What is the Global Gag Rule?
Among the very first official acts of newly elected President George W.
Bush, who is no fan of U.S. aid for international population assistance,
was the imposition of the onerous Global Gag Rule. This policy denies U.S.
population assistance funding to organizations that 1) provide legal
abortion services using their own, non-U.S. funds or 2) participate in
public debates about abortion, again, using their own, non-U.S. funds.
In short, the gag rule forces many health care providers to choose
between providing needed services and participating in their own country's
political process. This policy threatens to undermine decades of progress
made in providing family planning and slowing population growth.
The Global Gag Rule is anti-democratic:
The gag rule
prohibits local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from participating
public debate about abortion. The prohibition of such public debate is the
prohibition of an essential part of the democratic process.
The Gag Rule is anti-woman:
Because it prohibits political
participation and is limited to family planning funds, it will
disproportionately effect women's organizations, which historically have
had little or no voice in policy decisions in developing nations. The
Global Gag Rule washes away the progress made by women's groups toward
greater political participation and women's rights.
The Global Gag rule is anti-environment:
By restricting funds
that go to international family planning, the gag rule encourages
population growth, thereby reducing our natural resource base.
The Gag Rule will only lead to more, not fewer,
Family planning reduces abortion. The most effective way
to help reduce abortions is to reduce unintended pregnancies around the
world by ensuring adequate funding for voluntary family planning
assistance. The example of the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan is one of the
most dramatic. The U.S. population program has provided funding to train
doctors and nurses and to increase contraceptive supplies for 28 clinics.
The number of people provided contraceptives by these clinics has
increased by 59 percent between 1993 and 1994. During the same period, the
number of abortions fell by 41 percent.
The Global Gag Rule will harm families' quality of life:
Gag Rule cuts off funding to the most effective and experienced local
agencies around the world, seriously undermining the decades of progress
that have been made. U.S. funding for international family planning has
expanded access to contraception for millions of couples in developing
nations, enabling them to conscientiously plan their families. In
countries where the U.S. has provided support, population growth rates
have fallen, making an important contribution to the future quality of
life on our planet.