Democrats Seek Permanent Repeal of Global Gag Rule; GOP Seeks to Enshrine it in Law
Yesterday, Congresswoman Nita Lowey introduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act of 2011, a bill that would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule (GGR) , a policy that has been applied and revoked via executive order at each change in the White House, beginning with Ronald Reagan and leading most recently to repeal by President Obama in 2009.
The GGR prohibits international health care providers from receiving U.S. international assistance for family planning if those organizations use other (non-US) funding to provide abortion counseling, referrals, or services, or seek to change laws regarding abortion care in countries in which abortion is a leading cause of death among women ages 15 to 49. Access to contraception and to family planning counseling and information helps women and their partners to plan the number and spacing of children they want to have and to avoid unintended pregnancies that lead to abortion. As such, by denying U.S. international assistance to groups that also provide safe, legal abortion, the GGR actually increases the number of abortions, rather than reducing them.
These facts notwithstanding, as we reported last week, House Republicans are seeking to enshrine the gag rule into law.