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(Washington, DC) – The expanded “Mexico City Policy” or “Global Gag Rule” issued by United States President Donald Trump is a profound setback to hard-fought gains for women and girls’ health in countries around the world, Human Rights Watch said today, on International Women’s Day.

Women and girls wait with their children outside a doctor’s office in Chitwan, Nepal. Child marriage and adolescent pregnancy is widespread in Nepal, and access to comprehensive reproductive health services and information is crucial. April 12, 2016. © 2016 Smita Sharma for Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch issued a question-and-answer document and short video to explain how the policy, issued on January 23, 2017, works and why it is likely to have devastating consequences, including unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal deaths.

“Perversely, the US government is using its position as the largest global donor on health to restrict access to important health services,” said Nisha Varia, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of helping improve health in low- and middle-income countries, the US will be undermining progress.”

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