January 25th, 2017

New Democrats condemn Trump’s decision on Global Gag Rule

OTTAWA - New Democrats are alarmed by US President Donald Trump’s decision to re-impose the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, which will ban U.S. funding for international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options, including abortion.

“This decision, which follows worldwide demonstrations in support of women’s rights, is a travesty,” said Hélène Laverdière (Laurier – Sainte-Marie), NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs. “More than 21 million women a year have unsafe abortions worldwide, and this decision, which will deny women access to information on the full range of family planning options, will result in the deaths of thousands of women globally.”

The Trump Administration’s decision is expected to cause significant funding hardship for many international health organizations dependent on donor funding. Clinics will likely close, and services to women, including for maternal and newborn health and HIV prevention, will be reduced.

“These attacks on women’s rights must stop,” said Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo – Ladysmith), NDP Critic for Status of Women. “In this new political context, it is more important than ever that we stand together in common cause. The Government of Canada must strongly condemn this decision and reiterate its support for women’s access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health care, at home and abroad.”

This decision comes at a time when Canada’s international development community is advocating for the doubling of Canada’s ODA in the next federal budget. Canada currently ranks 14th on the list of major donor countries.

“Canada must step in to help fill the gap created by this change in American foreign policy,” said Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières), NDP Critic for International Development. “In such difficult times, the Liberals must increase development assistance in the next federal budget, and provide more support for women’s rights and global health organizations saving lives internationally."