The Washington Post reports that upon taking office in January, President-elect Obama intends to repeal the Global Gag Rule, which has been harming women around the world for the past eight years.
The Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) was enacted by President Reagan in 1984 at a United Nations conference on population in Mexico City. It mandates that any foreign organization that: provides abortion in cases other than rape, incest, or to preserve the woman’s life; provides counseling or referrals for abortion services; or lobbies to make abortion legal or more accessible in their country cannot receive U.S. family planning money. As a result, organizations that provide a whole host of services besides abortion – for example, contraception, STI screening and treatment, maternity care, among others – have to choose between receiving badly needed resources from the United States while being forced to stay silent on anything related to abortion or not receiving the money and having to turn patients away because they simply can’t afford to help them.
The rule was kept in place through 1993, when President Clinton overturned it. However, on his first day in office, President George W. Bush re-instated the rule. We’re happy that President-elect Obama is supporting women’s health by overturning this policy.