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Senate Moves on Permanently Banning Global Gag Rule

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the foreign aid appropriations bill yesterday that would permanently ban the Global Gag Rule. The amendment, which passed 17-10 with one member voting present, stipulates that foreign NGOs must not be prevented from receiving US aid on the basis of providing abortion services to women.

The Global Gag Rule was Rescinded by President Obama in January. It prohibited family planning programs in other nations that receive US aid from using non-US monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and referrals. The rule was instituted by President Reagan in 1984, repealed by President Clinton, and reinstituted by President George W. Bush. If passed through Congress, the amendment would ensure that Obama’s abolition of the Global Gag Rule would remain permanent.

Susan Cohen, Director of Government Affairs for the Guttmacher Institute, said “This is not something that should flip-flop depending on who’s president. It so affects family planning that we need to provide stability and predictability to be most efficient and effective. And since that is the policy of the President and Congress, we should write it into law,” according to RH Reality Check.

In addition to the amendment to end the Global Gag Rule, the appropriation bill itself would increase funding for family planning to $628 million. $50 million would be allocated to the United Nations Family Planning Agency.

Sources:

RH Reality Check 7/10/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 1/23/09; Feminist Majority

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