CFI Joins Groups in Opposing Reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule

December 7, 2015

The Center for Inquiry recently joined a diverse coalition of more than 100 organizations in signing a statement opposing any effort to reinstate the harmful global gag rule. 

The global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, prohibits foreign organizations that use their own funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion, or to advocate for access to abortion services in their own country, from receiving U.S. international family planning assistance. 

The statement, which will be shared with lawmakers and on advocates on Capitol Hill, explains that:

The global gag rule causes serious harm in countries around the world. The policy interferes with the doctor-patient relationship by restricting medical information healthcare providers may offer, limits free speech by prohibiting local citizens from participating in public policy debates, and impedes women’s access to family planning by cutting off funding for many of the most experienced health care providers who have chosen to prioritize quality reproductive-health services and counseling over funding that restricts care and censors information.

When in place, the negative impacts of the global gag rule have been broad and severe: health services have been dismantled in a number of communities; clinics that provided a range of reproductive, maternal, and child health care, including HIV testing and counseling, were forced to close; outreach efforts to hard to reach populations were eliminated; and access to contraceptives was severely limited, resulting in more unintended pregnancies and more unsafe abortions. ...

The U.S. should be a leader when it comes to promoting democracy, women’s health, and human rights around the world. U.S. foreign aid should never be used as a tool to limit women’s access to health care or to censor free speech. Organizations should not be disqualified from receiving U.S. assistance because they use their own funds to provide health services and information that are legal in their home country and legal in the U.S. Supporters of women’s health and free speech must oppose the harmful global gag rule and we call on Congress to reject all efforts to again impose this policy on women around the world. 

You can read the full statement here
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