Global Gag Rule


Next week marks the one year anniversary of the reinstatement of one of the most pressing reproductive health issues today, the inhumane policy known as the Global Gag Rule, which undermines family planning efforts and threatens the health and lives of individuals and families abroad. Beirne Roose-Snyder, Public Policy Director for Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), talks to us about the dangerous impact of the rule.

Originating as the Mexico City Policy under the Reagan administration in 1984, the Global Gag Rule began as an anti-choice presidential memorandum that restricts who can receive U.S. global health assistance. The Global Gag Rule prevented foreign NGOs from receiving U.S. family planning assistance if they performed or promoted abortion, or advocated, counseled, or referred patients for abortion. Cutting off organizations from U.S. family planning meant clinics had to cut back on services, hours or even close all together.

Since the beginning, the Global Gag Rule has been consistently implemented and removed by various conservative and liberal presidents. On January 23, 2017, Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum that not only immediately reinstated the Global Gag Rule, but vastly expanded it to include all of global U.S. health assistance rather than just family planning- meaning, instead of $600 million being impacted, $9 billion would be subject to the new Global Gag Rule.

The Global Gag Rule puts family planning and reproductive health groups like Marie Stopes International (MSI) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), among many others, in an impossible situation of choosing between the comprehensive care they believe women deserve versus adequate funding to serve more people. 

*Please note: since recording this podcast episode, Marie Stopes International has since updated their projections. Here are the new statistics:

By 2020, more than 2 million women will go without access to MSI services. This will result in:

  • 2.5 million unintended pregnancies

  • 870,000 unsafe abortions

  • 6,900 avoidable maternal deaths


Links from this episode

Center for Health and Gender Equity on Facebook
Center for Health and Gender Equity on Twitter
Information on H.R. 671
Information on S.210
Marie Stopes International
International Planned Parenthood Federation


Photo by paul morris on Unsplash

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