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Trump blocks aid to health centers supporting abortion in Uganda

US President Donald Trump . Courtesy Photo.

The Trump administration has instituted a “global gag rule” that blocks all health center organisations  receiving U.S funding from promoting or providing information about abortion services.

The rule is also known as the Mexico City policy, named for the location of a 1984 United Nations conference where President Ronald Reagan announced the measure.

This rule, also extended to Kenya, restricts the funded organisations from working with any abortion service providers.  The Trump administration says the “global gag rule” only calls for abortion in situations of rape, incest or when the life of a woman was in danger.

USA Activists and Experts say that this policy has left an estimated $600m gap in abortion and family planning services that other countries’ aid agencies and private donors would need to fill.

When contacted, the permanent secretary in the Health ministry, Dr Diana Atwine told Journalists on Monday that Uganda doesn’t have pro-abortion laws, “so Trump’s policy will not affect us.”

Nevertheless, during our investigation into the policy, we were able to identify a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report that reveals that there are health centers in Uganda already affected by the funding restrictions. HRW drew this report  from interviews gathered by representatives of 21 undisclosed organisations in Uganda.

“State clinics have lost out on training and equipment they would usually receive from non-governmental groups, while there has been “widespread confusion” about how to comply with the rules,” (HRW) asserted.

“Even though these restrictions are meant to target NGOs they also have a harmful effect on government health services.” they added.

HRW has written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to warn him of health workers’ fears the policy will result in “increased unsafe abortions and associated maternal deaths.”

By Paul Dennis.

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