Trump signs executive order reinstating Mexico City Policy
New policies could have negative effects on abortion funding and reproductive rights
March 14, 2017
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Mere days after being inaugurated, Donald Trump signed a number of executive orders, one of which reinstated the highly controversial Mexico City policy. The policy bans the use of U.S government funding to be put towards organizations (such as Planned Parenthood) which provide abortions. It affects foreign funding in addition to funding in the U.S itself. This means that it will be harder for women to get access to safe, affordable abortion and contraceptive services–just what millions of women around the world marched for the protection of during the women’s march on Jan. 21.
The “Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy,” issued by Donald Trump on Jan. 23, highlighted his actions regarding the reinstatement of the policy. Among other paragraphs, the memorandum stated: “I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
The policy has been abolished and reinstated a number of times ever since it was introduced as the political party in power has changed. However, the reinstatement of the policy is sure to affect thousands, if not millions, of women across the globe who rely on services like Planned Parenthood to get the care they need.
A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that an estimated 32,101 pregnancies among females aged 12-45 years are caused by rape each year. These pregnancies are unplanned and often don’t result in the best life for the child. By defunding organizations that provide abortions, more women will be made to endure forced and/or unwanted pregnancies, which is often not in the best interest of the child.
“There’s great data in terms of the teen pregnancy rates in King county. The numbers have dropped, and I think a lot of that is because we make [contraception] available to teens, we make it free, teens can get it confidentially… We’re seeing some good numbers,” said Celia Thomas, King County Public Health’s family planning educator.
Hopefully we won’t see negative changes in these numbers as the new administration goes forth with legislation regarding reproductive rights. “I think [the policy] could potentially have a great impact, but we still don’t know,” Thomas said. “I think it’s early, and fortunately some things take a while to undo. There’s been talk–isn’t it Pence that thinks women who have miscarriages should be jailed? I mean, those are the kind of people that are in power now, so you do have to wonder what will happen to Roe vs Wade, and keeping abortion safe and legal for those people that need it.”
“I’ve had many, many young women come and ask me about IUDs since the election. I just placed a very large order so we’ll be getting those in soon,” said Karen Boudour, one of the nurses in the Teen Health Center (THC). While IUDs will be made available to students, Thomas pointed out that, “It is expensive, so while they may be becoming available they might also be cost-prohibitive for some people. A full visit can be around a thousand dollars.”
So what does this all mean for women in Seattle, and America? What it boils down to is that women need to just make sure that they stay safe and stay informed. “Just making [contraception] more accessible to teens [is helpful],” Thomas said. “I think what’s also helpful is talking to teens, talking about preventing pregnancy and STDs also increases when you have good education that is comprehensive with talking about sexual health, that also brings the numbers down…We’ve definitely seen an increase in teaching accurate sex ed, which helps too.”