Mofokeng1_Jonathan Torgovnik for The Hewlett Foundation_Reportage by Getty Images Jonathan Torgovnik for The Hewlett Foundation/Reportage by Getty Images

Ending America’s Global War on Reproductive Freedom

The Trump administration’s policy blocking US aid to foreign entities that provide abortion services is at odds with the laws of many developing countries, including South Africa. But with so much money on the line, how can governments uphold women’s rights?

JOHANNESBURG – My country liberalized abortion more than two decades ago, but on January 23, 2017, US President Donald Trump essentially took away my right even to write the word.

As a doctor in South Africa, I have provided abortion services for more than a decade. As part of my work, I often edit educational materials for an NGO working on HIV prevention. For young South African women, these texts offer life-saving information about issues related to sexual and reproductive health – including birth control, sexual violence, and our country’s progressive abortion law.

But two days after the American presidential election in November 2016 – and more than two months before Trump’s inauguration – the NGO I was working for halted distribution of a reproductive-health guide because it contained information on South Africa’s constitutionally guaranteed right to an abortion. The guide has since been reprinted, with all references to abortion deleted.