Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will reintroduce the Global Democracy Promotion Act (GDPA) this evening. If passed, the bill would overturn the Global Gag Rule, which bans funding for family planning programs in developing countries that counsel or provide information to women or advocate on a full range of options, including abortion. The bill states that “foreign nongovernmental organizations shall not be ineligible for such assistance solely on the basis of health or medical services, including counseling and referral services, provided by such organizations with non-United States Government funds if such services do not violate the laws of the country.”
President Ronald Reagan implemented the Global Gag Rule through an executive order; President Clinton rescinded the executive order; President George W. Bush reinstated the executive order; and President Obama rescinded it. Following President Obama’s executive order to rescind the Global Gag Rule, Boxer stated, “Now that President Barack Obama has repealed the Global Gag Rule, women throughout the world can breathe a sigh of relief and gain access to a full range of family planning services…That policy was clearly a violation of basic freedoms. This is a new day for women – President Obama’s action will save thousands of lives as women throughout the world get access to healthcare they desperately need and want.”
Senator Boxer has been a strong proponent of ending the Global Gag Rule and introduced legislation to overturn the policy in both 2005 and 2007. The legislation passed in the Senate, but did not become law due to President Bush’s threats to veto the bill.
Global Democracy Promotion Act 9/20/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/29/11; Statement of Barbara Boxer 1/23/09