Pro-Choice Women of Congress Launch Effort to Overturn Global Gag Rule

Pro-choice Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate have voiced their support for the Global Democracy Promotion Act of 2001, co-introduced Thursday by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Nancy Johnson (R-CT) that would overturn President Bush’s January 22 reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule.

The United States already prohibits fund from being used to perform abortions, but the Mexico City policy denies funding to any family planning programs outside the U.S. that provide abortion services, counseling, referrals or activism to change abortion laws, even if the services are paid for by the organization’s own money. “Too often, women in developing nations do not have access to contraceptive or family planning services they need because contraceptives are expensive, supplies are erratic, services are difficult or impossible to obtain, or the quality of care is poor,” said Sen. Snowe. “Yet it is now the policy of the United States not to support these organizationsÑa policy that is confounding to me because these very organizations reduce the number of abortions through their services.”

While the legislation has 50 co-sponsors in the House, and pro-choice Senators are confident they can garner support in the Senate, anti-choice GOP leaders said even if the bill passes in Congress, Bush would veto it. The Bush administration said Wednesday that the Mexico City policy does not prevent funding for programs that treat women who are ill from botched abortions. Sen. Boxer responded, “Well, isn’t that compassionate.”

LEARN MORE Click here to read women’s narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.


New York Times Ð February 15 & 16, 2001; LA Times Ð February 16, 2001; San Francisco Chronicle Ð February 15, 2001; Planned Parenthood Press Release Ð February 15, 2001; Reuters Ð February 15, 2001

Support eh ERA banner