Global HER Act, Reintroduced Today, Would End the Deadly Global Gag Rule and Prevent Future Reinstatement by Executive Action
Today, Rep. Nita Lowey and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, joined by 150 cosponsors in the House and 45 in the Senate, introduced the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (Global HER) Act, a bill that would permanently and legislatively repeal the Global Gag Rule.
The expanded Global Gag Rule, imposed through presidential memorandum by President Trump in January 2017, has resulted in direct and rising harm to health care services around the world. PAI’s preliminary documentation of the policy’s effects in countries including Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal and Nepal shows that health providers and communities have experienced disruptions in family planning services and referrals, closures of clinics and outreach projects, staff layoffs and diminished resources for service delivery, among innumerable other mounting negative impacts.
“In one unilateral, politically driven act, a President with no understanding of development aid or global health has decided to restrict the services and information health professionals around the world can provide to their clients. Through reinstatement of this policy, he has undermined established international partnerships and goals—including the U.S.’s own,” said Suzanne Ehlers, President and CEO of PAI. “The cost of this ideological decision is inconceivably high for the women, girls and vulnerable communities around the world left with health systems in chaos and no recourse.
We applaud Rep. Lowey, Sen. Shaheen and all the congressional co-sponsors for putting forth a permanent legislative repeal of the Global Gag Rule. Congress must act to ensure this U.S. policy never again endangers lives, threatens the work of health care professionals, and sows irreparable turmoil in global health systems on the whim of a President.”
The bill 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 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.
More information and resources on the Global Gag Rule:
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.