Abortion

Biden Rescinds Trump’s Anti-Abortion “Gag Rule”

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

The Trump regime imposed a global "gag rule" on recipients of international aid that prohibits them from so much as mentioning abortion to their patients even if they don't provide abortion services themselves. Doing so would result in them losing their funding.

In most cases, the gag rule is a potent deterrent because while these organizations don't like being told what to do, their other efforts save many lives.

Now, they won't have to worry about it any longer as the Biden administration has rescinded the rule.

The memorandum will "reverse my predecessor's attack on women's health access," Biden told reporters during a signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

He added that the measure "relates to protecting women's health at home and abroad, and it reinstates the changes that were made to Title X and other things making it harder for women to have access to affordable health care as it relates to their reproductive rights."

Biden's move fulfilled a campaign promise to rescind the so-called Mexico City Policy, a ban on US government funding for foreign nonprofits that perform or promote abortions. The Trump administration reinstated the restriction in 2017 by presidential memorandum and then extended it to cover all applicable US global health funding. That made some $9.5 billion in aid for everything from HIV treatment to clean water projects and child immunizations contingent on groups agreeing not to discuss or perform abortions.

Biden also signed an order directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to begin the process of rescinding Trump's domestic "gag rule" that applied to providers here inside the United States.

As you may recall, the primary target of Trump's domestic gag rule was Planned Parenthood. Most Planned Parenthood clinics do not actually provide abortion services, but the provider did not want to compromise their own mission and ethics so they withdrew from federal funding to avoid compliance with Trump's rule.

It will take some time to go through the legally-required process of rescinding the domestic gag rule, and we'll likely see a conservative legal challenge to doing so, but those challenges are unlikely to succeed.

The Republican party is not a governing party and Republicans in Congress did virtually nothing over the past four years. The vast majority of actions we saw the Trump regime take were imposed by executive authority and, for better or worse, courts deferred to executive authority more often than not during Trump's time in office. Those rulings in favor of Trump's power apply to Biden's power. Republicans sought to give Trump wanted more power and he got it, but it's not his anymore.

As an aside, anyone complaining about President Biden signing executive orders rather than signing legislation is doing so entirely in bad faith. Republicans don't pass legislation and they try as hard as they can to prevent Democrats from passing legislation. The GOP's refusal to actually govern is the reason why we increasingly see our government rely on executive authority.