The Global Gag Rule Has Put Women in Danger for Decades. Here’s How We Can Stop It.
The Global HER Act would remove reckless restrictions on international recipients of U.S. funding.
Feb 7, 2019
Vanessa Rios & Nina Besser Doorley
On January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated the “global gag rule,” singlehandedly undermining women’s health worldwide with a stroke of his pen. The policy prohibits any U.S. global health funding to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide, counsel, refer, or advocate for abortion—even with their own funds—resulting in life-threatening consequences.
While previous iterations of the global gag rule covered only family planning spending, President Trump expanded it to cover all global health funds—a staggering $9 billion per year to NGOs that cover a range of health needs, from maternal and child health to malaria treatment. Even in its more limited forms, the policy backfired, increasing unintended pregnancies, maternal mortality, and unsafe abortions. Evidence suggests that the current version is producing a similar effect on an even larger scale.