News Releases

Study shows far-reaching negative consequences of Global Gag Rule; Beyond family planning, rule curtails adults and children’s access to health care

Murray and Cantwell have been outspoken advocates of Gag Rule repeal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), the incoming Chair of the Senate health committee, and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in a bipartisan, bicameral reintroduction of the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act.

The bill would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy), an executive order that bans federal funds for foreign on-governmental organizations that use non-U.S. funds to provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. The rule forces providers to choose between providing limited reproductive health services while accepting U.S. foreign aid or providing inclusive family planning and reproductive health care with a limited budget.

“President Biden’s decision to repeal the Trump Administration’s Global Gag Rule sent a clear message across the world about our commitment to protecting women and girls,” Senator Murray said. “I’m proud to support this bill that would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule and re-establish the U.S. as a global leader on women’s health and helping patients across the world seeking sexual and reproductive health care. This important step will help ensure that ideological politicians don’t undermine efforts to help women, including survivors of gender-based violence, get the care they need, build on past progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, expand access to birth control, and more.”

“I support a woman’s right to choose, and am proud to co-sponsor this bill putting an end to the Global Gag rule,” Senator Cantwell said. “When in effect this rule impacts women around the globe by cutting them off from services essential to leading a healthy life.”

The Global Gag Rule was first implemented by President Reagan, rescinded by the Clinton administration, reinstated by the G.W. Bush administration, and rescinded by the Obama administration. The Trump administration then reinstated and expanded the Global Gag Rule to unprecedented levels, which Murray and Cantwell vehemently opposed. Last week, President Biden rescinded the policy. The Global HER Act would put an end to the back-and-forth between administrations and provide stability for eligible NGOs and the women around the world who rely on them for critical health services. Murray and Cantwell have sponsored legislation to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule in previous congresses.

The Global 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 that 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.

Companion legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Barbara Lee (D, CA-13), Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-09) and Ami Bera, M.D. (D, CA-07) has 173 cosponsors.

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