WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report confirming the harm caused by the Trump administration’s global gag rule, which was repealed by the Biden administration early last year.
For the last 40 years, the global gag rule has either been reinstated or repealed with each transition of party leadership in the White House, disrupting health care access, jeopardizing long-term funding for health programs, and harming people around the world. The GAO report is yet another reminder of the global gag rule’s impact and further illustrates why the policy should be permanently repealed.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president & CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“The report confirms what advocates and health providers have been saying for decades: The global gag rule is a dangerous policy that restricts access to health care, and disproportionately harms women, young people, people living in rural communities, and the LGBTQ+ community due to systemic racism and discrimination. While the Biden administration has rescinded the policy, this report makes clear that the impacts of the global gag rule are felt long beyond rescission - permanent repeal of the global gag rule is necessary and long overdue. Now Congress must act and pass legislation that permanently repeals this dangerous policy.”
The report concludes that the impacts of the global gag rule are felt beyond its rescission, including reduced provision and coordination of services, reduced access to trusted providers, and fear of the policy’s reinstatement. These long-lasting impacts of the policy underscore the urgent need for permanent repeal.
The GAO report highlights the impacts of two of the largest allies, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and MSI Reproductive Choices (MSI), losing funding as a result of the global gag rule:
- MSI experienced gaps extending from six to eight months in Senegal during which they had limited mobile outreach capacity and the ability to provide contraceptives.
- MSI and IPPF’s work through their West Africa Regional Program was also significantly impacted.
- Without IPPF, there was less access to contraception, youth-friendly centers — which were well-known in the community — and difficulty training health workers.
- Without MSI, the region again lost access to contraceptives and health care providers in rural communities.
- In Togo and Liberia, no partner organizations were able to replace the health centers while the gag rule was in effect.
This report also highlights the compounding impact of COVID-19 on global sexual and reproductive health care services, which had already been decimated by the global gag rule. The harms of the global gag rule are only amplified by continued cycles of implementation and revision.
The GAO report was issued at the request of a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators. This follows a 2020 GAO report detailing the unprecedented scale and devastating impact of the expanded global gag rule, which has also been documented by Planned Parenthood Global and others.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.
For 50 years, Planned Parenthood Global has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world. In partnership with over 70 organizations across eight focus countries in Africa and Latin America, we advance the health and rights of young people, women and families, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. Each year, our partners provide sexual and reproductive health information and services to nearly 2 million people. Our unique sustainability model sets us apart, as we empower partners to stand on their own. We help grassroots organizations develop solid reproductive health programs, identify other sources of funding, build their communications and advocacy skills, and develop strategic plans. Planned Parenthood Global is the international arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.