For Immediate Release

February 5, 2020

Contact: Adrienne Lee

alee@pai.org  Tel: 202-557-3426

 

URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO ADDRESS REAL AND DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF GLOBAL GAG RULE ON WOMEN’S HEALTH

Statement on House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Unique Challenges Women Face in Global Health

Washington, D.C.—Women and girls deserve access to basic health care, including sexual and reproductive health care—no matter where they live. Today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the unique challenges women face in global health emphasizes how the Global Gag Rule has undermined health systems and put critical care out of reach for those who most need it—women, girls and other vulnerable communities.

Testimony of key witnesses, including from countries like Uganda damnably implicates the United States in shutting down trusted health care providers in communities that are already resource constrained, reducing contraceptive access, increasing the number of women and girls dying due to complications of pregnancy and unsafe abortion, silencing health and human rights advocates and undermining country progress toward the sustainable development goals.

As the largest donor of global health assistance, the United States should support policies that are evidence-based and advance health, wellbeing and overall prosperity. We urge Congress to pass the Global HER Act. The legislation, originally introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Nita Lowey, would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule and:

  • Ensure foreign NGOs can remain eligible to receive U.S. global health assistance if they provide legally permissible health care services, including 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.

It is time to put an end to the politicization of health and to leave medical decisions to the only people qualified to make them—women and their provider of choice for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.

Signed,

  1. Advocates for Youth
  2. American Jewish World Service
  3. Catholics for Choice
  4. Center for International Policy
  5. Center for Reproductive Rights
  6. CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity)
  7. Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
  8. Council for Global Equality
  9. EngenderHealth
  10. Equity Forward
  11. Feminist Majority Foundation
  12. Global Justice Center
  13. Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation
  14. Guttmacher Institute
  15. Hispanic Federation
  16. Human Rights Watch
  17. International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law
  18. International Women’s Convocation
  19. International Women’s Health Coalition
  20. Ipas
  21. Jewish Women International
  22. John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
  23. MADRE
  24. Marie Stopes International
  25. MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health & Rights
  26. NARAL Pro-Choice America
  27. National Abortion Federation
  28. National Birth Equity Collaborative
  29. National Center for Transgender Equality
  30. National Women’s Law Center
  31. PAI
  32. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  33. Population Connection Action Fund
  34. Population Institute
  35. Population Services International
  36. SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change
  37. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health
  38. The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS
  39. The International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
  40. Treatment Action Group (TAG)
  41. Women for Afghan Women

 

 

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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 50 years, we’ve helped women succeed by upholding their basic rights. To learn more, visit pai.org.