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House Republicans Vote to Reinstate the Global Gag Rule

House Republicans Vote to Reinstate the Global Gag Rule


One of President Obama’s first acts in office was to issue an executive order overturning the Global Gag Rule (GGR), a restriction that prohibited the US from providing family planning assistance to foreign NGOs that dispensed abortion services or information about abortion using their own non-U.S. funds, even if abortion was legal in the countries where the NGOs were operating.  This opened the door for far more NGOs to provide crucial services to women abroad.

Given the GOP’s current attempts to prevent all women from achieving healthcare, however, it’s unsurprising that House Republicans voted to include a broader and more damaging version of the GGR in a draft of the Fiscal Year 2012 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. According to the legislation,

“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any amendment made by this Act may be made available to any foreign nongovernmental organization that promotes or performs abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.”

Another law, the Helms Amendment, already prohibits U.S. funding from being used to support abortion care abroad.  The GGR goes further, in that it denies support to organizations that would use the U.S. funds for contraceptives or counseling, as long as they were using their own money to provide abortion care.  In other words, it requires NGOs to make an absurd choice: either forego U.S. funding, and continue to help women with access to abortion, or accept U.S. funding, and end all abortion-related services.

The restrictions in the draft legislation are more far-reaching than any past iteration of the GGR, which was implemented in the past by executive order.  According to Congressman Howard Bermann, “The language in the bill not only bars family planning assistance to local health care providers in poor countries, it bars ALL assistance to such organizations – including HIV/AIDS funding, water and sanitation, child survival, and education.”

Even mentioning abortion as an option could be enough to preclude an organization from receiving funds.

Needless to say, this isn’t just a shot at women’s rights – it could undermine international development efforts of all kinds.  Are GOP lawmakers really so dogmatic that they’re willing to deny funding to organizations that are providing assistance to struggling countries, simply because they provide abortion referrals?  If this bill becomes law, we’ll see how far Republicans are willing to go in their war, not just against women, but against disadvantaged people worldwide.

Related Stories:

Congress’ War on Women, Global Edition

What Is Controversial About Birth Control?

Less Birth Control, More Ultrasounds: How the GOP Wants to Force Women To Bear More Children

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Photo from BetteDavisEyes via Wikimedia Commons.

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7:39PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

I like how they are working so hard on putting Americans back to work. I'm sooooo happy it is their #1 priority. In fact, they must have solved the problem, and now, out of their kind benevolence, they are moving on to "helping" other world nations, with exploding populations, plagues and disease, solve their problems, too.

9:59AM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

It's evident the repukes and teabags hate women. Got to be some sort of defunked family background that draws them into this cult.

8:00AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

I thought those extreme-right Republicans were scared of non-Americans having many children. Why are they supporting it now?

9:03AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Why are the members of this party so scared of women?!!

8:51AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

It's just sad that after all the research on the subject,
republicans still won't believe the basic science which proves that a fetus is not conscious until a certain amount of time has passed during a pregnancy.

8:29PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

More right-wing, pseudo-Christian, fascist nonsense. Keep the dark age mentality to yourselves and stop forcing this crap down everyone's throats.

5:47PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

Every time the Repugs open their mouths, evil spews out! We need more sane and compassionate people in our government. Let's vote these f***ers OUT! PLEASE...

3:33PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

UnAmerican, backwards-thinking, uncaring and unrealistic thugs.

1:51PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

Damn those Republicans!

12:21PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

Something drastic happened to the Republican Party that 'used to be'....did it start w "W" (Bush)? I think so..............hope the present day Repukes realize what havoc they started when the dolts elected x drunk/druggie George W. is now an obstructionist org. with members either too old or too rich or just plain old selfish *&^^

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