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Bipartisan Bill to Permanently Repeal the Harmful Global Gag Rule Carries Record Number of Original Co-sponsors

[June 12, 2015] — Urging Congress to permanently repeal the global “gag rule” that blocks women from even getting information about abortion, Planned Parenthood today applauded the introduction of the Global Democracy Promotion Act (GDPA) by women’s health champion Nita Lowey, with a record number of original co-sponsors. The bipartisan bill coincides with renewed efforts by women's health opponents to reinstate the global gag rule and include other harmful provisions in the House FY16 State, Foreign-Operations funding bill.

“Many countries are stepping up to better address women’s needs by investing in health programs and advancing policies that expand access to critical lifesaving services,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Putting the gag rule back in place would seriously impede countries’ efforts to improve women’s health. The U.S. should build on, not stand in the way of, progress at home and abroad.”

You can watch a white board video with Cecile Richards explaining the history and impact of the global gag rule here.

The GDPA would benefit women and families around the world by preventing politics from interfering with women’s health. The proposed law would block a future president from reinstating the harmful global gag rule, which prohibits foreign organizations receiving U.S. international family planning funds from providing information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or for advocating for the legalization of abortion in their own country — even if these activities are supported with their own, non-U.S. funding. When in place, the gag rule interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, limits free speech, and impedes women’s access to health services. The global gag rule is not currently in effect, but every year congressional opponents of women’s health make numerous attempts to reinstate it.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund this week also called on Congress to reject the harmful anti-women’s health measures included in the House FY16 State, Foreign-Operations funding bill. In addition to reinstating the global gag rule, the bill contains multiple harmful provisions that undermine access to family planning and reproductive health information and services for women around the world, including a harsh $149 million cut to lifesaving international family planning programs and a ban on funding for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.