One year after President Trump reinstated the “global gag rule,” which bars health care providers around the world from providing or counseling clients on abortions, human rights and women’s rights groups issued a call for an end to the policy once and for all.
Amnesty International USA and the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) call on President Trump to rescind the policy and for Congress to pass the Global HER Act to end it.
“The global gag rule does nothing to save lives,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “If anything, it places more lives at risk by forcing women to seek dangerous alternatives to safe abortion, and denies lifesaving care and education regarding safe sex, maternal care, and care for newborns and their parents. If the President will not act, Congress must step in. Lives depend on it.”
Last year, President Trump made reinstating the global gag rule one of his very first priorities in office. While enacted, non-U.S. organizations who receive U.S. global health funding cannot use their own money to so much as mention abortion as part of their counseling or education programs. If a client comes to them asking about abortion, they cannot tell her where she could go to obtain the procedure or offer her any guidance about selecting a safe provider. Even if providers determined that carrying a pregnancy to term would put the woman’s health at risk, they cannot counsel a client that abortion is an option.
“This policy is a direct attack on women’s health and rights, and women and girls around the world pay the price for Trump’s unprecedented overreach,” said Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), a co-sponsor of the inaugural Women’s March. “Trump’s continued failure to stand with women around the world is unconscionable. Just as the #MeToo movement signals it’s time for culture change, the more than 150 representatives and nearly 50 senators in congress who have already co-sponsored the Global HER Act signals it’s time to end the global gag rule.”