Biden Win seen as green light for female reproductive rights

New York – Joe Biden’s victory could affect reproduction rights worldwide, starting with the repeal of a ban on SU-funded aid groups to report abortion

Democrat Joe Biden as U.S. president will bring comprehensive changes to the reproductive rights of women worldwide, beginning with the overthrow of a U.S. policy that bans government-funded aid groups from calling abortion, according to campaign groups.

The so-called global gag rule has been enforced by Republican presidents since 1984 through executive orders, which often force the closure of U.S.-funded health clinics to accept the restriction, be enforced and repealed by Democratic presidents.

Women’s rights campaigners say the policy has led to unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and preventable deaths.

Biden, who took over the U.S. presidency on Saturday, has indicated he is reversing the support, formally called the Mexico City president, that President Donald Trump instituted on his fourth day in January 2017.

Other expected steps under Biden could be to repeal the 47-year-old Helms Amendment, which bans U.S. foreign aid from paying for abortions, and restores U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), campaigners said.

“Mexico City’s policy, the global gag rule, is the tip of the iceberg,” said Zara Ahmed, co-director of federal affairs at the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy group for reproductive rights.

“This government has gone much further than any in the past … but they are just building on decades of this bad policy and it is time we undo it,” Ahmed told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Legislation that would permanently repeal the gag rule, the Health, Empowerment and Rights Act (HER), was introduced in Congress in 2019 and advocates hope it will get enough support to succeed under a Biden government.

According to the Guttmacher administration, the gag rule was applied to about $ 12 billion, forcing the closure of clinics and programs that also provided nutrition, HIV / Aids, malaria and tuberculosis services.

Some studies have estimated that up to 26 million women and families would lose access to contraception as a result of the policy clinics.

Advocates’ job list was also to repeal the Siljander Amendment, which bans the use of U.S. funds to work for or against abortion.

“It was really a relentless attempt to undermine global access to reproductive health and rights, starting with the global gag rule,” said Brian Dixon, senior vice president at Population Connection Action Fund, an advocacy group.

“The United States on these issues … has been around for a long time and uses human rights to hold people accountable.”

Under Trump, the United States last month signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration rejecting abortion as a right. The policy is sponsored by Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and Uganda, all countries where abortion is illegal or difficult to access.

“There’s so much work to be done in terms of a global force for good, in terms of global health care,” said Carrie Coisman of Columbus, Ohio, a nationwide organizer for # Fight4HER, a campaign against global gag rule. .

“A bid administration would be a welcome change.”

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