Coalition Statement on Opposing the Global Gag Rule

We join together as diverse voices from a variety of sectors to oppose the harmful global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. While the Helms Amendment restricts U.S. foreign assistance funding for abortions as a method of family planning, the global gag rule goes a step further by blocking aid to foreign organizations who use their own non-U.S. funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or to advocate for access to abortion services in their own country.

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 womens access to family planning by cutting off funding for many of the most experienced health care providers who chose 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. Here is the testimony of one organization that experienced the impact of the global gag rule:

After refusing the terms of the gag rule in 2001, at Family Health Options Kenya we lost a significant amount of funding from USAID with serious and damaging effects on our ability toprovide crucial reproductive health and family planning services. We were forced to close six clinics, all of which provided critical services to poor and underserved populations in urban, peri-urban and rural areas including family planning, voluntary counseling and testing for HIV, management of sexually transmitted infections, post-abortion care and maternal and child health services. Following the closure of these clinics in 2005, at least 9,000 people primarily women and children were left with little or no access to health care. - FHOK, 2013

Countries around the world are making significant progress in improving womens health and the global gag rule undermines that momentum. Developing and donor countries alike are stepping up to prioritize and make tangible headway in closing the gap on access to modern family planning through increased funding and better policies. This momentum, which includes global partnerships like Family Planning 2020, builds on the essential foundation of U.S. investments in this sector. The global gag rule seriously hinders the effectiveness of U.S. global health investments and the growing global progress that we, as a global community, have made in expanding access to family planning for couples worldwide and in reducing maternal mortality.

The U.S. has been a leader when it comes to promoting democracy, womens health, and human rights around the world. U.S. foreign aid should never be used as a tool to limit womens 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 global health and development, womens rights, gender equality, and free speech oppose the harmful global gag rule and reject efforts to undermine the health and rights of women around the world.

Endorsing Organizations:

1. 30 for 30 Campaign

2. Advocates for Youth

3. AFL-CIO

4. AIDS Foundation of Chicago

5. AIDS United

6. Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking

7. American Academy of Pediatrics

8. American Association of University Women (AAUW)

9. American Civil Liberties Union

10. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

11. American Federation of Teachers

12. American Humanist Association

13. American Jewish World Service

14. American Medical Student Association

15. Americans United for Separation of Church and State

16. amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research)

17. Amnesty International USA

18. Anti-Defamation League

19. Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

20. AVAC

21. Black Women's Health Imperative

22. Breakthrough

23. carafem

24. CARE USA

25. Catholics for Choice

26. Center for Biological Diversity

27. Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

28. Center for Inquiry

29. Center for Reproductive Rights

30. Center for Women Policy Studies

31. Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)

32. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

33. Consortium of Universities for Global Health

34. Council for Global Equality

35. CREDO

36. Disciple Public Witness; Disciples of Christ

37. Disciples for Choice

38. Disciples Justice Action Network

39. DKT International

40. Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

41. EngenderHealth

42. Everywoman Everywhere

43. Feminist Majority

44. FP2020

45. Freedom From Religion Foundation

46. Global Doctors for Choice

47. Global Health Council

48. Global Initiatives for Human Rights (GIHR)

49. Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law

50. Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches

51. Global Progressive Hub

52. Gynuity Health Projects

53. Hadassah, The Womens Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

54. Health GAP

55. Healthy Teen Network

56. HIV Medicine Association

57. Human Rights Campaign

58. Human Rights Watch

59. Ibis Reproductive Health

60. If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice

61. In Our Own Voice: National Black Womens Reproductive Justice Agenda

62. Ipas

63. Institute for Science and Human Values

64. International Center for Research on Women

65. International Medical Corps

66. International Planned Parenthood Federation

67. International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region

68. International Women's Health Coalition

69. IntraHealth International

70. John Snow, Inc.

71. JWI

72. Lutheran Women's Caucus

73. MADRE: Demanding Rights, Resources & Results for Women Worldwide

74. Management Sciences for Health

75. Marie Stopes International-US

76. Medical Students for Choice

77. Methodist Federation for Social Action

78. NARAL Pro-Choice America

79. National Abortion Federation

80. National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)

81. National Center for Lesbian Rights

82. National Center for Transgender Equality

83. National Council of Jewish Women

84. National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association

85. National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

86. National LGBTQ Task Force

87. National Network of Abortion Funds

88. National Organization for Women

89. National Partnership for Women & Families

90. National Womens Health Network

91. National Women's Law Center

92. Norwegian Refugee Council USA

93. Outright Action International

94. PAI

95. Partners for Development

96. PATH

97. Pathfinder International

98. People For The American Way

99. Physicians for Reproductive Health Planned Parenthood Federation of America

100. Population Connection Action Fund

101. Population Council

102. Population Institute

103. Population Media Center

104. Population Reference Bureau

105. Positive Women's Network - USA

106. PSI

107. Public Health Institute

108. Refugees International

109. Religious Institute

110. Reproaction

111. Reproductive Health Technologies Project

112. Republican Majority for Choice

113. Save the Children

114. Secular Coalition for America

115. Secular Student Alliance

116. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)

117. Sierra Club

118. SisterLove, Inc.

119. Society for Humanistic Judaism

120. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

121. Student Global AIDS Campaign

122. The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)

123. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

124. Treatment Action Group

125. UltraViolet

126. Union for Reform Judaism

127. Unitarian Universalist Association

128. Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation

129. United Methodist General Board of Church & Society

130. URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity

131. UU Humanist Association

132. Voices for Progress

133. WaterAid

134. White Ribbon Alliance

135. WIN (Women's Information Network)

136. Women at the Center

137. Women Deliver

138. Women of Reform Judaism

139. Women's Refugee Commission

140. Womens Research & Education Institute

141. Women Thrive Allianc