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Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today commended Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) for introducing the Global Democracy Promotion Act of 2010 to bar future administrations from reinstituting the so-called Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule, which blocked access to basic health care for women worldwide.

This commonsense legislation firmly states that the U.S. government supports women’s health and freedom of speech abroad in the same way it does in the United States.

“For decades, the global gag rule forced providers of women’s health care in the developing world to choose between receiving family planning funding from the U.S. government and providing women with abortion access, information or counseling,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “Through the Global Democracy Promotion Act, future administrations would be prohibited from using the global gag rule to force health care providers into making this dangerous choice. We applaud Congresswoman Lowey for being an undisputed champion of women’s health and rights around the world and urge Congress to support this measure, which will promote safe and effective family planning.”

The global gag rule was first instituted by President Ronald Regan in 1984 and has since been repealed and instituted by several subsequent administrations. President Obama repealed the rule during his first month in office. The frequent change in U.S. policy on funding organizations that provide abortion access, information, or counseling has caused vast confusion among foreign nongovernmental organizations working in the reproductive health arena. The Global Democracy Promotion Act would ensure that U.S. policy is consistent and would allow foreign nongovernmental organizations to freely advocate their views on reproductive health matters, using funds they generate themselves, without fear of losing U.S. government support.

Planned Parenthood’s commitment to reproductive health and rights extends around the world. Having worked overseas for nearly 40 years, Planned Parenthood has seen firsthand the terrible consequences arising from inadequate access to reproductive health care, including unnecessary maternal deaths.  In 11 countries, Planned Parenthood supports local organizations that provide high-quality health care to women; demonstrate innovative ways to increase access to health care for women and adolescents; and advocate for laws, policies, and funding that ensure access to women’s health care and information. Planned Parenthood has supported the vital work of these organizations with more than $2.5 million in grants last year alone.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


PPFA Media Relations, 202-973-4882


May 14, 2014