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Bill Gates arrives to Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Bill Gates said Trump's abortion 'gag order' is putting millions of women and kids at risk

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When President Trump instituted his "global gag order" that blocked U.S. funds to any organizations involved in abortions overseas, it didn't get as much attentions as orders like, say, the travel ban.


But Bill and Melinda Gates, who run the charitable foundation that bears their name, said Tuesday the order put millions of lives at risk, The Guardian reports. The U.S. is the world's biggest donor to family planning and women's health programs worldwide, and those funds can't be replaced by generous private citizens, Bill said.

The expansion of this policy ... could create a void that even a foundation like ours can't fill.
Bill Gates

Bill said he had multiple conversations with Trump before his inauguration. They talked about eradicating polio and an AIDS vaccine, and Bill said it was a "good discussion." He did not anticipate how far the gag order would reach.

What is the gag order anyway?

The gag order is a policy first imposed in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan. It cuts off funding from any group that "performs or actively promotes abortion as a method of family planning" over seas. Every Democratic president since then has lifted it, while every Republican since has reinstated it. 

But Trump's order goes further than the original plan. It cuts off funding to any organization that gets U.S. Aid funding involved in abortion, not just family planning groups. 

Limiting women's power keeps everyone poor.
Melinda Gates

The Gates argue that the move will prevent women from getting contraceptives, which can expose them to diseases and put children in danger.

They also argued that "poverty is sexist" and stripping power from women will hurt developing nations' economies.

Here's the full letter released by the foundation.

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