Sen. Boxer Introduces Bill to Block Global Gag Rule on Abortion
(PRESS RELEASE) Legislation introduced last night by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and 16 cosponsoring Senators would block ongoing efforts by anti-choice lawmakers to reimpose the Global Gag Rule on abortion—and the Center for Reproductive Rights is calling on Congress to pass it.
The gag rule, championed by anti-choice administrations since 1984, prohibits family planning groups based overseas that receive any U.S. funding from discussing or providing abortion-related services, even if they use segregated, non-U.S. money.
The Global Democracy Promotion Act (S-1585) would bar restrictive eligibility requirements for U.S. funding for foreign nongovernmental organizations under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
“The Global Gag Rule is an ideologically-driven policy that violates the free speech rights of groups advocating for abortion law reform, and ultimately denies women access to safe, legal abortion services,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “It is un-democratic and would be patently unconstitutional if it were applied here in the U.S. We strongly urge Congress to pass GDPA.”
The Global Gag Rule has had a devastating impact on healthcare providers and women in nearly sixty countries. Because USAID is the leading global funder of family planning, from 2001 to2009 the Global Gag Rule forced a number of organizations to forgo U.S. funding and either scale back their services or close down. In countries where abortion is legal, providers could not provide their patients with full range of reproductive health options, even when their patients’ health was endangered. And groups worldwide that continued to receive funding were prevented from speaking out in favor of access to safe abortion.
The policy drives women who are denied information about safe abortion to turn to unsafe and unsanitary back-alleyproviders or dangerous traditional methods and medicines to end their unwanted pregnancies. Every year, 22 million unsafe abortions occur worldwide.
President Obama rescinded the Global Gag Rule in 2009, eight years after the policy was re-instated by President George W. Bush. But this summer, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to re-impose thepolicy. Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced the Global Democracy Promotion.