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Sen. Lautenberg Leads Appropriations Committee in Bipartisan Stand for Women’s Rights around the World
Planned Parenthood Applauds First Step in Permanent Repeal of Global Gag Rule
Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauds Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and the Senate Appropriations Committee for passing an amendment to the FY2011 State and Foreign Operations funding measure yesterday to permanently repeal the restrictive Mexico City policy and allow organizations that receive U.S. foreign aid to offer the full range of reproductive health services and counseling to all women who need them without interruption or censorship. The Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule, denies U.S. foreign aid to any organization that uses private funds to offer, promote, or even refer for abortion services.
The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Lautenberg and co-sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and passed the Senate committee with a bipartisan vote of 19–11.
“For too long, the global gag rule has been a political Ping-Pong ball, changing with each administration, and millions of women around the world have paid the price,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “That’s why Planned Parenthood applauds Sen. Lautenberg, Sen. Collins, Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Mikulski and the Senate Appropriations Committee for taking the first step in retiring this restrictive policy once and for all. Doing so would allow nonprofit organizations to continue to offer the full range of reproductive health services and counseling to women who need them the most, without fear of the rules changing with the next president.”
In January 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order repealing the restrictive policy, allowing U.S. foreign aid to flow to organizations that provided vital reproductive health care services and counseling to women in need. Unfortunately, nothing currently prevents future presidents from issuing an executive order reinstating the restrictive policy.
Planned Parenthood supports permanent repeal of the Mexico City policy because childbirth or pregnancy-related causes kill more than half a million women each year — and almost all of these deaths are preventable. Women and mothers around the world deserve access to full reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood Federation of America urges congressional leaders to stand up for the health care needs of women everywhere and carry this amendment through a floor vote, putting an end to the harmful and restrictive global gag rule once and for all.