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After President Trump reinstates the harmful executive order, 43 Senators introduce legislation that supports women’s reproductive rights and international family planning programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – After President Trump issued an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule on Monday, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined their colleagues Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and 39 other senators to introduce the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently repeal the harmful policy.

The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services, forcing clinics to choose between providing limited reproductive health services while accepting U.S. foreign aid or providing inclusive family planning and reproductive healthcare with a limited budget. The executive order expanded the policy from the Bush Administration to apply to every program that falls under global health assistance at the Department of State, USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“There are few Republican traditions more shameful that restricting access to reproductive health care in ways that most burden women who can least afford it—and President Trump’s expansion of the global gag rule, which would threaten the lives of women worldwide, is unfortunately a clear continuation,” said Senator Murray. “I’m proud to support the Global HER Act and I’m going to fight every step of the way against extreme policies that would take women backwards, here at home and abroad.”

“It is unfortunate President Trump is attacking women’s healthcare just days into his presidency,” said Senator Cantwell. “I support a woman’s right to choose, and am proud to co-sponsor this bill putting an end to the Global Gag rule. This rule impacts women around the globe who will be cut off from services essential to leading a healthy life.”

The Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act would:

  • Ensure that eligible foreign NGOs can continue to operate U.S.-supported health programs abroad, particularly those that provide legal health services to women -- including counseling, referral, and legal abortion services -- with their own, non-U.S. funds;
  • Guarantee foreign NGOs will not be forced to sacrifice their right to free speech in order to participate in U.S.-supported programs abroad;
  • Help expand access to health programs for women around the world to improve health and development outcomes for entire families, communities, and developing countries.

Joining Murray, Cantwell, Shaheen and Collins as cosponsors of the Global HER Act are: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). A companion bill was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY 17).