(PRESS RELEASE) New federal legislation was introduced today in the U.S. House and Senate that would legislatively rescind Trump’s Global Gag Rule, a presidential memorandum signed by Donald Trump yesterday that prohibits U.S.-supported overseas groups involved in promoting global health from using their own money to provide nearly all safe and legal abortion services, or even abortion-related referrals and information. The Trump Global Gag Rule would affect groups involved in all aspects of global health, from HIV to family planning to Zika.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced the “Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act,” which would put an end to the harmful Trump Global Gag Rule. The bipartisan Senate bill has 42 cosponsors, and the House bill has 121 cosponsors.
The Trump Global Gag Rule not only curtails access to safe abortion services but also prohibits the dissemination of information about abortion and prevents groups from providing safe abortion referrals, even when a pregnancy endangers a woman’s health. It would ensure that foreign groups can continue to support legal health services and guarantee that groups are not required to give up their free-speech rights as a condition of participating in U.S.-supported programs.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“The United States should support the health and lives of women worldwide, not violate their reproductive rights or deny organizations from advocating for abortion law reform.
“We applaud Senator Shaheen and Representative Lowey for acting quickly to put an end to President Trump’s Global Gag Rule.”
Nearly 140 civil-society groups have issued a letter opposing the Trump Global Gag Rule.
Previous iterations of Trump’s Global Gag Rule have been associated with an increase in abortion rates as organizations that provide access to family planning services lose funding, a 2011 study conducted by Stanford University researchers and published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization concluded. Another 2011 study of women in Ghana found that the abortion rate was higher in rural areas when the Global Gag Rule was in effect. A 2003 report by the Center for Reproductive Rights concluded that the Global Gag Rule also “helps perpetuate unsafe abortion” in countries with restrictive abortion laws and limited access to safe abortion services.