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Global Gag Rule

bans overseas groups from U.S. funding if they provide or mention abortion; the Trump administration made the rule more restrictive


Tell Congress: Support women’s health worldwide. End the global gag rule!

Why It Matters

  • Almost immediately after taking office, President Trump reinstated and expanded the global gag rule, which severely restricts access to abortion abroad. 

  • The global gag rule became more restrictive and dangerous than any previous version. It banned overseas groups from receiving U.S. health funding if they refer, provide, or even mention abortion or abortion-related services. 

  • The people most affected live in the poorest and hardest-to-reach communities around the world — including in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Trump’s global gag led to terrible consequences: increases in maternal deaths, unsafe abortions, and HIV and AIDS rates worldwide, as well as the breakdown of coalitions that create local partnerships to provide reproductive healthcare in poor and rural regions. 

  • Trump’s global gag rule also closed women’s health clinics, and — as a result — studies estimated that up to 26 million women and families would lose access to birth control services.

Key Players

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State

Nominated by Trump: 3-13-2018
Nikki Haley

Former Ambassador to the United Nations

Resigned: 10-9-2018
Bethany Kozma

Deputy Chief of Staff for USAID, and UN Commission on the Status of Women U.S. Delegation Member

Appointed by Trump: 6-29-2017
Andrew Bremberg

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva

Nominated by Trump: Sept. 28, 2018

“We recently ran out of contraceptive stocks. As a result, young women are already coming in with unplanned pregnancies and complications from unsafe abortions.”


The Impact: Trump’s expanded gag rule went even further than previous versions of the policy, which were associated with more unintended pregnancies, pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion worldwide are expected.

  • 9-14-2020
    Administration proposes to further expand the global gag rule to include U.S. global health contracts, impacting up to 40% of global health funding (the previous expansion was from USAID’s family planning budget to all global health grants and cooperative agreements)
  • 12-16-2019
    Republican leaders in Congress blocked protections in the 2020 government spending bill that would have ended the global gag rule and the domestic Title X gag rule. Because the administration blocked funding to UNFPA, money that the spending bill appropriated for UNFPA was redirected through USAID — but accountability was lacking for where this funding ended up.
  • 2-22-2019
    New gag rule issued to restrict reproductive health at home in the U.S.
  • 12-7-2018 
    Trump shares intent to name Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador; she later withdraws
View more +
  • 5-14-2018 
    Tony Perkins appointed to help represent U.S. on international religious issues
  • 4-26-2018
    Mike Pompeo, who opposes abortion and gay marriage, becomes Secretary of State
  • 4-20-2018
    State Department takes out sexual, reproductive rights from human rights report
  • 1-24-2018
    Sam Brownback becomes U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom
  • 6-29-2017
    Anti-LGBTQ activist Bethany Kozma appointed to lead USAID gender equality effort
  • 3-30-2017
    U.S. pulls out of UNFPA, the UN reproductive health and rights agency
  • 1-24-2017
    Anti-abortion advocate Nikki Haley becomes UN Ambassador
  • 1-23-2017
    Trump reinstates, expands the global gag rule to restrict abortion access abroad


Global Gag Rule Denies Lifesaving Health Care

People globally have the right to bodily autonomy and comprehensive health care. But the global gag rule denies lifesaving health care to people in developing countries — putting their lives at stake.

The global gag rule makes things even harder for the more than 200 million women around the globe who have an unmet need for family planning services. The World Health Organization estimates that 25 million unsafe abortions take place worldwide each year — that means people need more access to safe abortion care, not less.

Background on the Global Gag Rule

'Back Alley' Abortions, Pregnancy Complications

Evidence has shown, time and again, that the global gag rule leads to increases in unsafe abortion — as well as unintended pregnancies, women dying from pregnancy-related complications, and infant and child deaths.

Funding Blocked for UNFPA—World’s Top Birth Control Provider

What makes the global gag rule even worse: The administration's move to block all U.S. funding to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) undermines its ability to promote reproductive health and respond to humanitarian crises.

Putting 500K Mozambicans at Risk

The global gag rule hurts local communities. For example, one health center in Mozambique, Africa, will lose 60 percent of its funding, leaving an estimated 500,000 people without access to sexual and reproductive health care.

International Planned Parenthood Federation
Hurting Maternal Health, AIDS, Zika Programs

The Trump administration expanded the global gag rule to apply to every international organization that receives U.S. global health funding, including services for maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, Zika, Ebola and other infectious diseases.

Censoring, Scaring Aid Workers

The global gag rule curtails free speech, creates confusion, and triggers fear among essential aid organizations and reproductive health care providers that receive U.S. funding.

Rewire News
Study Shows Global Gag Rule Effects Are Killing Women

A June 2019 report on Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and South Africa found that the global gag rule has deprived women of birth control, abortion care, and sexual health information — which led to unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and preventable deaths.

Foreign Policy

Related Issues

Global Gag Rule



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