Federal funding for women’s healthcare has not been allowed to pay for abortions since 1976
Trump signs executive order to defund international healthcare clinics that educate, advocate, or perform abortions
Due to the Hyde Amendment, federal funding cannot be used for an abortion unless the pregnancy could kill the woman, or is the result of rape or incest
The targeted international healthcare organizations also provide general medical care in some of the world’s most poverty stricken areas
One of the most confusing things to come out of the Trump campaign/administration, and Republicans in general, is the subject of abortion. Whether you are for or against abortions, you should understand how that system works.
First and foremost, in America federal funding cannot be used for abortions unless it is to save the mother’s life, or if the pregnancy stems from incest or rape due to the Hyde Amendment.
The Hyde Amendment
The Hyde Amendment first passed on September 30, 1976, and has acted as more of a rider than a law. Every year since 1976, the Hyde Amendment, named after its chief sponsor Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois, is attached to annual appropriations bills in various forms.
The Hyde Amendment acted as an answer for pro-life after the 1973 landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. The outcome stated that abortions are protected by the right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The decision also stated that the 9th Amendment was also broad enough to protect a woman’s right to abortion under the reservation of rights to the people.
From 1981 to 1993, the Hyde Amendment was altered to include “except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.”
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1994. Attached was another altered version of the Hyde Amendment which included rape and incest could be covered with federal money.
Global Gag Rule
On Monday, just two days after millions of women and men took to the streets; President Trump reinstated the “global gag rule,” a ban that originated during the Reagan era.
The global gag rule prohibits any international healthcare organization that receives US funding from performing, educating, or advocating for abortions, or else they lose their funding, even though the abortions are not funded with US money.
These international healthcare providers that Trump targeted with Monday’s order provide for some of the people who need it most in the world. It forces these providers that deal with everything from Zika research to AIDS treatment to deny their female patients from knowing all of their options.
Hiding The Problem Not Solving It
Stripping away US funding from these global healthcare providers for talking about abortions is not going to reduce the number of abortions in the world. It will only push more women to have abortions through more dangerous methods outside of medical clinics, placing the women in f=greater risk of serious injuries, infections, and even death.
In fact, the executive order that Trump signed on Monday will not even stop federal money from conducting one abortion. That is because of Helms Amendment.
Like the Hyde Amendment, Helms Amendment was introduced in 1973 after Roe v. Wade. The Amendment was named after North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms.
Helms Amendment established regulations for providing US funding for foreign healthcare providers by stating that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”
The main difference between the Hyde Amendment and Helms Amendment is that due to the interpretation of the current language, federal funding is not allowed to go towards incest, rape, or to save the life a woman.
So when we defund these international healthcare providers for educating their patients on abortion, we are stripping these women in poverty stricken areas of knowledge about abortions, not stopping them from getting an abortion. Instead, it forces these women to turn to the black market.