House Foreign Affairs Committee hearings yesterday on the Global Gag Rule, which prohibits family planning programs receiving US federal funds from speaking about or counseling on abortion, revealed its profound anti family planning and lethal impact on the poorest women in the world.
House Committee Chair Lantos’s (D-CA) challenging introductory remarks summarized its anti-birth control impact: “But because of the punitive provisions of the Global Gag Rule, since 2001 the United States has stopped shipping contraceptives to 20 developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East ‘ and many leading NGO family planning providers in other countries have stopped receiving contraceptives. While the Global Gag Rule is being promoted as anti-abortion, it remains at its core anti-family planning.”
Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) (of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and Related Programs) added: “In some cases, the largest distribution centers for contraceptives have experienced decreased access for over 50% of the women they serve.”
Ranking minority members of the House Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Christopher Smith (R-NJ), chair of the so-called “Pro-Life” caucus of the House, aggressively cross-examined witnesses for repealing the gag rule. Smith showed a sonogram of a 10-week old fetus’reportedly referring to abortion as killing babies.
Meanwhile, Lantos referred to The Lancet, a ‘highly respected British Medical Journal,’ article on a major worldwide abortion rate study conducted by the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute. Whether abortion is legal or illegal, rates are about the same. But the “shocking” difference is how dangerous it is to women where it is illegal. At least 67,000 women die each year from unsafe abortions.