Vice season 6 episode 7: Russian Democracy and the Global Gag Rule


On the latest episode of Vice, they took a look at the state of Russian Democracy and how the Global Gag Rule effects Africa.

Vice looks at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been in office since 2000. He is currently on track to be the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. His public approval is reported to be a quite high 80 percent. But over the last few years, his rule and the state of Russian democracy has come under increasingly harsh scrutiny.

In their most recent election, the “official opposition” candidates amounted to a tiny amount of the total votes. But after interviewing other political candidates and dissidents within Russia, it’s clear they regard the formal opposition to Putin as nothing more than token opposition. Especially because one of their candidates in the most recent Presidential election was the daughter of Putin’s mentor.

Only time will tell how long this situation will last.

The other segment on this week’s Vice was a look at the Global Gag Rule and how that policy impacts health in Africa. The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy blocks all U.S. foreign aid for services that provide abortion or even for those that recommend abortions. It affects primarily NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) who provide services related to public health and family planning. The policy is a piece of partisan haggling that has been put into place when every Republican President since Reagan has taken office, while Democratic presidents suspend the policy.

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But as one might imagine, the policy is a bit more complicated than that. The Global Gag Rule effects far more policies related than just those related to family planning. Programs related to general health care as well as for HIV are under strain because of the policy. Not to mention that the policy only affects licensed health professionals. The Mexico City Policy does nothing to stop women from having unsafe abortions. Many women in Africa get them and often times suffer from infections or countless other dangerous complications.

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