EngenderHealth Welcomes Repeal of Global Gag Rule, Urges Biden/Harris Administration to Take More Steps to Ensure Health and Rights

January 28, 2021 (Washington, DC)—The removal of the Global Gag Rule by the Biden administration is an important and welcomed step for improving US support for reproductive and women’s health around the world. The rule—significantly expanded by the previous administration—prohibited foreign NGOs receiving US government assistance from providing information, referrals, or services for legal abortion, or advocating to reduce legal restrictions on abortion in their countries, using their own, non-US government funds to do so. These prohibitions forced organizations to make a choice between receiving US funding and providing comprehensive reproductive health information and services. The repeal of the rule is essential for reproductive health and justice, but not sufficient: further action is necessary.

EngenderHealth President & CEO, Traci L. Baird, said, “We have seen the harm caused by the Global Gag Rule each time it has been implemented. Clinics close, services stop, and people die. While purportedly designed to reduce abortion, the policy actually increases the number of unsafe abortions and limits access to a wide range of essential services, including HIV screening and treatment, cancer prevention and screening, and contraceptive counseling and services. The repeal of this bad policy is a necessary first step. We look forward to the rest of this journey for reproductive health and justice.”

With the rescinding of the Global Gag Rule, organizations can begin to address the harms that the policy caused during the past four years, and rebuild the counseling, referral, and service programs that communities need and people deserve. EngenderHealth will continue to work with communities and organizations in countries around the world to ensure people have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

The repeal of the Global Gag Rule is a significant first step, and it is part of a package of changes designed to uphold sexual and reproductive health and rights and address health disparities. In the weeks ahead, the Administration and Congress must work together to ensure US laws and policies support sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice domestically and abroad. A clear plan for achieving these goals has been laid out in the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice.

About EngenderHealth

EngenderHealth envisions a gender-equal world where all people achieve their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). To reach that vision, we implement high-quality, gender-equitable programs that advance SRHR, which we define broadly to include contraceptive counseling and services, maternal health, comprehensive sexuality education, gender-based violence prevention and counseling, comprehensive abortion care, and more. EngenderHealth collaborates with governments, private sector partners, international experts, and local organizations and communities to reach marginalized groups—including girls, women, and gender minorities; adolescents and youth; people with disabilities; economically disadvantaged groups; and rural and other hard-to-reach populations. www.engenderhealth.org