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Eliminate the Global Gag Rule—Permanently
Yesterday, Congresswoman Nita Lowey and 114 cosponsors introduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act in the US House of Representatives. If passed, the bill would help to stabilize the policy climate for organizations that provide sexual and reproductive health services worldwide by permanently eliminating the Global Gag Rule.
The Global Gag Rule is a policy that bars foreign organizations that receive US aid from providing abortion services—including referrals or counseling—and promoting the legalization of abortion. After taking office in 2009, President Obama affirmed his administration’s commitment to women’s health and rights by rescinding the Global Gag Rule—but the repeal can only be made permanent through an act of Congress.
"The Global Gag Rule stands between the world's poorest women accessing one of the most important elements of their well-being: reproductive health services," said Carmen Barroso, Regional Director of IPPF/WHR. "Family planning programs help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. With less money, they are less able to provide those services."
"US foreign aid should never be used as a tool to limit women’s access to health care or to impose unfair restrictions on the decision-making ability of independent organizations overseas," said Latanya Mapp Frett, Vice President Global, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In addition to preventing millions of women from accessing critical health information and services, the Global Gag Rule infringes on organizations' right to free speech. Last month, the US Supreme Court overturned similar legislation, the "Anti-Prostitution Pledge," on grounds that it violates the First Amendment. The Global Democracy Promotion Act would prohibit restrictions on foreign organizations that would be unconstitutional if applied to organizations in the United States.
"By forcing eligible health care providers to choose between receiving critical US aid or fulfilling their obligations to their patients, [the Global Gag Rule] creates a false choice that undermines free speech and leads to more abortions, not fewer," said Congresswoman Lowey.
Congress has the opportunity to ensure that women, men, and young people throughout the world are able to access the sexual and reproductive health services they want, need, and deserve. Tell Congress to support the Global Democracy Promotion Act today!