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Shaheen on GAO Report Detailing Devastating Impact of Global Gag Rule

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the impact of the expanded Global Gag Rule under the Trump Administration. The report is in direct response to a letter led by Shaheen in July 2017 requesting GAO to compile the information. Her letter is available here and was also signed by U.S. Senators Collins (R-ME), Murray (D-WA), Murkowski (R-AK) and Blumenthal (D-CT).

“This timely report confirms what many of us have long known: the Global Gag Rule has a lasting and devastating impact on the health of women and families in the most vulnerable communities around the globe. This ill-conceived, harmful policy cannot be left up to the political whim of an administration – it needs to be taken off the table for good. We need a permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule,” said Senator Shaheen. “The information contained in this report also demonstrates the compounding impact of COVID-19 on women and how the GGR’s expanded scope by the Trump administration limited critical health services for vulnerable populations. In some regions, health centers closed because of the GGR, restricting the medical care available to women and families in the midst of a global pandemic. The GGR is not based on facts or evidence – it is solely rooted in partisan politics. That isn’t just shameful – it is downright dangerous. I urge lawmakers to join me on my bipartisan legislation – the Global HER Act – to end the Global Gag Rule once and for all.”

The GAO report released today is available here.

The impact of the Global Gag Rule is far-reaching, and due to the Trump administration’s actions, severely impacted the ability of global health organizations to provide care and services to some of the most vulnerable areas around the world where these groups are often the only source of medical care for communities. The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, 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.

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 and has long led the bipartisan effort in the Senate to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule, including through her bipartisan, bicameral bill, the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act