President Obama signed an executive order today reversing the Mexico City policy, commonly known as the “Global Gag Rule.” This ideological policy was put in place by Reagan after the 1984 conference on population in Mexico City. It was later lifted by Clinton, and then reinstated on Bush’s first day in office. The Global Gag Rule bans U.S. funding for international NGOs that provide family planning services that include abortion or abortion counseling and those who lobby for the legalization and increased access to safe abortion in their countries. In addition to reduced funding, the organizations affected by this policy also lose access to condoms and other forms of contraception, such as emergency contraception, which are not an abortives. The results of the policy are incomplete medical information and restricted access to family planning services which lead to increases in unplanned pregnancies, HIV and STI transmission, and deaths from unsafe abortions.
The Global Gag Rule has affected us as Latinas by shaping the policies in countries where we have family and ties. Gag Rule endangers women’s lives and restricts funding for reproductive health care services in countries that need it the most. In addition to denying comprehensive family planning services, this policy promotes a culture of misinformation, censorship and imposes paternalistic U.S. ideologies on sovereign nations who are forced to either comply or lose USAID funding.
By lifting the Global Gag Rule Obama is making the first step in creating real change toward reproductive justice for women worldwide, let’s hope this is the first of many victories for reproductive justice!
For more information on The Global Gag Rule go here.
Contributed by Marcela Villa, DC Policy Intern.