Support the Global Democracy Promotion Act

Recently introduced by Representative Nita Lowey in the House and earlier this year by Senator Barbara Boxer in the Senate, the Global Democracy Promotion Act would prohibit the U.S. from imposing restrictions on foreign organizations that would be unconstitutional if applied to organizations in our own country.

If passed, the bill would mean a permanent repeal of the global gag rule (also known as the Mexico City policy), a harmful policy first introduced by President Reagan. Separate and permanent U.S. foreign assistance laws already restrict funding for abortions overseas.  The global gag rule goes a step further and prevents any organization receiving U.S. international family planning funds from providing counseling or referrals for abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country — even with their own money.

What does this mean on the ground? When in place, the global gag rule forces the most qualified recipients of this funding to chose between U.S. assistance and the ability to counsel and provide clients with an accurate and full range of reproductive health options.

What’s more — because the global gag rule went into effect under President Reagan, was removed by President Clinton, was reinstated under President George W. Bush and then removed again by President Obama in his first week in office — many organizations in developing countries don’t trust that the policy is gone and won’t come back.

The U.S. needs to show strong leadership when it comes to promoting Democracy and women’s health around the world.  Yet opponents of women’s health have tried again and again to impose the global gag rule by writing it into legislation every chance they get. Most recently, they wrote it into the House foreign assistance bill.  Politicians in Washington should not be interfering in a woman’s personal medical decision about her pregnancy, in this country or anywhere in the world. Tell Congress to support the Global Democracy Promotion Act!

 As Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said, “U.S. foreign aid should never be used as a tool to limit women’s access to health care or to impose unfair restrictions on the decision-making ability of independent organizations overseas.  The women of the world need information and services, not censorship and restrictions.”