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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

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.


Advocates for Youth
American Jewish World Service
Catholics for Choice
Center for International Policy
Center for Reproductive Rights
CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity)
Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
Council for Global Equality
Equity Forward
Feminist Majority Foundation
Global Justice Center
Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation
Guttmacher Institute
Hispanic Federation
Human Rights Watch
International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law
International Women’s Convocation
International Women’s Health Coalition
Jewish Women International
John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
Marie Stopes International
MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health & Rights
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Birth Equity Collaborative
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Women’s Law Center
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Connection Action Fund
Population Institute
Population Services International
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change
The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health
The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS
The International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Treatment Action Group (TAG)
Women for Afghan Women


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