Topic » Global Gag Rule
The Global Gag Rule is a previous U.S. policy that harmed women’s health and ran counter to our broader U.S. foreign policy goals. The Gag Rule was first imposed by the Reagan administration at the 1984 United Nations International Conference on Population in Mexico City. It was rescinded in 1993 by President Clinton, reinstated in 2001 by President George W. Bush, and once again rescinded by President Obama in 2009.
The Gag rule denied foreign organizations receiving U.S. family planning assistance the right to use their own non-U.S. funds to provide information, referrals or services for legal abortion or advocate for the legalization abortion in their country. Family planning providers that declined U.S. funding while the Gag Rule was in place were forced to close clinics and cut services, and some of these organiza¬tions have yet to resume services with U.S. government assistance, due to fears that their funding will once again be cut off under a future administration.
The Gag Rule hurts women by allowing critical programs to be held hostage to the ping-pong game of U.S. partisan politics. A majority of Americans from across the ideological spectrum support the current Administration’s policy that does not impose such ideological restrictions on women’s health centers. PAI advocates for a permanent legislative repeal of the Gag Rule.
Family planning opponents in the U.S. Congress and White House have long sought to place burdensome restrictions on U.S. family planning and reproductive health assistance. One such restriction is the Mexico City Policy, known to its opponents as the Global Gag Rule, which has proven detrimental to America's foreign policy objectives, to family planning programs in developing countries, and to women's health.
Ever since the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) was first introduced in 1984, conservative U.S. politicians have used abortion politics in the U.S. to block access to contraceptives for women in developing countries. Over and over again, they have distorted the facts and ignored the realities faced by the 215 million women in developing countries who do not want to become pregnant, but lack access to contraception. Congress is now trying to permanently reinstate the Global Gag Rule, using some of these same fictions. Don't be fooled. Get the facts.
PAI's research shows that the members of Congress are deeply out of touch with American voters. Despite some politicians attempts to politicize family planning, fifty seven percent support the President's decision to overturn the Global Gag Rule, including sixty-one percent of independents. In multiple other polls from the past decade and a half support for family planning consistently receives seventy-ninety percent.
For more than 40 years, the United States—through its Agency for International Development (USAID)—has been a global leader in enhancing women's access to contraceptive services in the world's poorest countries. Empowering women with control over their own fertility yields benefits for them, their children and their families. It means fewer unintended—and often high-risk—pregnancies and fewer abortions, most of which in the developing world are performed under unsafe conditions. Eliminating U.S. assistance for international family planning and reproductive health programs would eliminate all these benefits.
Funding for international family planning and reproductive health is a proven and cost-effective way to meet a broad range of international development goals. Increased access to contraception for women in developing countries is critical to improving maternal and newborn health, preventing HIV/ AIDS, and reducing unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. Family planning programs yield improvements in other key development areas such as education, water and sanitation.
The Global Gag Rule is a previous U.S. policy that harmed women's health and ran counter to our broader U.S. foreign policy goals. The Gag Rule was first imposed by the Reagan administration at the 1984 United Nations International Conference on Population in Mexico City. It was rescinded in 1993 by President Clinton, reinstated in 2001 by President George W. Bush, and once again rescinded by President Obama in 2009.
The Gag Rule hurts women by allowing critical programs to be held hostage to the ping-pong game of U.S. partisan politics. A majority of Americans from across the ideological spectrum support the current Administration's policy that does not impose such ideological restrictions on women's health centers. PAI advocates for a permanent legislative repeal of the Gag Rule.
This seven-minute video was produced by Population Action International to document the effects of the Global Gag Rule on reproductive health programs in Zambia, one of Africa's poorest countries.
Women are dying from preventable causes and the U.S. is contributing to the problem. This was the grave truth repeated at last Wednesday’s hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the Global Gag Rule (Mexico City policy)—the first … Continue reading
“The impact [of the Global Gag Rule in Ghana] was immediate, deep and damaging,” — Matilda Owusu-Ansah of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). At a heavily attended briefing in Congress last week, renowned experts Dr. Joachim Osur, … Continue reading
In recent years there hasn’t been much good news coming out of Washington on family planning and reproductive health issues. That’s probably the understatement of the year. But today there is very good news to report because of recent votes … Continue reading
“I just heard of effective use of condoms, but I never knew how to use them.” These are the words of Juliet Awour, a Kenyan woman featured in PAI’s new documentary, Abstaining from Reality: U.S. Restrictions on HIV Prevention. Neither … Continue reading
Filmed in Kenya and Uganda, this 9-minute documentary provides a snapshot of the Bush administration’s abstinence-only approach to HIV prevention as part of its global HIV/AIDS assistance. Abstaining from Reality examines how these ideologically-driven programs are actually endangering the lives of the … Continue reading
(Updated report published as What You Need To Know About the Mexico City Policy Restrictions On U.S. Family Planning Assistance) On January 22, 2001—his second day in office—President George W. Bush announced the reinstatement of the restrictions on overseas health care … Continue reading
In January 2001, the U.S. government imposed restrictions on nongovernmental organizations overseas receiving international family planning assistance. The restrictions, officially called the Mexico City Policy, are also known as the Global Gag Rule by those who oppose it. Under the … Continue reading
This seven-minute video was produced by Population Action International to document the effects of the Global Gag Rule on reproductive health programs in Zambia, one of Africa’s poorest countries. Continue reading
While family planning opponents often misrepresent emergency contraception (EC) as medical abortion, in reality, EC is the only method of post-coital contraception. The purpose of this guide is to set the record straight: emergency contraception is just that – contraception … Continue reading
The Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, was reinstated in 2001. It is a complicated policy for which explanations are rarely brief. Consequently, it is widely misunderstood and often over-interpreted. Anecdotal evidence from the field strongly … Continue reading