For over 30 years, the global gag rule has played politics with women’s lives
New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America condemned today’s move by President Donald Trump to reinstate the global gag rule, which prohibits international organizations from receiving U.S. family planning funding if they provide, counsel, refer or lobby for abortion services. The gag rule prohibits these activities even if organizations carry them out with their own, non-U.S. funding, and even if abortion is legal in their own country.
Statement from Latanya Mapp Frett, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Global:
“By reinstating the global gag rule as one of his first actions in office, Donald Trump has put politics over women’s lives. The global gag rule will cause clinic closures around the world, resulting in more unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion, not less. The world’s most vulnerable women will suffer as a direct result of this policy, which threatens to undermine years of efforts to improve women’s health worldwide. The policy also sends a false message around the world that the U.S. is against abortion rights above all else – a stance with which many Americans disagree.
Politicians should not stand between a woman and her doctor, neither here in the U.S. nor anywhere else in the world. And U.S. foreign assistance should not be held hostage to politicians’ personal beliefs, as it is under the global gag rule, especially when those beliefs interfere with U.S. values such as promoting human rights, international development, democracy and free speech.
“The timing of this policy reinstatement is particularly devastating, since we know that global family planning programs are working. U.S. assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs for FY 2016 would ensure contraceptive services and supplies for 27 million women and couples and help avert six million unintended pregnancies; 11,000 maternal deaths; and 2.3 million abortions, the vast majority of which are unsafe. But by reinstating the global gag rule, President Trump threatens to undercut years of progress by disqualifying many of the most experienced family planning providers from funding. The lives of some of the most vulnerable women and girls will once again be at risk.
“President Trump’s actions will have far-reaching impact for women and girls around the world and is a stark warning about what may be in store for women here in America. At Planned Parenthood, we will continue to work with our partners around the globe to help provide access to sexual and reproductive health. All people deserve to live healthy lives, no matter who they are or where they live – that’s what we’ll keeping fighting to achieve at Planned Parenthood.”
PPFA joins nearly 140 diverse organizations on this open statement opposing the global gag rule.
Separate law, namely the Helms Amendment, already prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds for the performance of abortion “as a method of family planning”, restricting women in some of the poorest countries in the world from accessing vital, lifesaving health care they need. The global gag rule needlessly and devastatingly goes further by forcing health care providers to chose between U.S. family planning assistance and the ability to counsel and provide clients on abortion.
When in place, the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, has had enormous and harmful impacts on women’s lives:
· In many communities, the most experienced providers of women’s health care were cut off — sometimes, the only provider of any essential health care in their community and clinics were shut down.
· It also stifled the free speech of doctors and of advocates in the country and weakened civil society.
· Multiple studies have come out looking at the impact of the global gag rule and they have found that the primary impact is lost access to contraceptives, and in turn, increased rates of abortion –- again, which are primarily unsafe.