One of the Biden administration’s first actions in office was to rescind the Global Gag Rule, which had been in place during the four years of the Trump-Pence administration. When in effect, this policy requires 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 people, especially women and girls around the world.
Congress can make sure the Global Gag Rule never returns by passing the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (Global HER) Act. This bill would amend the Foreign Assistance Act, the permanent authorizing statute, to: Establish that foreign NGOs can remain eligible to receive U.S. global health assistance if they provide 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. To be added as a cosponsor of the Global HER Act, please reach out to staff in the offices of Representative Barbara Lee or Senator Jeanne Shaheen.