President Donald Trump on Monday signed a decree preventing U.S. federal funding for foreign NGOs that support abortion.
The ban prohibits foreign nongovernmental organisations that receive U.S. family planning assistance from using it to provide abortion services, information, counseling or referrals and from engaging in advocacy to promote abortion.
It also re-launched age-long battle on the issue between the Republicans and Democrats.
The ban was first put in place in 1984 by Republican President Ronald Reagan but his successor, Democratic President Bill Clinton eliminated it.
It was however, reinstalled by his Republican successor George W. Bush, and annulled again after Barack Obama took office.
The ban by Trump comes just two days after women led a massive protest march in Washington to defend their rights, including to abortion.
Stenny Hoyer, a Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, sharply criticized Trump for using his first week in office “to attack women’s health.”
“It should be no surprise to the millions of women and men who gathered in protest this weekend across the country –- and around the world –- that Republicans are focused more on making it harder for women to access health care than on the serious economic and security challenges we face.”
Galvanized by Trump’s November 8 election, abortion opponents in states where Republicans hold power moved swiftly last month to adopt draconian anti-abortion measures that in some cases pose challenges to constitutional liberties.
The new president, meanwhile, has pledged to nominate an anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court, which could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade, the emblematic ruling that legalized abortion in the United States in 1973.
© 2017 AFP