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Coalition Statement Opposing the Global Gag Rule 2017

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. EngenderHealth
  47. Everywoman Everywhere
  48. Feminist Majority
  49. First Unitarian Church of Dallas
  50. First Unitarian Church of Portland
  51. FP2020
  52. Freedom From Religion Foundation
  53. Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA)
  54. Global Doctors for Choice
  55. Global Health Council
  56. Global Initiatives for Human Rights (GIHR)
  57. Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law
  58. Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches
  59. Global Progressive Hub
  60. Gynuity Health Projects
  61. Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
  62. Health GAP
  63. Healthy Teen Network
  64. HIV Medicine Association
  65. Human Rights Campaign
  66. Human Rights Watch
  67. Ibis Reproductive Health
  68. If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
  69. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
  70. Ipas
  71. Institute for Science and Human Values
  72. International Center for Research on Women
  73. International Medical Corps
  74. International Planned Parenthood Federation
  75. International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
  76. International Women’s Convocation
  77. International Women's Health Coalition
  78. International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
  79. IntraHealth International
  80. John Snow, Inc.
  81. JWI
  82. Lutheran Women's Caucus
  83. LWC Policy Consulting Inc.
  84. MADRE: Demanding Rights, Resources & Results for Women Worldwide
  85. Management Sciences for Health
  86. Marie Stopes International-US
  87. Medical Students for Choice
  88. Methodist Federation for Social Action
  89. Muslims for Progressive Values
  90. NARAL Pro-Choice America
  91. NASTAD (National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors)
  92. National Abortion Federation
  93. National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
  94. National Center for Lesbian Rights
  95. National Center for Transgender Equality
  96. National Council of Jewish Women
  97. National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
  98. National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
  99. National LGBTQ Task Force
  100. National Network of Abortion Funds
  101. National Organization for Women
  102. National Partnership for Women & Families
  103. National Women’s Health Network
  104. National Women's Law Center
  105. Norwegian Refugee Council USA
  106. Outright Action International
  107. PAI
  108. Partners for Development
  109. PATH
  110. Pathfinder International
  111. People For The American Way
  112. Physicians for Reproductive Health
  113. Plan International USA
  114. Planned Parenthood Clergy Advocacy Board
  115. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  116. Population Connection Action Fund
  117. Population Council
  118. Population Institute
  119. Population Media Center
  120. Population Reference Bureau
  121. Positive Women's Network - USA
  122. PSI
  123. Public Health Institute
  124. Refugees International
  125. Religious Institute
  126. Reproaction
  127. Reproductive Health Technologies Project
  128. Republican Majority for Choice
  129. Save the Children
  130. Secular Coalition for America
  131. Secular Student Alliance
  132. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)
  133. Sierra Club
  134. SisterLove, Inc.
  135. SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
  136. Society for Humanistic Judaism
  137. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
  138. Student Global AIDS Campaign
  139. The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)
  140. The Hunger Project
  141. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  142. Treatment Action Group
  143. UltraViolet
  144. Union for Reform Judaism
  145. Unitarian Universalist Association
  146. Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation
  147. United Methodist General Board of Church & Society
  148. United We Dream
  149. URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
  150. UU Humanist Association
  151. Voices for Progress
  152. WaterAid
  153. White Ribbon Alliance
  154. WIN (Women's Information Network)
  155. Women at the Center
  156. Woman Care Global
  157. Women Deliver
  158. Women of Reform Judaism
  159. Women's Refugee Commission
  160. Women’s Research & Education Institute
  161. Women Thrive Alliance
  162. Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network
  163. YWCA USA