Speaking out against the Global Gag Rule

January 2017
January 2017

We at Ibis are angry and disappointed that President Trump chose to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, commonly known as the Global Gag Rule. The Global Gag Rule prevents health care providers around the world who receive US funding from offering comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, forcing them to agree not to provide abortion services, information, or referrals, even if those activities are funded by other sources and even if those services are legal. The Global Gag Rule is an affront to free speech and women's health and rights. President Trump's version of the Global Gag Rule expands these restrictions to include organizations that receive any global health assistance. Denying information about and access to needed reproductive health services increases unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, and maternal and newborn deaths. Women in the United States and around the world deserve better.

We have already seen what happens when the Global Gag Rule is in effect: health care providers must choose between massive funding cuts, which can result in termination of staff and clinic closures, or cutting women off from vital reproductive health information and services. When clinics close, the consequences are both immediate and long-lasting. Ibis's work has documented some of the many ways in which people are harmed when they don't have access to safe, affordable, high-quality care, and the Global Gag Rule will put needed health care further out of reach.

Harmful policies like the Helms and Hyde Amendments already restrict the use of US funds for abortion care domestically and abroad. Our work has demonstrated the damaging impact public funding restrictions cause women and providers, and has shown that the United States is a global outlier when it comes to restricting public funding of abortion. 

The Global Gag Rule forces clinicians to withhold information about legal health services, targets incredibly valuable organizations providing critical services around the world, and violates the right of each of us to make decisions about our own health and family. We stand against putting politics ahead of women's lives. We stand with our colleagues providing abortion and comprehensive reproductive health care services and with people around the world who deserve access to the care they need.