Shaheen on Stanford Study Showing 40% Increase in Abortions Due to Global Gag Rule: “This Should Compel the Trump Administration to Finally Reexamine This Disastrous Policy for Women”

June 28, 2019

**Stanford study looks at the impact of this policy on Sub-Saharan countries receiving U.S. aid over two decades**

**SHAHEEN: “These statistics should ring alarm bells for policy makers, especially considering that this study doesn’t account for the dramatic expansion of the Global Gag Rule under the Trump administration”**  

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement responding to a new expansive study conducted by researchers at Stanford University and published by The Lancet Global Health that shows the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, contributing to a 40 percent increase in abortions in developing countries dependent on U.S. assistance:

“This study adds to a growing body of research that proves the Global Gag Rule does tremendous harm to women and their families,” said Shaheen. “This study should compel the Trump administration to finally reexamine this disastrous policy for women and move Congress to pass the bipartisan Global HER Act to reverse this rule. These statistics should ring alarm bells for policy makers, especially considering that this study doesn’t account for the dramatic expansion of the Global Gag Rule under the Trump administration. I am tremendously concerned about the immense harm that this expanded policy is having today on women across the globe – we shouldn’t wait to learn of the true scope of its devastation before doing the right thing and reversing this order.”

The Global Gag Rule 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 The ill-conceived policy was rescinded by the Obama administration, only to be reinstated and expanded under the Trump administration. Days after taking office in 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that significantly expanded the policy from previous administrations by applying the ban to every program that falls under global health assistance at the Department of State, USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Stanford study looked at Sub-Saharan countries from 1995-2014. However, this study does not analyze the latest iteration of the Global Gag Rule put in place by the Trump administration. While previous versions of the rule under past Republican administrations impacted approximately $600 million in foreign assistance, the Trump administration’s policy now impacts $9 billion in aid. Sub-Saharan Africa, as recipients of a large amount of US global health assistance, is particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of President Trump’s expanded Gag Rule. 

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 violence against women, 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

Shaheen is the author of the Global Her Act which would reverse the Global Gag Rule. This legislation would:

  • Ensure that eligible foreign NGOs can continue to operate U.S.-supported health programs abroad, particularly those that provide legal health services to women -- including counseling, referral, and legal abortion services -- with their own, non-U.S. funds;
  • Guarantee that foreign NGOs will not be forced to sacrifice their right to free speech in order to participate in U.S.-supported programs abroad;
  • Help expand access to health programs for women around the world to improve health and development outcomes for entire families, communities and developing countries.