A couple days after large numbers of people across the world and the U.S. joined Women’s Marches, President Donald Trump reinstated the “Global Gag Rule,” which cuts off all U.S. funding to international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), whose work includes abortion services and  advocacy.

According to an article published on http://www.huffingtonpost.com, “The United States spends about $600 million a year on international assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs, making it possible for 27 million women and couples to access contraceptive services and supplies.”

The so-called Global Gag Rule, was first implemented by Ronald Reagan in 1984, overturned during every Democratic administration, and was reinstated and expanded by Donald Trump this week.

A photograph was taken on Trump’s first day in the Oval Office on Monday Janruary 23rd, while he was signing the executive order. It was of great concern, as people on social media platforms commented about Trump being surrounded by a group of men deciding women’s futures.

According to an article published on http://www.bbc.com/, “The new US president has previously changed his mind on the issue. He has gone from being pro-choice in 1999 to being against abortion today, although he says he would allow exceptions such as in the case of rape or incest.”

Dutch development minister Lilianne Ploumen has announced an international abortion fund for groups that want to continue providing birth control and abortion to women who clearly need it.  She said, “Women should be able to decide for themselves if they want a child, but also for their husbands and children and for society as a whole. Banning abortion does not reduce the number of abortions.”

Ploumen added that the Dutch government helped in preventing more than 6 million unwanted pregnancies and half a million abortions through its support of women’s organizations around the world.

This is one of the very first decisions that Trump took after his inauguration, and it would probably lead to more women marching against him. But on the other hand, we have  the “Pro-Life” supporters, which in my opinion, are only Trump supporters who are supporting whatever he’s doing and whatever he’s saying.

I can understand when people are anti-abortion, as it’s basically an act of killing a soul, but why disregard the fact that sometimes abortion is the best solution for a woman or a family? A woman has the right to decide what she can and can’t do with her body.

During the Syrian conflict, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which will be affected by Trump’s decisions, has estimated that 360,000 pregnant women were directly affected and 80,200 pregnant Syrian women have fled to neighboring countries. Cutting aid to the UNFPA would mean pregnant refugees from all areas of conflict would have to give birth under much more dangerous circumstances than they already do.

Women need free access to abortion in order to achieve full political, social and economic equality with men.

We shouldn’t be telling women what they need to do with their own bodies.

Omar Awwad can be contacted at Oawwad@kscequinox.com

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