Here we go again. The bad old days of United States foreign assistance are coming back, now that President Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating the global gag rule on overseas discussion of abortion by individuals and organizations receiving federal funding. We have been here twice before -- under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- and we know that this order often backfires, leading to increased abortion rates.
Since 1973, under the Helms Amendment, it has been illegal to use US government money to directly fund abortions overseas. The global gag rule, introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 as part of his Mexico City Policy, made discussion of abortion by a group receiving federal support for any purpose illegal.