For Immediate Release: January 28, 2021
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Originally implemented during the Reagan Administration, the global gag rule bans federal funding for foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide abortion care or even provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. The policy prevents NGOs from referring women to safe abortion providers, conducting public education campaigns about abortion, or lobbying their own government for a change in abortion laws.
Former President Trump expanded this harmful policy further than ever before by extending it to all types of U.S. global health assistance, doubling down on the burden placed on some of the most vulnerable communities and populations in the world. This unprecedented expansion forced the closures of clinics and programs that also provided health care services, including nutrition, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Statement of The Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF):
For the last four years, the Trump-Pence administration pushed policies that deny people the ability to make their own decisions about their health and lives with dignity. These policies most affected people who are struggling financially and people of color. We are pleased that President Joe Biden has started to reverse the harmful Trump-era policies by rescinding the global gag rule. The global gag rule has been devastating for the millions of people in developing nations who rely on NGOs for essential health care services. Trump’s unprecedented expansion of this policy caused considerable harm around the world and was particularly disturbing in the midst of a global pandemic.
Although we would like to see this gag rule gone permanently no matter which administration is in power, President Biden’s Executive Order is an important first step to ensuring that millions of people around the world will once again be able to access the comprehensive health care they need. Rescinding the global gag rule is just one step President Biden can take to expand access to reproductive health care, including abortion care.
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