Global Gag Rule, U.S. Foreign Assistance

Women Worldwide Deserve Better Than the Global Gag Rule

Tonight, PAI will be joining partners from the Global Fund for Women, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ibis Reproductive Health and NARAL Pro-Choice America in San Francisco for Championing Women Worldwide: Reproductive Rights from New York to Nairobi. The event, being held from 6:00–8:30 p.m. at the City Club in downtown San Francisco, will explore the roles of advocacy and policymaking as tools of social change for women worldwide.

It’s a topic we at PAI are always excited to talk about, as we’re strong believers in the power of advocacy to improve women’s lives. We know that U.S. policies don’t just affect us here at home, but have far-reaching impact on women, families, and communities around the world.

Often, this impact is positive: the U.S. has long been a leading donor to family planning and reproductive health programs overseas. But other times, our actions have devastating consequences.

Exhibit A: The Global Gag Rule. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Gag Rule, a harmful U.S. policy first imposed by the Reagan Administration. The policy denies foreign organizations receiving U.S. family planning assistance the right to use their own, non-U.S. funds to provide information, referrals or services for legal abortion—or advocate for the legalization of abortion in their countries.

Yes, that means the U.S. is not just telling organizations what do to with U.S. funding, but how they can spend their own money. It’s an unfair restriction that would be unconstitutional in this country, and it harms family planning programs overseas by holding them hostage to U.S. partisan politics. Worse, the policy puts women’s lives at risk by increasing unsafe abortions.

President Obama rescinded the Gag Rule when he took office in 2009, but if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, it will likely be back. For decades, PAI has been working to document the impact of the Gag Rule and push for a permanent, legislative repeal.

Tonight, we’ll be premiering a video on the effects of the Gag Rule, featuring two experts who have fought the policy from the start. The event is at capacity, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Get your sneak peek now:

30 Years Is Enough: End the Global Gag Rule from Population Action International on Vimeo.

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