restriction to keep their funding or they can reject the restriction and lose their funding, Dixon said.

Following the rule’s inception in 1984, former President Bill Clinton revoked it when he took office in 1993 and former President George W. Bush reinstated it in 2001.

— by Ellen Wulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation

(Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters. Visit news.trust.org)

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