The Devastating Impacts of the Gag Rule
It deeply saddens me to see such tremendous steps backwards in not only women’s rights in the U.S., but the health and safety of people from all walks of life around the world. By further expanding the Gag Rule, the hope was to reduce abortion rates and promote alternatives. However, from historical context we know that the Gag Rule comes with a substantial price.
The New York Times (2001) reports that, “From that past experience, we know the gag rule’s impact will not be to reduce the rate of abortions, legal or illegal. Instead, the rule will increase the number of unintended pregnancies by denying women access to contraceptives.”
The Gag Rule endangers the lives of women, which in turn heavily impacts families. By looking at past policies and the results of these policies should lead us towards creating the most effective policies possible; however, expansion of the Gag Rule ignores historical policy effectual information and will consequently result in a magnitude of negative effects on families. Women who have already had children who seek unsafe abortions in order to be a better parent for the child/ren they already have, risk their own life for a better life for their children.
Desai, Ferguson, Heidari, Pugh, and Stockl (2017) state that “a policy with consequences of this magnitude could be based on such a striking lack of evidence is illustrative of our “post-truth” era, in which policies are shaped and informed not by robust evidence, but by what have become known as “alternative facts”.
Evidence suggests that not only is Gag Rule ineffective at lowering abortion rates, it increases maternal mortality due to desperate women receiving unsafe abortions and may actually increase abortions rates. “Marie Stopes International estimates that without alternative funding, the loss of their services due to the imposition of the Global Gag Rule could result in 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions, and 21,700 maternal deaths by 2020” (Desai et al.,2017). Policies created and expanded based off misinformation hinder today’s society.
In cases such as this, they are hindering the health and welfare of women and subsequently families. Endorsing and expanding on the Gag Rule will only create negative effects due to the policy being heavily rooted in myths and false truths.
Desai, S., Ferguson, L., Heidari, S., Pugh, S., & Stockl, H. (2017) Not without a fight: Standing up against the global gag rule. Reproductive Health Matters, 25, 14-16. doi:10.1080/09688080.2017.1303250
Pellegrom, D.E. (2001, January 27) A deadly global gag rule. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/27/opinion/a-deadly-global-gag-rule.html