The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against President George W. Bush for censoring free speech and will sue him for the global gag rule. This rule bars U.S. aid to family planning programs in developing nations that use their own, separate funds to counsel or advocate abortions. “President Bush took away my right to speak because I support a position with which he disagreesÉ Yet groups that oppose abortion rights are not censored,” says Janet Benshoof, President of CRLP. The organization will ask a Manhattan federal court to block a section of the global gag rule that bars groups from advocating the reform of abortion laws overseas.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a non-partisan research organization, estimates that more than 70,000 women worldwide die each year from complications resulting from botched, illegal abortions. The global gag rule prevents family planning clinics from offering any information on abortion or the consequences of illegal abortion, and in many cases discourages clinics from treating women and girls who are suffering from abortion-related complications.