46 Senators Wage Campaign to End “Global Gag Rule” Restricting Abortion Access

On Monday, 46 senators, led by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D.New Hampshire), sent a letter to Democratic leaders requesting a permanent abrogation of the global gag rule, also known under the Mexico City Policy.

“The Mexico City Policy undercuts access to voluntary and comprehensive family planning and reproductive health services,” the lawmakers wrote in their letterTo Chuck Schumer (D. New York), and Nancy Pelosi, (D. California), as Senate Majority Leader. They then requested that the repeal be included in this year’s appropriations bill.

The Ronald Reagan-era gag rule bars non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. funding from using any funds – including from non-U.S. sources – to advocate for or perform abortions. The rules are subject to the will of any presidential administration. President Joe Biden ended the policy last year.

Thought every Republican president since ReaganDonald Trump has now implemented the rule. expanded itAll American global health funding was to be included, not just family planning funding. His administration also expanded the rule. apply to sub-recipientsOrganizations affected by the rule. This means that organizations whose work isn’t financially supported by the U.S. government were also subjected.

These restrictions were placed on about $9.5 billionSources of funding about 15 timesMore funding than was previously restricted.

Abortion advocates have called Trump’s expansion of the gag rule “devastating.” The rule led to higher death rates of pregnant peopleIt was created by harder to fight HIV and AIDSAnd paradoxically, this resulted in higher abortion ratesMany organizations that provide information and referrals for abortion also offer other health care services, such as contraceptive care, HIV testing, and cancer screenings. Some organizations have lost millionsIn funding and have had the program terminated.

Experts have said that as long as the implementation of the rule is up to the whims of presidential administrations, it will have a chilling effect even when it’s rescinded. That’s why it’s critical to permanently end the rule, the senators said.

“Since it first went into effect in 1985, this partisan policy has been instated and rescinded, to the detriment of the most vulnerable people in the world,” they wrote. “It is time to put an end to this deadly cycle.”

The lawmakers stated that any progress made after the rule was repealed can be reversed by its reimplementation. Clinics are often forced to choose whether or not they want to provide comprehensive family planning care that includes information about abortion or access to the procedure – and choosing to provide better care can hamper progress and result in a loss of funding when a Republican comes around.

“The Global Gag Rule is a dangerous, discriminatory, and partisan policy that puts the health and wellbeing of millions of vulnerable people around the world at risk,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), a letter signatory, in a statement.

“We shouldn’t force organizations to provide less comprehensive reproductive health services in order to receive health aid from the United States,” Warren continued. “I was glad that President Biden rescinded the policy one year ago, but we have to permanently end this policy in order to protect reproductive health care for good.”