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 It was rescinded in 1993 by President Clinton, reinstated in 2001 by President George W. Bush, and once again rescinded by President Obama in 2009.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.



Watching Kenya Unravel

January 9, 2008

Over the last 10 days it has been difficult to read about and take in the photos documenting Kenya’s election debacle. While not an avid follower of Kenyan politics, I heard from friends and colleagues there that the 2007 election … Continue reading »


The 5th African Population Conference

December 11, 2007

Here in lush, tranquil Arusha, Tanzania, a boisterous chorus of roosters greets you far too early in the morning as if to announce, “Welcome to the 5th African Population Conference!” Team PAI is here amidst the vast coffee and tea … Continue reading »


The Global Gag Rule in the Crosshairs

November 5, 2007

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 Damaging Effects of the Global Gag Rule

October 15, 2007

“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 »


Congress Votes to Repeal Global Gag Rule

September 12, 2007

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 »


Congress Must Face Reality: Pass the PATHWAY Act

April 2, 2007

“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 »

Advocacy Guide

Abstaining from Reality

February 1, 2007

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 »


Advocacy Guide

Global Gag Rule Restrictions On U.S. Family Planning Assistance

July 11, 2006

(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 »



Access Denied

January 3, 2005

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 »



Access Denied: U.S. Family Planning Restrictions in Zambia

April 1, 2004

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 »