After Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) delivered an impassioned speech from the Senate floor yesterday criticizing President Bush’s global gag rule for punishing the “poorest of the poor” and putting women around the world “at risk,” her amendment to the State Department authorization bill to repeal the so-called “Mexico City Policy”, passed the Senate. Co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Joseph Biden (D-DE), and Patty Murray (D-WA) as well as Republican Senators Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the amendment would allow nonprofit organizations around the world to receive USAID funds even if they provide information about abortions. “When we have policies that result in clinics shutting down, women having unsafe abortions, that is not a pro-life policy. That is an anti-life policy that puts women at risk,” Boxer argued yesterday. “This isn’t about ideology. This is about real people. This is about the poorest children, the poorest women, the poorest families.”
The global gag rule 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-Ð even with private funds. Enacted by President Reagan in 1984, repealed by President Clinton eight years later and reenacted again by Bush on his third day in office, the global gag rule has forced hundreds of healthcare facilities around the world to shut their doors to women.
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