My mother is a proud OB/GYN in the army. She served not only the people of our country, but the servicewomen, military spouses and women in need all over the world. Every day, I saw her provide the reproductive health care people need, without judgment and with compassion. She showed me how important it is that every person, no matter her background, where she lives, or how much money she has, should be able to decide when and if to become a parent. My mother’s strength and compassion to provide reproductive health care - is one reason I became a legislator.
What is Global Gag Rule? As you may have heard by now, this global gag rule means that the government will no longer allocate US family planning funds to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide, counsel, refer or lobby for abortion services. In the US, the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal dollars to perform abortions. Many health care centers offset the cost of abortion services with donations. Similarly, the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of government funds for the performance of abortions globally. Trump’s global gag order takes this policy a step further by cutting off all global health funds to NGOs that provide even any information about abortion services.
The Global Gag Rule has a horrible history of coming back. The Mexico City Policy, commonly known as the Global Gag Rule, has been reinstated and repealed multiple times. It was first created by Ronald Reagan, to be repealed by Clinton, to be reinstated by Bush, to be repealed by Obama and reinstated once again by Donald Trump. These changes from Administration to Administration have limited the important work of medical providers across the world. In fact, studies have shown the global gag rule results in worldwide clinic closures. Without access to safe, comprehensive reproductive health care, nations have experienced more unintended pregnancies and consequently, an increase in unsafe abortions. The latest reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule will undoubtedly have the same, devastating outcomes for women across the world.
The Global Gag Rule is inhumane and even more dangerous today. Currently, women in South and Central America are at risk of a disease that directly creates complications for their pregnancy. If they have been infected with the Zika virus, their child may have serious health issues and pass away. These pregnancies are tragic and painful. These women should -- actually must -- have access to all of their options for their own safety.
But I do believe we can each fight back. As your house representative, I will continue to oppose all efforts that limit a woman’s right to reproductive health care locally and internationally. I will oppose legislation here at the state level that would put Colorado women’s access to safe and legal abortion, and comprehensive reproductive health care, at risk. I will also personally support and advocate (as this is a federal bill) for the forthcoming Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently repeal the global gag rule. It is time to end this policy that hurts so many women.
All women deserve to live healthy and happy lives. Providers across the world work every day to ensure women can get the care they need. As a state legislator I will stand up for all women’s reproductive rights, no matter on which continent they live.