RELEASE: Global Gag Rule Would Mean More Maternal Deaths, Unintended Pregnancies, and Higher Rates of Unsafe Abortion

Washington, D.C. — President Donald Trump is expected to follow the tradition of other Republican anti-choice administrations and reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which bans recipients of U.S. foreign aid from offering abortion-related services. Today, the Center for American Progress released an issue brief detailing how the Mexico City Policy, better known as the Global Gag Rule, puts an undue burden on U.S.-funded health care providers and women seeking their services.

The Global Gag Rule restricts family planning providers from offering comprehensive health care. Further, it denies international family planning organizations the right to provide abortion-related information to their patients and clients; provide referrals to other health care providers who perform safe abortions; provide legal abortions or legal abortion-related services; or advocate for the legalization of abortion in their country.

“This extreme and anti-woman policy infringes upon the rights of women to make informed decisions about their own bodies and health,” said Jamila Taylor, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the brief. “The Global Gag Rule creates dangerous and unnecessary barriers to comprehensive care, and as a result, reinstating it would lead to higher rates of unsafe abortion, more unplanned pregnancies, and more maternal deaths globally.”

Health care providers that violate or refuse to sign the Global Gag Rule lose U.S. funding, donated contraception, and technical expertise. By reinstating it, the United States would take away family planning and stigmatize abortion, as well as withhold women’s human right to safe and informed sexual health; reliable sexually transmitted infection/HIV treatment; safe abortion care; safe pregnancies and childbirth; and ultimately, their ability to create substantial contributions to their communities.

First made U.S. policy through an executive order issued by President Ronald Reagan, the Global Gag Rule was rescinded by President Bill Clinton, reinstated under President George W. Bush, and again rescinded by President Barack Obama.

For all women and girls, the Global Gag Rule is a breach of autonomy. As the world’s largest bilateral donor of international family planning, the United States is obligated to do better by the nations it serves.

Read the issue brief: What’s At Stake for Women: Threat of the Global Gag Rule by Kiersten Gillette-Pierce and Jamila Taylor

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at ckiene@americanprogress.org or 202.478.5328.

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