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Coalition Statement Opposing the Global Gag Rule

We join together as diverse voices from a variety of sectors to oppose the harmful global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. While the Helms Amendment restricts U.S. foreign assistance funding for abortions “as a method of family planning,” the global gag rule goes a step further by blocking aid to foreign organizations who use their own non-U.S. funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or to advocate for access to abortion services in their own country.

The global gag rule causes serious harm in countries around the world. The policy interferes with the doctor-patient relationship by restricting medical information healthcare providers may offer, limits free speech by prohibiting local citizens from participating in public policy debates, and impedes women’s access to family planning by cutting off funding for many of the most experienced health care providers who chose to prioritize quality reproductive-health services and counseling over funding that restricts care
and censors information.

When in place, the negative impacts of the global gag rule have been broad and severe: health services have been dismantled in a number of communities; clinics that provided a range of reproductive, maternal, and child health care, including HIV testing and counseling, were forced to close; outreach efforts to hard to reach populations were eliminated; and access to contraceptives was severely limited, resulting in more unintended pregnancies and more unsafe abortions. Here is the testimony of one
organization that experienced the impact of the global gag rule:

After refusing the terms of the gag rule in 2001, at Family Health Options Kenya we lost a significant amount of funding from USAID with serious and damaging effects on our ability to provide crucial reproductive health and family planning services. We were forced to close six clinics, all of which provided critical services to poor and underserved populations in urban, periurban and rural areas including family planning, voluntary counseling and testing for HIV, management of sexually transmitted infections, post-abortion care and maternal and child health services. Following the closure of these clinics in 2005, at least 9,000 people – primarily women and children – were left with little or no access to health care.

– Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), 2013

Countries around the world are making significant progress in improving women’s health and the global gag rule undermines that momentum. Developing and donor countries alike are stepping up to prioritize and make tangible headway in closing the gap on access to modern family planning through increased funding and better policies. This momentum, which includes global partnerships like Family Planning 2020, builds on the essential foundation of U.S. investments in this sector. The global gag rule seriously hinders the effectiveness of U.S. global health investments and the growing global progress that we, as a global community, have made in expanding access to family planning for couples worldwide and in reducing maternal mortality.

The U.S. has been a leader when it comes to promoting democracy, women’s health, and human rights around the world. U.S. foreign aid should never be used as a tool to limit women’s access to health care or to censor free speech. Organizations should not be disqualified from receiving U.S. assistance because they use their own funds to provide health services and information that are legal in their home country and legal in the U.S. Supporters of global health and development, women’s rights, gender equality, and free speech oppose the harmful global gag rule and reject efforts to undermine the health and rights of women around the world.

Endorsing Organizations:

  1. 30 for 30 Campaign
  2. Advocates for Youth
  3. AFL-CIO
  4. AIDS Foundation of Chicago
  5. AIDS United
  6. ACT UP NY
  7. Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking
  8. American Academy of Pediatrics
  9. American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  10. American Civil Liberties Union
  11. American College of Nurse-Midwives
  12. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  13. American Federation of Teachers
  14. American Humanist Association
  15. American Jewish World Service
  16. American Medical Student Association
  17. Americans United for Separation of Church and State
  18. amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research)
  19. Amnesty International USA
  20. Amref Health Africa
  21. Anti-Defamation League
  22. Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
  23. AVAC
  24. Black Women's Health Imperative
  25. Breakthrough
  26. carafem
  27. CARE USA
  28. Catholics for Choice
  29. Center for Biological Diversity
  30. Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
  31. Center for Inquiry
  32. Center for Reproductive Rights
  33. Center for Women Policy Studies
  34. Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS
  35. Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)
  36. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
  37. Concerned Clergy for Choice
  38. Consortium of Universities for Global Health
  39. Council for Global Equality
  40. CREDO
  41. Disciple Public Witness; Disciples of Christ
  42. Disciples for Choice
  43. Disciples Justice Action Network
  44. DKT International
  45. Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
  46. End Rape on Campus
  47. EngenderHealth
  48. Everywoman Everywhere
  49. Feminist Majority
  50. First Unitarian Church of Dallas
  51. First Unitarian Church of Portland
  52. Foreign Policy for America
  53. FP2020
  54. Freedom From Religion Foundation
  55. Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA)
  56. Global Doctors for Choice
  57. Global Health Council
  58. Global Initiatives for Human Rights (GIHR)
  59. Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law
  60. Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches
  61. Global Progressive Hub
  62. Guttmacher Institute
  63. Gynuity Health Projects
  64. Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
  65. Health GAP
  66. Healthy Teen Network
  67. HIV Medicine Association
  68. Human Rights Campaign
  69. Human Rights Watch
  70. Ibis Reproductive Health
  71. If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
  72. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
  73. Ipas
  74. Institute for Science and Human Values
  75. International Center for Research on Women
  76. International Medical Corps
  77. International Planned Parenthood Federation
  78. International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
  79. International Women’s Convocation
  80. International Women's Health Coalition
  81. International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
  82. IntraHealth International
  83. John Snow, Inc.
  84. JWI
  85. Lutheran Women's Caucus
  86. LWC Policy Consulting Inc.
  87. MADRE: Demanding Rights, Resources & Results for Women Worldwide
  88. Management Sciences for Health
  89. Marie Stopes International-US
  90. Medical Students for Choice
  91. Methodist Federation for Social Action
  92. Muslims for Progressive Values
  93. NARAL Pro-Choice America
  94. NASTAD (National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors)
  95. National Abortion Federation
  96. National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
  97. National Center for Lesbian Rights
  98. National Center for Transgender Equality
  99. National Council of Jewish Women
  100. National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
  101. National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
  102. National LGBTQ Task Force
  103. National Network of Abortion Funds
  104. National Organization for Women
  105. National Partnership for Women & Families
  106. National Women’s Health Network
  107. National Women's Law Center
  108. New Voices for Reproductive Justice
  109. Norwegian Refugee Council USA
  110. Outright Action International
  111. PAI
  112. Partners for Development
  113. PATH
  114. Pathfinder International
  115. People For The American Way
  116. Physicians for Reproductive Health
  117. Plan International USA
  118. Planned Parenthood Clergy Advocacy Board
  119. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  120. Population Connection Action Fund
  121. Population Council
  122. Population Institute
  123. Population Media Center
  124. Population Reference Bureau
  125. Positive Women's Network - USA
  126. PSI
  127. Public Health Institute
  128. Refugees International
  129. Religious Institute
  130. Reproaction
  131. Reproductive Health Technologies Project
  132. Save the Children
  133. Secular Coalition for America
  134. Secular Student Alliance
  135. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)
  136. Sierra Club
  137. SisterLove, Inc.
  138. SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
  139. Society for Humanistic Judaism
  140. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
  141. Student Global AIDS Campaign
  142. The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)
  143. The Hunger Project
  144. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  145. Transgender Law Center
  146. Treatment Action Group
  147. UltraViolet
  148. Union for Reform Judaism
  149. Unitarian Universalist Association
  150. Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation
  151. United Methodist General Board of Church & Society
  152. United We Dream
  153. URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
  154. UU Humanist Association
  155. Voices for Progress
  156. WaterAid
  157. White Ribbon Alliance
  158. Whitman Walker Health
  159. WIN (Women's Information Network)
  160. Women at the Center
  161. Women's Law Project
  162. Woman Care Global
  163. Women Deliver
  164. Women of Reform Judaism
  165. Women's Refugee Commission
  166. Women’s Research & Education Institute
  167. Woodhull Freedom Foundation
  168. Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network
  169. YWCA USA

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