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Erica Goes Global: What is the Global Gag Rule and Why We Should End It

Erica Goes Global

In this second installment of Erica Goes Global we will learn about the Global Gag Rule, which is indeed as bad as it sounds.

While abortion is legal in the United States, it still highly stigmatized, and there are still many  barriers to access abortion care, especially for poor or rural women, and women of color.

This same opposition has crept into U.S. laws on foreign assistance, restricting all U.S. foreign assistance funding for abortions overseas.


The global gag rule, first introduced by President Ronald Reagan, prevents any foreign organization receiving U.S. international family planning funds from providing information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country — even with their own money.

Why is this a problem?

The United States is THE largest bilateral family planning donor in the world. And for over 30 years, this harmful policy has played politics with women’s health and lives around the world.

What’s more — because the global gag rule went into effect under President Reagan, was removed by President Clinton, was reinstated under President George W. Bush and then removed again by President Obama in his first week in office — many organizations in developing countries don’t trust that the policy is gone and won’t come back.

That’s why it is critical for the U.S. to show strong leadership when it comes to promoting women’s health access around the world.

That is why Planned Parenthood strongly supports the Global Democracy Promotion Act, led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D – CA), which would benefit women and families around the world by ending the global gag rule.

If you agree that the Global Gag Rule has gone on long enough, then let your members of Congress know. You can tweet this sample message, or create your own:

Thanks @SenatorBoxer for your effort to end the #GlobalGagRule and protect #WomensHealth!

There are many original sponsors of the bill you can thank - Including Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (give her a shout-out thanks on twitter @diannefeinstein), as well as Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), , Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Thanks for showing your support!

Erica, Planned Parenthood Global Youth Ambassador

The opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not reflect the opinions of Planned Parenthood Federation of America or any other Planned Parenthood organization or any employee thereof. Planned Parenthood is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information I supply.

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