Closing an HIV lifeline in Africa: the impact of Trump's abortion crackdown

Celeste is a 30-year-old widow mother of two from the poor suburbs of Maputo, Mozambique’s capital. She is HIV-positive, and since her husband died from an Aids-related illness last year, she has no way of supporting herself, though she tries to help her mother work her small vegetable patch.

One organisation is helping her through the darkest times, giving her advice and help, and ensuring that she takes her medication: Amodefa – the Mozambican Association for Family Development.

“If it wasn’t for Amodefa’s visits, I wouldn’t be here,” says Celeste, now pregnant again, as she sits in the dusty yard in front of her mother’s house where she has lived since last year.

The lives of the poorest women in southern Africa depend on organisations such as this. Yet they will be among the worst affected by Donald Trump’s crackdown on family planning groups around the world. Advocates across the region say the move risks undermining progress in tackling HIV and Aids in southern Africa, one of the areas hardest hit by the epidemic.

Trump’s re-introduction of the Mexico City policy, known as the “global gag rule”, bans US government funds from going to organisations with any links to abortion. It jeopardises a wide range of healthcare clinics in dozens of countries because family planning advice is often bundled up with other provision. In all, nearly $9bn (£7bn) is at stake, and hundreds of thousands of women could be affected.


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