Population Connection Action Fund: State Department Review of Global Gag Rule an Embarrassment

Restrictions on international family planning aid will have devastating consequences


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Thursday, February 8, 2018

Population Connection Action Fund’s senior vice president for media and government relations, Brian Dixon, issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s six-month review of the implementation of the Global Gag Rule:

“Late yesterday, the Trump administration released a “review” of its implementation of his disgraceful Global Gag Rule.

Like the policy itself, it’s an embarrassment. They didn’t even bother to look at the impact of the policy on vulnerable people who need health care in the developing world. They didn’t bother to look at what’s happening in, for example, Kenya, where Trump’s Global Gag Rule is causing Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) to close half its 16 clinics around the country, leaving some 1.5 million Kenyan women and families without their only source for health care.

They didn’t bother to examine what might happen as a result of the policy’s stifling of efforts to address the still serious challenge of unsafe abortion. Some 47,000 women die every year as a result of unsafe abortion. And, frankly, it’s impossible to have a serious conversation about women’s health in the developing world without talking about the role of unsafe abortion.

They didn’t bother to look at what might happen by shifting global health funding from agencies that provide comprehensive care to those who provide only the services that meet their ideological agenda. Shifting HIV prevention funding to organizations that refuse to offer access to contraceptives is surely counterproductive.

Nobody should be surprised by the bad faith in which this “review” was undertaken. If this administration were actually interested in the impact of this policy, or truly sought to understand the damage it wreaks, it would have taken the 35 seconds needed to look up what happened during the Bush administration’s imposition of a similar policy. They would have seen that between 2001 and 2009, the Global Gag Rule devastated health services throughout the developing world They would have seen that it caused abortion rates to double in several African nations – with nearly all of those additional abortions unsafe.

They knew how this policy would end, because we’ve seen it before. But they did anyway, making clear that right-wing ideology was far more important than protecting lives. And that is a disgrace.”


Contact: Brian Dixon
202-489-5247 bdixon@popconnect.org

#Fight4HER is a grassroots campaign of Population Connection Action Fund to defend reproductive rights around the world. We demand increased access to international family planning programs to ensure that every woman and girl can make her own healthcare decisions without exceptions. www.iwillfight4her.org