Washington, D.C.

If you were still holding out hope that Donald Trump would move to reassure women they had nothing to fear under his Presidency, it’s time to think again.

In one of his first moves today, he reinstated a federal ban on U.S. funding for international health organizations that even dare to mention abortion in any of their family planning materials. So it’s not enough for him to try and rob the right to choose from women at home, he’s now focused on doing it abroad.

The so-called “Global Gag Rule‘, which was first instituted under Ronald Reagan, has had terrible consequences for women across the globe in the past. The nonprofit organization EngenderHealth.org did a lengthy study of it’s effects and this is what they found.

“Though the Global Gag Rule was meant to target abortion providers, it had terrible consequences for the health and lives of poor women and their families in ways that had nothing to do with abortion. From 2001 to 2009, 20 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East lost U.S.-donated contraceptives, and many organizations and clinics were forced to reduce services, lay off staff, or shut down entirely.

EngenderHealth helped document the impact of the Global Gag Rule in such countries as Nepal (PDF, 888kb), Kenya (PDF, 324kb), and Zambia (PDF, 300kb). In each of these places, the Global Gag Rule affected family planning, HIV services, maternal and child health, and even malaria services. And in no place did the policy reduce abortions. In fact, the irony is that this policy led to more unwanted pregnancies.”

The GOP should realize by now that you can try to ban abortion but you cannot ban the need for it. Taking away safe access for women and girl has often fatal results. The latest estimates from the World Health Organization show more than 21 million women a year have unsafe abortions in developing nations. This accounts for a whopping 13 percent of all maternal deaths.

But what makes the rule especially damaging is that it doesn’t just ban U.S. dollars from family planning services, it bans them from going to any aspect of these organizations. This is what leads to clinic closures and laying off of staff, as many rely heavily on international aid to keep functioning.

Democrats such as Senators Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire and Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts are already planning a legislative fight against Trump’s reinstatement.