Amendment to Block Expansion of Global Gag Rule Passes

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to block the Bush Administration’s efforts to expand a ban that prohibits US funds from being directed to any overseas program that provides information about abortions, abortion counseling, abortion services or that lobbies for the legalization of abortion in their country– even with private funds.

Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State Bill to block the expansion of the global gag rule passed only a few days after President Bush announced his plans to expand the global gag rule last week. According to Reid, “The Global Gag Rule is a policy that should be abolished, not expanded. The amendment we passed today will protect women and free speech around the world.”

The US State Department recently announced it would halt government funding for Marie Stopes International (MSI), an HIV/AIDS program serving African and Asian refugees. Despite admitting there was no evidence linking the MSI with forced abortions and sterilizations in China, State Department officials insisted the organization’s collaboration with the Chinese government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was sufficient reason for the move.

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Agence France Presse 9/5/03; Reid statement 9/4/03

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