The HER Act Could Put an End to the Dangerous Global Gag Rule

For 34 years, Republican presidents have been using the global gag rule†– a policy that prevents foreign organizations that provide abortions or refer patients to facilities that†perform the procedures†from receiving U.S. funds — to win political points at home while endangering millions of women around the world.

But the HER Act could finally put a stop to this harmful policy and ensure that international health organizations can count on U.S. funding, no matter who is in the White House.

From its inception, the†global gag rule has harmed women by denying them access to basic reproductive health care –†and Trump has only worsened the situation. Like his Republican predecessors, he reinstated the rule shortly after taking office.

Initially, the policy only affected recipients of international family planning assistance†– $607.5 million in fiscal year 2018, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But in May of 2017, Trump expanded the rule to include all global health assistance — $10.8 billion.

The Global Fund for Women estimates that this expansion will strand as many as 26 million women and families without contraceptive services and supplies. Marie Stopes International, an organization that provides contraception and safe abortion services in 37 countries, predicts that†the global gag rule†cuts to their funding could result in nearly 7,000 preventable maternal deaths and 870,000 unsafe abortions.

Introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), the HER Act –†S. 368/H.R. 1055†– would permanently end the†global gag rule†by allowing foreign organizations that receive U.S. funds to use non-U.S. funds to provide abortion services.

The Center for Health and Gender Equity explains†that the act would also:

…promote safe, ethical medical practices by removing discriminatory restrictions on essential health care services; support and encourage democratic participation and freedom of speech abroad; and nullify any existing U.S. law or policy that interferes with these provisions.

The bill, which currently has 165 cosponsors, has been referred to the House Committee for Foreign Affairs and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Anti-choice advocates and politicians, including our current president, are doing their best through state legislation and domestic policy to prevent women from accessing safe abortion services in the United States. In the rest of the world, money is their weapon against women.

Some organizations, like Marie Stopes, are well funded enough to weather the withdrawal of U.S. funding when the†country elects a Republican president. Other, smaller organizations must abide by the†global gag rule in order to stay financially afloat and continue offering non-abortion services to their patients.

The end result is that millions of people either lose access to reproductive health care completely or donít have access to safe abortions. Neither situation is acceptable. Itís time for congress to step in and tell Trump and future Republican presidents that access to reproductive health care isnít negotiable.

This March, Care2 is launching a campaign to empower women and girls.†Join us!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

14 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad Ayesterday

Thank you.

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill5 days ago

signed

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Anne F
Anne F10 days ago

good plan

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Maria P
Maria P11 days ago

signed

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Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio11 days ago

#57308 petition signed...

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Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio11 days ago

thank you Alice...

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pam w
pam w12 days ago

RKR...guess you didn't read the article....this isn't just about abortion...it's about HEALTH CARE and facilities who provide it. If US tax payers help women around the world, why should we stick our sanctimonious noses into their business?

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pam w
pam w12 days ago

When did we start being THE BIG BOSS of the WORLD?

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Joan E
Joan E12 days ago

The easier and better thing to do is NEVER vote for a Republican so you don't have to worry about gag rules or people who think a fetus, living or dead, can make a complaint in court.

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RK R
RK R12 days ago

Why should US tax payers foot the bill for abortions in other countries? That is the question.

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