Section two


The Here
And Now

Achieving a future where women and girls around the world have full access to high-quality, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care requires tackling current threats to global reproductive freedoms.

That means being ready to take on new challenges and respond to attacks on sexual and reproductive rights, even when they come from our own government. It also means seeing the power and potential of underrepresented champions whose rights are often overlooked—and elevating their voices as they speak out against any and all limitations on sexual and reproductive rights.

Ready to Respond

In 2017, the Trump-Pence administration imposed and expanded the Global Gag Rule, forcing countless organizations overseas to choose between honoring the rights of women and girls by providing them with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, or accepting critical U.S government funding on the condition that they limit the health care they provide.

PAI and our partners responded quickly and boldly. We were one of the first organizations to offer critical policy analysis on the Global Gag Rule’s expanded restrictions, and immediately began educating and engaging journalists to ensure their reporting accurately portrayed the implications and potential harms of the policy.

We also worked with a bipartisan group of policymakers in Congress to introduce the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act, which seeks to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. This bill has a record number of co-sponsors in both chambers, which gives permanent repeal a stronger chance once we are no longer in a climate of political opposition.

And we reached out to partner organizations all over the world that would be faced with deciding whether to agree to the Global Gag Rule. They shared their confusion about how this policy would impact their ability to provide and promote access to sexual and reproductive health care, and their fear of losing the critical U.S. funding that makes their work possible. Some organizations even began preemptively rolling back essential programs and health services that would be permitted under the policy because they feared violating it.

This is where PAI comes in. We immediately began working with partners in the field to provide guidance on understanding the policy, so organizations could make educated decisions about signing it. During 2017, we delivered resources—fact sheets, policy briefs and our comprehensive guide to the Global Gag Rule—to local organizations worldwide. We hosted forums and conversations to answer our partners’ questions and, in several instances, helped them maintain critical funding and continue life-saving health services they thought were in jeopardy under the policy.

We have also collaborated with local partners in several countries to document the harm the Global Gag Rule has already caused, from the closing of health clinics, to restrictions on advocacy for safe abortion and post-abortion care services, to decreased availability of contraceptives.

By documenting these outcomes, PAI provided the evidence needed for policymakers and advocates in the U.S. and abroad to make the case for opposing the Global Gag Rule and setting the stage for its permanent repeal.

Building our future

Shortly after the Trump-Pence administration reinstated the Global Gag Rule, PAI began serving as an adviser to many organizations that were struggling to understand the policy and under threat of losing critical funding.

One of the groups we served was a women’s rights organization in Mexico City. At the time, the group was working with a U.S.-based foundation to renew a substantial portion of their funding. This funding supported a program focused on strengthening the leadership of women activists and mainstreaming gender into civil society organizations in Latin America, specifically Nicaragua, Cuba and Mexico.

During the renewal process, the funder raised concerns about whether they could continue to support the organization because of the Global Gag Rule, putting critical funding in jeopardy. PAI worked with the funder and organization to address the funder’s concerns and answer their questions. Because of our guidance, the funding was renewed and not only was the program able to continue, but the funder and organization gained a better understanding of what is allowed under the Global Gag Rule to avoid risking additional and unnecessary over-implementation of the policy in the future.

Amplifying Voices

In the U.S. and around the world, PAI works with diverse constituencies, many of whom are often underrepresented or have to fight to be heard. We use our position as a leader in the sexual and reproductive rights movement to provide a platform to amplify the voices of champions and communities that rarely get the spotlight. This is especially true for our work with young people

PAI believes in the power of young people and the need to elevate their voices and their leadership.

When it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights, young people face specific challenges, including harmful social norms, discrimination and violations of their privacy and outright denial of services. But adolescents and youth also have the potential to take on these challenges and advance sexual and reproductive rights in their communities.

PAI believes in the power of young people and the need to elevate their voices and their leadership.

In 2017, we partnered with youth-led organizations from nine countries, providing them with financial resources and coaching to spearhead their own advocacy efforts and move the needle on policies that directly affect young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

From reducing the rate of adolescent pregnancy, to expanding access to youth-friendly reproductive health services, to making menstrual hygiene supplies available, our youth partners are focused on creating a future where their voices matter and their rights count. Many of these young leaders are young women who have become powerful forces for change. Through our partnership with them, they are able to take their leadership to the next level.

Building our future

In March 2018, youth family planning partners from five countries gathered with PAI staff in South Africa for a three-day strategy meeting.

After months of one-on-one advising from PAI, the advocates came together to share their expertise and experiences with each other, collaborate on their organizational objectives and refine their advocacy goals based on input from their peers.

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