Statement on Pompeo’s Announcement to Expand Trump’s Global Gag Rule

March 26, 2019
Contact: Kyle Groetzinger, 202-478-6138

Brian Dixon, Senior Vice President for Media and Government Relations at Population Connection Action Fund:

Secretary Pompeo’s announcement this morning is repulsive.

The Global Gag Rule has been an unmitigated disaster for people throughout the developing world. It is undermining progress on maternal and child health. It is leaving millions of people without access to health care. It is, contrary to Pompeo’s claim, causing abortion rates to increase. We know this because researchers have looked at the impact of this policy in the past and have documented the harm. We know this because clinics have already been shuttered by the current policy.

But like most things with this administration, the cruelty is the point. The Global Gag Rule needs to be repealed — not expanded — and today’s action should spur Congress to act swiftly to pass the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act to end it once and for all.

Equally disgraceful is the ludicrous attack on the Organization of American States. Criminalized abortion in Latin America is, without question, a violation of human rights. Just weeks ago, we read of a young girl in Argentina who was made pregnant in a vicious rape. Denied the abortion she requested, she was forced to carry her unwanted pregnancy to 23 weeks when she underwent a C-section — a much more dangerous procedure. She was 11. Today, Pompeo and his boss took the side of those who denied her care. As is the pattern with this president, when faced with a question of choosing between oppressors and the oppressed, Trump stood with the oppressor.

It’s despicable.