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Misleading Six-Month Review Fails to Look at the Full Impact of the Policy

NAIROBI, KENYA — Yesterday, the the Trump-Pence administration released a six-month review of its expanded “global gag” rule, which is already unprecedented in its deadly scope. The skewed review of the impact of the global gag rule tells a misleading story, and paints an incomplete picture of both prime and sub-recipients in impacted countries. The review cites that merely four prime recipients and only 12 sub-recipients are refusing to comply with the rule. The report fails to evaluate the full impact of the policy. Most U.S. funding flows first to U.S. based organizations, which are not required to sign the global gag rule, and most foreign NGOs are sub-recipients of U.S. funding. The report also fails to indicate the reach of the prime recipients noted. Two of the four prime recipients noted are International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which delivers more than 300 services every minute of every day, and Marie Stopes International (MSI), provider of contraceptive services to millions of women, girls and communities across Africa and Asia.

The expansion of the global gag rule by the Trump-Pence administration threatens to exclude some of the world’s most effective health organizations and crucial advocates for marginalized peoples' rights in 60 low- and middle-income countries.

Statement from Latanya Mapp Frett, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Global:

This incomplete review tells a misleading story that President Trump wants the public to hear. The truth is that the effects of the global gag rule will be far reaching and deadly. The Trump-Pence administration has taken unprecedented steps to expand a lethal policy that deprives women around the world of the right to health care and full information to plan their futures. We’ve seen the impact of these policies for women around the world. In Uganda, a service provider that delivers health services to over one million people annually has already seen its ability to serve its patients severely limited. As a result, unintended pregnancies will rise, and with it, unsafe abortions. The state department’s review is a woefully inadequate representation of the effects on health systems and people’s health.

The impact of the global gag rule is far reaching. In Mozambique, an organization that provides physical, psychological, and social support to people living with HIV, will be forced to lay off 130 staff, leaving about 500,000 people without access to care. In Botswana, the only health NGO working across the country will have to close clinics in three of the eight districts it serves. More than 30 percent of the population of Botswana is HIV-positive. In Lesotho, about 10,000 young people in one district will go without HIV, family planning and sex education services. Almost a quarter of people in Lesotho have tested HIV positive, giving the country the third-highest prevalence rate in the world.

On May 15, 2017, the U.S. Department of State announced its plan to guide how the U.S. government will apply provisions of the expanded global gag rule. A diverse range of 110 civil society organizations shared an open letter with recommendations for how this review should be conducted, and called on the state department to conduct an annual review for the duration of the policy. The review released yesterday clearly ignored those recommendations. Recalling the harm caused by more limited iterations of the global gag rule in previous years, academic institutions and organizations themselves are conducting a breadth of research to track and document the real impact.

The dangerous policy was rebranded under the painfully ironic name, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.” Instead of protecting life, the global gag rule will put lifesaving health services, particularly sexual and reproductive health services, out of reach for people and communities who already have limited access to affordable, quality healthcare. Over 160 diverse groups have joined to oppose the global gag rule — spanning domestic and global reproductive health and justice, human rights, public health, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, faith-based, labor, environmental, maternal and child health, youth, anti-trafficking, development, academic, medical, and refugee organizations.

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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.

For more than 45 years, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world through our international arm, Planned Parenthood Global. In partnership with more than 100 organizations across 12 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. Last year, our partners reached over a million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services provided by our partners. 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