The US President Donald Trump's sexual and reproductive health policy changes threaten women worldwide.
"Much progress has been made in the use of more effective contraception and in the reduction of unintended pregnancies," explained University of California's Daniel Grossman, noting "Trump's policies could roll back progress on women's health." A concerning development is Trump's re-imposition of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, which prevents US-funded organisations from providing, informing about, or advocating for abortion care in their countries.
‘It is clear that the US political war on women has reached an all-time apex.’
"If reducing abortion were the aim of this policy," Grossman said, "it is not at all clear that this is effective," as data suggests the policy was associated with an increase in abortion in sub-Saharan African countries. This is possibly because affected organisations lost funding for contraceptive supplies.
Furthermore, Trump has made statements in support of reversing the Roe v. Wade 1973 landmark ruling that made abortion legal. While it is unclear that this ruling could be overturned, it is worrying because "state legislatures and the US Congress will certainly feel emboldened under the new administration to pass more restrictive legislation," explained Grossman. Several policy proposals have the potential to severely limit access to contraception, continued Grossman.
This includes prohibiting clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding from sources such as Medicaid, and Title X, which help low income individuals. Evidence has shown after clinics in Texas were excluded, contraceptive usage declined significantly and unintended pregnancy increased. Furthermore, if the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is repealed, as Trump has promised, this may lead to more restrictions.
"It remains to be seen how many of these proposed policies will really go into effect," he explained. "But regardless, it is clear that the US political war on women has reached an all-time apex. Women's health physicians have a critical role to play: we must be a loud voice in support of evidence-based health care that is unencumbered by political interference." This study is published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.