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Shaheen’s Amendment That Repeals Global Gag Rule Added to Foreign Operations Funding Bill

(Washington, DC)— Today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) amendment to boost funds for international family planning and reproductive health programs received bipartisan support and was added to the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs annual appropriations bill that allocates federal dollars for programs directed by the US State Department.

“The global gag rule is a dangerous and ill-conceived policy that blocks millions of women and their families from receiving critical aid and assistance,” said Shaheen. “My amendment will preserve and restore funding levels for international organizations that help to prevent over fifty million unintended pregnancies around the world, and reduce the number of maternal deaths we see from those accessing unsafe abortions when the lack of family planning leaves them without options. I’m very pleased that this amendment was approved on a bipartisan basis and hope that Congress can continue to make progress to repeal this disastrous policy.”

Senator Shaheen’s amendment repeals the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. The Mexico City Policy bans federal dollars from supporting foreign non-governmental groups that provide the full scope of family planning and maternal health services that include information about and referrals for abortions, even if these activities are funded with their own, non-US funds. By law, federal dollars are already prohibited from supporting abortions, however the Mexico City Policy goes further by banning foreign non-governmental organizations from providing information on or referrals for abortion services as part of delivering comprehensive women's healthcare. This includes a prohibition on care and counseling for those harmed by abortions. Senator Shaheen’s amendment allows these non-governmental groups to provide family planning services, preserves previous levels of funding for USAID family planning programs, and restores the United States’ contribution to the United Nations Populations Fund to 2017 funding levels.

Senator Shaheen is a leader on women’s reproductive rights and has been advocating to repeal the global gag rule since President Trump reinstated it through an executive order in January. She led a bipartisan group of Senators and introduced the Global HER Act to repeal the dangerous policy and ensure international organizations are able to provide women around the world with the necessary care they need. Senator Shaheen serves on the Appropriation’s Subcommittee on the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs and is also the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.