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In new Planned Parenthood Global report, experts detail the harmful effects of the global gag rule

On January 23rd, the second anniversary of President Trump’s executive order that not only brought back but greatly expanded the reach of the harmful policy known as the global gag rule, Planned Parenthood Global launched a new report entitled “Assessing the Global Gag Rule: Harms to Health, Communities, and Advocacy.”

What is the Global Gag Rule?

The global gag rule was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. On January 23, 2017, in one of his first acts as president, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the global gag rule. As it stands currently, the rule targets international organizations that work on any programs funded by U.S. global health assistance — including programs to expand access to contraception, prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, combat malaria, and improve maternal and child health.

Global Gag Rule 101

Global Gag Rule 101

Hear from student activists from college campuses around the U.S. on the ins and outs of the global gag rule and why they're fighting back.

The Report

Based on interviews with 22 experts from seven countries, this new report documents the real impact of the global gag rule on the people and organizations most affected by the policy. It builds on the growing body of evidence collected by a range of health, human rights and development organizations and identifies three alarming themes among experts on the ground that the global gag rule:

  • Disrupts the delivery of health services in areas of the world that are most in need

  • Rolls back progress made in countries that have fought to advance access to health care and human rights

  • Weakens national coalitions by breaking up long-standing partnerships and making it harder for groups to collaborate


These effects have dangerous consequences and are rolling back hard fought for global progress. The global gag rule creates fear and confusion, silences advocates, and blocks health care providers from providing lifesaving services and information.

In Their Own Words

“Organizations are afraid to talk to each other and collaborate, and push national governments based on something that’s not grounded in medicine or evidence. It’s American politics… This is a dangerous precedent.”

“The truth is that the effects of the global gag rule will be far reaching and deadly … We’ve seen the impact of these policies for women around the world. In Uganda, a service provider that delivers health services to over 1 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.”– Latanya Mapp Frett, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Global

“We broker [patient's] access to care. We have said, we can offer you this service and it will have a real transformative impact on your life… And now we say, we can’t come again.

“There are so many fears built up, it’s like a house of cards. You make one wrong move and you lose funding...”

“Who suffers most is the woman who cannot speak for herself. She cannot afford to pay for health services. She lives in a hard-to-reach area and now she cannot be reached by the services that she needs because they have been cut. She doesn’t even know about the global gag rule… She doesn’t care what is discussed at the national level, but what is provided in her village and at the facility near her.”

Fighting Back

Click here to read a statement opposing the global gag rule signed by organizations dedicated to health and human rights around the world.

And visit Planned Parenthood Action Fund by clicking the link below to learn more about their global advocacy efforts to fight against the global gag rule and other attacks on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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