Shaheen Challenges Secretary Tillerson on the Disastrous Consequences of the Global Gag Rule, Including Increase in Unsafe Abortions and Maternal Deaths Worldwide
**Shaheen pushed Secretary of State Tillerson on disastrous impact that Global Gag Rule will have on PEPFAR program to limit spread of HIV/AIDS and on women’s health**
**Administration’s expanded Global Gag Rule is projected to contribute to at least 6.5 million unintended pregnancies; 2.1 billion unsafe abortions; 21,700 maternal deaths**
**SHAHEEN: “I’m certainly not comfortable with that kind of impact on women’s health worldwide.”**
(Washington DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS), challenged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the disastrous impact that President Trump’s expanded Global Gag Rule will have on global health during a SFOPS subcommittee hearing to review the administration’s FY2018 budget request for the State Department. In the Trump administration’s FY2018 budget, the PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS is cut by $1 billion and family planning programs that support women’s health are completely eliminated.
Shaheen stated that reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention are critical to our global health goals and U.S. foreign policy, pushing Sec. Tillerson on the State Department’s proposed elimination and cuts to these programs. Tillerson said that he understands the impact will be “minimal” and the State Department will evaluate its impact in six months.
Shaheen noted that Trump’s Global Gag Rule is projected to contribute to at least 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths, and asked Secretary Tillerson if he believed that was a “minimal impact.” Sec. Tillerson indicated that the State Department supports the President’s Global Gag Rule no matter the impact on women’s health. Shaheen responded that she’s “certainly not comfortable with that kind of impact on women’s health worldwide.”
Shaheen is a leading voice in the Senate defending global women’s issues. She introduced the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently repeal Global Gag Rule, in January following President Trump's executive order.