A new report finds that the Bush Administration’s global gag rule endangers the lives of women, children and families in poor countries around the world. According to the report by the Global Gag Rule Impact Project, two leading family planning organizations in Kenya had to close five of their clinics since the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, was introduced. These clinics offered much needed services such as pre- and post-natal obstetric care, child health, screening for cervical cancer, immunizations, and HIV/AIDS services.
In addition, the report said that by 2002 the policy had ended shipments of condoms donated by USAID to 16 developing countries whose family planning organizations were connected to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. 13 other countries have had their USAID funded condoms distribution cut off because the main family planning association would not sign the Mexico City Policy. These countries include Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland – all countries with some of the highest HIV rates in Africa.
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– even with private funds. Instituted by President Reagan in 1984, repealed by President Clinton eight years later and reinstated again by Bush on his third day in office, the global gag rule has forced hundreds of healthcare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.