Trump’s Global Gag Rule is a U.S. presidential policy which restricts how foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can use their privately-raised funds if they wish to receive U.S. global health assistance. These organizations must agree to not use their own money for abortion-related advocacy and most abortion services, counseling or referral, or advocacy for abortion law liberalization. Otherwise, they will not be eligible to receive U.S. global health assistance funds.
On March 26, 2019, the Trump administration announced a new interpretation of language included in the standard provisions implementing the Global Gag Rule, related to the meaning of “provide financial support to any other foreign organization that conducts such activities.” This is legal language contained in the standard provisions to which foreign NGOs must agree in order to remain eligible to receive U.S. global health assistance.
President Trump’s expansion of the Global Gag Rule means some WASH projects and funding are now implicated. No funding received by any NGO prior to May 15, 2017 is subject to the rule, but any new global health award or existing award that is amended after May 15, 2017 to provide additional funding is subject to the new restrictions. The Global Gag Rule is currently attached to grants, cooperative agreements, subgrant agreements and grants under contracts. Contracts with foreign NGOs will eventually be subject to the policy, but that will be the result of a yet-to-be announced rule-making process.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs have an unusual funding structure within the U.S. government, in that funding is split across multiple accounts and agencies—some which are subject to Trump’s Global Gag Rule and some which are not.
Coauthored by WaterAid and PAI, this WASH guide will be updated upon the release of further guidance.