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On the Senate Floor: Shaheen Stops Republican Effort to Codify Dangerous Global Gag Rule

SHAHEEN: “…the policy that he wants to codify into law is dangerous in the best of times, but during a global pandemic, when care is already stretched, it is downright deadly.”

**Study shows the Global Gag Rule impacts a wide range of programs and has vast negative consequences for critical health services**

**Shaheen leads the bipartisan effort in the Senate to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule**

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opposed an amendment offered on the Senate floor this evening by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to the budget resolution that would codify the harmful Global Gag Rule. Shaheen leads bipartisan legislation in the Senate that would permanently repeal the ill-conceived policy, which she reintroduced last week.

The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy or the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy, is an executive order that bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that use non-U.S. funds to provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. This forces clinics to choose between providing limited reproductive health services while accepting U.S. foreign aid or providing inclusive family planning and reproductive health care with a limited budget. The ill-conceived policy has been instituted by Republican presidents and rescinded by Democratic presidents. The Obama administration repealed the George W. Bush policy only to have it be reinstated and expanded under the Trump administration. President Trump expanded the policy numerous times during his term in office to unprecedented levels, all of which Senator Shaheen vehemently opposed. Last week, President Biden once again rescinded the policy. 

Shaheen underscored, “The policy in question closes health clinics, decreases care and needlessly puts the lives of women, children and families at risk. In fact, instead of protecting life, the Global Gag Rule erects new barriers to critical health services—including reproductive health services—for people and communities who already have limited access to affordable, quality health care. And let’s be clear: America’s taxpayer dollars do not go to fund abortions overseas. What my colleague is objecting to is funding for family planning services to help women protect their families. And the policy that he wants to codify into law is dangerous in the best of times, but during a global pandemic, when care is already stretched, it is downright deadly.”

Shaheen went on to cite alarming data from the Guttmacher Institute that estimates a 10 percent decline in family planning services, including reduced access to reversible contraception and pregnancy and newborn health care, results in:

  • 49 million more women with unmet contraceptive needs;
  • 15 million additional unintended pregnancies;
  • 1.7 million women and 2.6 million newborns experiencing major complications due to not receiving the care they need; and
  • 28,000 more maternal deaths and 168,000 more newborn deaths.

This impact from a relatively modest 10 percent reduction in family planning access.

In an exchange with Senator Lee, Shaheen repeatedly corrected the false narrative that American taxpayer dollars go toward abortions—they do not.

Shaheen’s remarks can be viewed in full here.

A member of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, Senator Shaheen has been a fierce advocate for women and girls around the globe, including advocating on behalf of family planning and women’s global health, spearheading efforts to end gender-based violence, authoring legislation to address barriers that girls around the world face in accessing education and securing women leadership roles in conflict resolution and peace negotiations