Global abortion rights advocates fear their countries will be next if Rowe falls

The concern highlights not only the scope of US health care policy, far beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, but also the precarious position of abortion policy in governments around the world.

“We know the impact of this decision will ripple,” said Bethany Van Kampen Saravia, senior legal and policy advisor at nonprofit Ipas, who attended meetings with colleagues from around the world. “The US has huge influence. Countries that want to liberalize their laws may think twice after this decision.”

Although administration officials did not comment on the specific closed-door meeting, they said they had met regularly with abortion rights advocates, including from other countries, since POLITICO. first reported on the Caviar draft judgment.

At the rallies, human rights activists called for support Abortion law is health care everywhereVan Kampen Saravia said, who added that the conversations included officials from USAID’s Bureau of Global Health, the HHS Office of Global Affairs, and the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, as well as representatives. Jan Shakowski (D-ill.) And Barbara Lee (D-caliph).

The legislation would allow U.S. foreign aid funds to be used for abortions, which are currently illegal under the Helms Amendment, although there is no clear path for passage in Congress. Van Kampen Saravia said the group asked administration officials to be clear about what types of abortion-related care and information will be allowed in US-funded programs, and to encourage more widespread abortion services.

The U.S. abortion rights movement has motivated other countries to change laws, activists say, and if the Supreme Court overturns Caviarthis momentum may change.

“The US is becoming a kind of inspiration for conservative movements, and conservative forces in the US have strongholds in Latin America and around the world,” said María Antonieta Alcalde Castro, director of Ipas in Central America and Mexico. “It’s very worrisome for the entire region.”

Anti-abortion activists have received new funding after a draft court decision was reported, as well as the benefits of using winning strategies in the US in other parts of the world, abortion rights advocates fear. Two global abortion rights groups did not respond to requests for comment.

“It creates a political trend followed by resources and political forces, and we already feel it,” said Alcalde Castro. “The type of rhetoric that we saw in Texas, we see, for example, in Mexico, in Nicaragua. So there is clearly a trend.

And the problems extend beyond Latin America.

“My colleagues in Europe are really concerned about what is happening in the US because, as you may know, especially in Eastern Europe, there are attempts to turn back,” said Susan Yanow, a spokeswoman for Women Helping Women Americas. , a global non-profit organization working to increase access to abortion medicines and information. “And it’s very worrying that countries with less democratic governments – and I’m going to put the US in this column now – are falling behind and the US is taking the lead.”

Activists said they saw politicians in their countries use the risk of a U.S. backlash to argue — often convincingly — for tightening restrictions on abortion.

However, others see this decision as a way to start a global conversation.

“The agenda is working in all directions,” said Gisele Carino, director and CEO of Fos Feminista, a global group of feminists and pro-abortion advocates. “The United States plays a leading role and undoubtedly sets the agenda. For example, with Black Lives Matter last year, when the whole world suddenly started talking about racism, and it was just incredible.

Many leaders and activists still see the US as one of the world’s top agenda-setters, especially when it comes to global health.

USA – no matter how Caviar seen by other governments – will remain a powerful major donor in global health. While official U.S. policy has long restricted access to abortions abroad, repeal Caviar could step up political pressure to comply with current US abortion policy in countries dependent on US aid.

In countries where US aid makes up a significant portion of the health care budget, the need for stable funding may outweigh policy proposals.

“Sometimes they don’t even have to say anything,” Pansy Katenga, director of global development for Ipas, told reporters at a conference on the global impact of the court’s decision. “People are afraid to annoy [the] USA”

The influence of the US on abortions abroad is also more direct. At times over the decades, the so-called Mexico City Rule has banned US-funded NGOs from promoting or performing abortion as a method of family planning.

In January 2021, the Biden administration reversed the rule.

However, other policies remain in effect. The Helms Amendment prohibits the use of foreign aid funds to conduct or induce abortions, although it does not prohibit information about all pregnancy options under local law.

And while activists said they don’t expect the court’s decision to lead to instant laws in other countries, they still believe the decision to overturn Caviar make their job much harder, whether it be because of the violent anti-abortion movement or because of pressure to follow current U.S. policy to keep aid funding.

“We are indeed, you know, at this crossroads, where any day we will see the overthrow of Rowe vs. WadeVan Kampen told Saravia. “This is a problem that can no longer be ignored.”