Thursday, January 22, 2009

Global Gag Rule

Steve Waldman of incorrectly describes the Mexico City Gag Rule.

Pro-life Obama activists fully expect Obama to repeal the Mexico City "gag rule" -- which prevents American dollars from going to groups that offer abortion services or advice. But some of them are urging the Obama administration Obama to delay action on that until he can put it in the context of a broader "abortion reduction" agenda. In other words, don't make a big pro-choice move without also taking some abortion-reduction step.

Waldman fails to mention the policy does not allow foreign health clinics to talk about emergency contraception and abortions for life-threatening pregnancies. The Catholic Church has convinced the Nicaraguan government to not allow abortions. The policy has caused the death of women. The Gag Rule prevents doctors from telling at risk women about abortions.

Amie Newman correctly calls the Gag Rule censorship.

The Global Gag Rule is about imposing censorship (that is unconstitutional in this country) on U.S. family planning funded NGOs that provide critical health services in developing nations; services like the provision of contraceptive supplies, family planning counseling, HIV prevention tools, maternal health care and more.

The Gag Rule has curtailed free speech and created more unwanted prenancies. Hopefully, President Barack Obama intends to lift the Gag Rule. It is nice to have a President that places sound health care policy above religious fundamentalism.

Update: From Population Action:

The global gag rule does not prohibit foreign NGOs from providing EC as part of the family planning and reproductive health services they offer. Foreign NGOs may provide EC counseling, dispense EC to clients and promote awareness of this contraceptive method and still remain eligible for U.S. population assistance.

The Bush administration chose to withhold money from clinics that provided abortions. The original Reagan executive order forbid foreign clinics receiving U.S. funding to discuss abortion with patients.

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At January 23, 2009 1:07 PM , Anonymous Amie Newman said...

Thanks for writing about this, Michael. Anti-choice organizations have peddled an entirely incorrect definition for the Global Gag Rule for years. It is certainly a portend of things to come if the so-called "religious left" is using the anti-choice language and definitions hook, line and sinker. It's crucial that as we enter this new era we start things off with a clear and TRUTHFUL understanding of reproductive health policies like this one. Thank you so much for adding your voice as well!

Amie Newman
RH Reality Check


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