On February 5, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on “Unique Challenges Women Face in Global Health” — the first hearing that the full committee has held on global women’s health in over a decade.
The Global Gag Rule was the focus of the hearing, with witnesses — including Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who authored the Global HER Act — testifying on the devastating and deadly impacts of the policy.
We were thrilled that reproductive health and rights champions on the committee — such as Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) — were there, asking thoughtful questions and speaking out against the Global Gag Rule and the harm that it has caused around the world.
However, in a shocking turn of events, Republican committee members used the hearing as an opportunity to disregard facts and push their anti-choice agenda. It was unsurprising, but nonetheless disappointing, that these elected officials praised a policy that actively hurts women and eliminates access to life-saving health care services.
We kept a list of some of the most infuriating and eye-roll worthy moments of the hearing. Check them out below:
- Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) claimed that abortion isn’t health care. We beg to differ. Access to safe abortion saves lives and allows people to make the best decisions for their own sexual and reproductive health.
- Clearly, we have to repeat that for Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) – ABORTION IS HEALTH CARE!
- Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) ran over his allotted time mansplaining “what women deserve.” We think that women (and all people) deserve access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare — and better representation in Congress.
- In her testimony, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) stated that Americans have always “cherished every person’s inalienable rights [to] life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It’s a nice sentiment, but McMorris Rodgers doesn’t seem to care that the Global Gag Rule denies those same rights to people around the world.
- Guest also spent his five-minute question period reciting the Declaration of Independence rather than focusing on the actual subject at hand: global women’s health. It’s almost as if that just isn’t his priority. 🤔
- According to Rep. Wagner, “Abortion is both a symptom and a tool of the oppression of women.” We’re pretty sure that it’s abortion restrictions that oppress women by preventing them from making their own choices about their bodies and lives. 🤷
- Wagner went on to say that the Global Gag Rule “ensures that American tax dollars are used for actual health care, not awarded to global organizations that push abortion on women instead of doing the hard work of helping these vulnerable women have both their baby and their dreams.” It’s probably hard to have both your baby and your dreams when the Global Gag Rule leads to decreased access to pre and post-natal care and childhood nutrition programs and increases the rate of maternal mortality. (Also, one more time for good measure, ABORTION IS HEALTH CARE!)
- Smith said, “In this country, thankfully, we put our arms around unwed mothers.” Between not guaranteeing paid family leave, the astronomical cost of childcare in the United States, and Republican attempts to strip access to affordable birth control and maternal care, particularly for low income women, it’s unlikely that single mothers are actually feeling the love.
- According to Rep. Guest, “life begins at inception.” If you don’t know the difference between Inception (a pretty good movie, to be fair) and conception, maybe you shouldn’t be in a position to decide what sexual and reproductive health care services people around the world are able to access.