This follows the expansion of the global gag rule in 2017 — and a newly released domestic gag rule scheduled to take effect May 3
WASHINGTON — Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump-Pence administration is further expanding the global gag rule — after Trump reinstated and radically expanded it as one of his first actions in office. Secretary Pompeo announced the Trump-Pence administration would be applying this already harmful policy to the broadest extent possible, and also took new action to withhold funding from the Organization of American States for simply commenting on efforts to decriminalize abortion in Latin America. Once again, this administration is demonstrating that the extremism of their agenda knows no bounds as they continue to silence health care providers and human rights organizations who work to uphold sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
This is unethical, dangerous, and unacceptable. Two years into the sweeping expansion of the global gag rule, there are countless examples around the world of patients losing access to health care, especially in places where maternal deaths, HIV rates, and unmet need for contraception are unacceptably high. Communities have lost access to essential life-saving services such as HIV testing, antiretroviral medications, nutritional support, birth control and pregnancy care. Further expanding the rule will have the most harmful impact on the people who already face barriers to care – including women and girls, communities of color, people with low incomes, youth, and LGBTQ communities. Further expansion of the global gag rule will harm millions of people around the world and have consequences for generations to come.
In February 2019, the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act was introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate to permanently repeal the global gag rule, ensuring that qualified foreign non-government organizations can continue to operate U.S.-supported health programs abroad. The Global HER Act is endorsed by over 100 diverse organizations, 47 Senators, and 170 Representatives. In January, Planned Parenthood Global released an impact report, making clear that, due to the expanded global gag rule, people around the world are losing access to vital health education and services – from antiretrovirals for people with HIV, to nutritional support for children, to contraceptive information for women. Planned Parenthood Global spoke with people affected by the policy firsthand, including voices from humanitarian groups, organizations working with people living with HIV/AIDS, and non-reproductive health providers that are impacted by the expanded policy. The report documents how the Trump-Pence administration took a bad policy and made it worse - disrupting access to a range of health services and information, silencing advocates, halting national progress, and emboldening opponents of human rights.
At home and abroad, the Trump-Pence administration is pushing policies that ask doctors to make the impossible choice between being censored from providing the best care possible or stopping the provision of care to patients that face the greatest barriers to accessing it. The administration recently issued a final domestic gag rule, which is scheduled to take effect May 3. The rule would radically change Title X, the nation’s only program dedicated to birth control and other reproductive health care, in which 81 percent of program recipients earn less than 150 percent of the poverty line. The rule would gag physicians from referring women for abortion services, and make it impossible for Planned Parenthood health centers to continue to serve patients through the program. Patients expect their providers to speak honestly with them, to answer their questions, to help them in their time of need. It is harmful for politicians to restrict physicians from speaking honestly to their patients and censor what physicians can say to their patients, simply because they are low income.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young 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. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.