On One-Year Anniversary of Global Gag Rule Reversal Feinstein, Shaheen, Colleagues Urge Permanent Repeal
Jan 28 2022
Washington–Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and a group of their colleagues in urging Senate and House leadership to include a permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule in the fiscal year 2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies government funding legislation. The letter is Congressional leadership coincides with the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s executive order rescinding the dangerous policy that was reinstated and expanded to historic proportions by President Trump.
The impact of the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, is far-reaching and the Trump administration’s actions severely impacted the ability of global health organizations to provide care and services to some of the most vulnerable areas around the world where these groups are often the only source of medical care for communities. The rule bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that use non-U.S. funds to provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. This forces clinics to choose between providing limited reproductive health services while accepting U.S. foreign aid or providing inclusive family planning and reproductive health care with a limited budget.
The senators wrote, “As a global health leader, our nation’s investments in global health programs have a significant and sustained impact. In fiscal year 2021, U.S. international family planning and reproductive health assistance made it possible for 27.2 million women to receive contraceptive services, as well as prevented 12 million unintended pregnancies including 4.5 million unplanned births and 4 million abortions, the majority of which are provided in unsafe conditions. U.S. investments in international family planning also prevented 19,000 maternal deaths…But this impact is blunted and oftentimes reversed by the Mexico City Policy. This harmful policy reduces access to vital global health programs including contraceptive information and services. It also increases the number of abortions performed, most in unsafe conditions.”
The senators also addressed the adverse effects of the constant implementing and rescinding of the policy, which is subject to each administration, and the time lapses of communicating and implementing such significant policy changes. The senators urged Senate and House leadership to take this opportunity to take the Global Gag Rule completely off the table and permanently repeal it once and for all.
The senators concluded, “We urge you to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy. 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. It is time to put an end to this deadly cycle.”
In addition to Feinstein and Shaheen, the letter was also signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Angus King (I-Maine), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jon Osoff (D-Ga.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
Full text of the letter is available here.