Global Gag Rule expanded again, increasing harm to women and families

By Patty Skuster, Ipas Senior Legal Advisor

This morning the Trump Administration announced further expansion of the Global Gag Rule, which will result in even greater harm to the health and lives of women and families around the world. The Administration also announced reductions in funding to the Organization of American States—an important voice for human rights and democracy.

This cruel policy denies poor women the care they need by limiting what reproductive health providers can do and by cutting funds to organizations that are expert in providing such care. Advocates for comprehensive reproductive health care have been silenced. Organizations have misunderstood the policy, even denying abortion care to rape victims.

The Global Gag Rule is discriminatory, contrary to human rights, and, because contraception is limited by the policy, fails to reduce the number of abortions.

The U.S. government saddles the poorest women in the world with anti-abortion American politics, with life-threatening results. Women in the global south are burdened by unsafe abortion, particularly in places where abortion laws are restricted, and access is limited. Women risk their health and lives to end a pregnancy. Governments in the global south have taken steps to reduce maternal death from unsafe abortion through liberalizing abortion laws and training government providers, with assistance from non-governmental organizations. The Global Gag Rule stops these in-country experts from finding local solutions to the problem of unsafe abortion.

Tens of thousands of women die each year from complications from unsafe abortion; millions more suffer serious, often permanent injuries. The Global Gag Rule does nothing to protect them.

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