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Good to Go: Permissible Abortion-Related Activities Under Current U.S. Law and Policy

Analysis

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022 — which ended the constitutional right to abortion for Americans — questions have been raised about how this decision could impact U.S. government (USG)-funded foreign assistance programs focused on expanding access to family planning and reproductive health care overseas, particularly abortion-related activities.

Although President Biden reversed the Trump administration’s dramatically expanded version of the Global Gag Rule (GGR) — known as Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) — shortly after his inauguration in January 2021, some analysts have questioned how effectively the rescission of the PLGHA has been communicated to non-U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). They have asserted that confusion persists at the field level in low- and middle-income countries to which the U.S. government provides health assistance, including family planning and reproductive health.

With this publication, like previous “what you need to know” guides, PAI seeks to provide clarification to U.S. and non-U.S. NGOs receiving U.S. foreign assistance about what constitutes permissible abortion-related and family planning and reproductive health activities under current law and policy as of October 1, 2022, reflecting both the rescission of the GGR and the overturning of Roe. But unlike past versions, the orientation is reversed: This guide focuses on what an NGO can do, rather than what it can’t do.

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