Move to Repeal Global Gag Rule
WASHINGTON, DC — Following the introduction yesterday of the Global Democracy Promotion Act by Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) praised the act and urged its quick passage. The act would repeal the global gag rule, an executive order reinstated by President Bush on his first day in office. The gag rule prohibits foreign family planning agencies from receiving U.S. funding if they provide, counsel, refer or lobby for abortion services. The gag rule prohibits these activities even if organizations carry them out with their own, non-U.S. funding.
"The global gag rule seriously jeopardizes the health of the world's most vulnerable women," said PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl. "Reproductive health care organizations overseas must either accept U.S. funds and agree to terms that jeopardize their patients' health, or reject the funds and have to cut vital programs, which also risks their patients' health. It is a profoundly dangerous policy that runs against our core values as Americans."
Since President Bush reinstated the policy, clinics have closed and women and men have had reduced access to contraception and family planning in the developing world. Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that the global gag rule has reduced the number of abortions worldwide. Indeed, the only available evidence suggests that the global gag rule has harmed women and damaged critical health care infrastructures, all in the name of satisfying a conservative, ideologically motivated political base in the U.S.