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Gag Rules: Enemies to Public Health at Home and Abroad

For Immediate Release

Media Contact

Katie Unthank

Director of Strategic Communications

+1 (202) 557-3427

Last night, the Trump-Pence administration proposed restrictions on Title X funding akin to a domestic version of the Global Gag Rule—a move that would take away women’s basic health, rights, and freedoms. The new guidelines would prohibit recipients of federal family planning funding from providing abortion care, educating patients about abortion options, or making referrals to abortion providers. This would force providers to choose between receiving Title X funding and offering the full range of sexual and reproductive health information and services.

“As we have witnessed from three decades of the Global Gag Rule, senseless and cruel restrictions like the ones proposed for Title X would deprive women of their right to information and care they need, including contraception, cancer screenings, routine health exams and safe abortion services,” said Suzanne Ehlers, President and CEO of PAI.

“PAI has begun documenting preliminary impacts from President Trump’s expanded Global Gag Rule in several countries, where health providers have had to cut back on staff, sever ties with key partners and close programs, limiting communities’ access to health care. Unfortunately, we can expect similar consequences under a domestic gag rule. The evidence is clear—whenever and wherever this policy has been imposed, women’s lives have been endangered.”

In PAI’s past documentation of the effects of the Global Gag Rule restrictions on international family planning assistance under President George W. Bush, the policy reduced access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and devastated health systems around the world by undermining the most effective and experienced health care providers and putting their services out of reach. Established providers were forced to close clinics and cut services, clients were deprived of contraceptives, rural and youth community distribution programs were cut back, HIV/AIDS prevention efforts were weakened and screenings and treatments for sexually transmitted infections were reduced.




PAI champions policies that put women in charge of their reproductive health. We work with policymakers in Washington and our network of partners in developing countries to remove roadblocks between women and the services and supplies they need. For over 50 years, we’ve helped women succeed by upholding their basic rights. To learn more, visit pai.org.

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