In January 2017, one of the Trump-Pence administration’s first actions in office was to impose a vastly expanded Global Gag Rule requiring foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to choose between receiving U.S. global health assistance and providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. This policy cuts off funding and supplies to some of the most trusted and experienced health care providers, interferes in health care providers’ relationships with their clients and stifles advocacy efforts—endangering the health and lives of women and girls.
Congress can end the Global Gag Rule by passing the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (Global HER) Act.
The Global HER Act would amend the Foreign Assistance Act, the permanent authorizing statute, to:
- Ensure foreign NGOs can remain eligible to receive U.S. global health assistance if they provide legally permissible abortion services, counseling or referrals for abortion with non-U.S. funds.
- Ensure that foreign NGOs can use non-U.S. funds for advocacy and lobbying efforts (consistent with the laws that govern U.S. NGOs receiving foreign assistance) to liberalize abortion laws in the areas where they work.
- Guarantee that foreign NGOs and their staff, including health care providers, participating in U.S.-supported programs can maintain their right to free speech without U.S. interference.