One day after President Trump reinstated the harmful executive order, 43 bipartisan Senators introduce legislation that supports women’s reproductive rights and international family planning programs
Jan 24 2017
WASHINGTON – One day after President Trump issued an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), joined Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME) and 39 other Senators to introduce the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently repeal the harmful policy.
The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, bans foreign non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. aid from using their own funds to provide abortion services or information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. The Global Gag Rule forces health clinics operating abroad to choose between providing limited reproductive health services while accepting U.S. foreign aid, or forgoing those resources in order to provide women with inclusive family planning and reproductive healthcare.
In addition to reinstating the policy, which was not in effect during the Obama Administration, the executive order issued yesterday expanded the policy from the Bush Administration to apply to every program that falls under global health assistance at the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Health and Human Services. Existing federal law already prohibits the use of U.S. tax dollars to pay for abortion, and the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act would retain that restriction while allowing foreign aid groups to provide women with information about their full range of family planning options using other funding sources.
“The global gag rule is a short-sighted policy that has a devastating impact on the health and well-being of women around the world. By limiting the ability of foreign NGOs to operate even with their own funds, the policy can lead to programs being closed, less efficiency, and studies even show that it tends to increase the rate of abortion,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to be joining Senators from both sides of the aisle in this effort to permanently end this ideological policy once and for all.”
“Making foreign clinics choose between providing critical health services to women in their communities and much-needed U.S. aid is wrong,” said Sen. Kaine. “It’s time to permanently repeal this harmful policy that puts millions of women around the world at risk.”
The Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act would:
- Ensure that eligible foreign NGOs can continue to operate U.S.-supported health programs abroad, particularly those that provide legal health services to women -- including counseling, referral, and legal abortion services -- with their own, non-U.S. funds;
- Guarantee that foreign NGOs will not be forced to sacrifice their right to free speech in order to participate in U.S.-supported programs abroad;
- Help expand access to health programs for women around the world to improve health and development outcomes for entire families, communities, and developing countries.
Sens. Warner and Kaine are both strong advocates of federal programs that support family planning and women’s health.