On Monday, the sixth anniversary of President Bush’s 2001 reinstatement of the “global gag rule,” a bipartisan coalition in the House led by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) reintroduced a bill to overturn the policy. The global gag rule prohibits family planning programs in developing nations that accept US aid from even counseling women about abortions or advocating for legal abortion using their own separate funds.
The global gag rule was first instated by the Reagan administration in 1984. It was repealed by Clinton, but reinstituted by Bush. Even without the rule, US dollars to foreign family planning programs cannot fund abortions overseas due to the 1973 Helms amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. Since then, no violation has been reported, says Population Action International. Family planning programs that refuse to comply with the gag rule lose US funding, valuable technical assistance, and US-donated contraceptives, including condoms, which negatively impacts HIV/AIDS prevention efforts and women”s reproductive health worldwide, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“Women are dying because we don’t care enough for their lives,” said Kenyan doctor Solomon Orero in an interview about the impact of the global gag rule in the Summer 2003 issue of Ms. magazine. funny photos
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