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For over 30 years, a harmful policy known as the global gag rule has played politics with women’s health and lives around the world.

President Donald Trump expanded this dangerous rule in one of his first executive actions in office.

What is the Global Gag Rule?

The global gag rule (also known as the Mexico City policy) was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan. Separate law already restricts U.S. foreign assistance funding for abortions overseas.  The global gag rule goes a step further and prevents foreign organizations receiving U.S. international family planning funds from providing information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country — even with their own money.

Watch Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards explain the impact of this harmful policy:

 


What Does This Mean on the Ground?

When in place, the global gag rule forces health care providers to chose between U.S. family planning assistance and the ability to counsel and provide clients with an accurate and full range of safe and legal reproductive health options. The global gag rule seriously impedes countries’ efforts to improve women’s health and undermines civic participation.

Every year, opponents of women’s health try to re-impose the global gag rule. With every transition in the White House, the global gag rule is removed and reinstated: It went into effect under President Reagan, was removed by President Bill Clinton, reinstated under President George W. Bush, removed again by President Barack Obama (in his first week in office), and reinstated again by President Trump (in his first week in office). This uncertainty affects many organizations in developing countries.

Time to End the Global Gag Rule

As the world’s largest bilateral family planning donor, the U.S. should build on, not stand in the way of progress. The U.S. needs to show strong leadership when it comes to promoting women’s health and free speech around the world.  Politicians in Washington should not be interfering in a woman’s personal medical decision about her pregnancy, in this country or anywhere in the world.  

U.S. foreign aid should never be used as a tool to limit women’s access to health care or to impose unfair restrictions on the decision-making ability of independent organizations overseas.  The women of the world need information and services, not censorship and restrictions.

— Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards

Champions of women’s health are expected to fight back by supporting a bill that would block a future anti-women’s health president from reinstating the harmful global gag rule. Let's end the global gag rule for good. Follow @ppglobe for the latest updates and ways to take action.