a bird and a bottle


Getting Rid of the Global Gag Rule
January 26, 2007, 8:47 am
Filed under: feminism/s & gender, news, politics

Nice to see the new Democratic House starting to address reproductive justice issues. The Ms. Feminist Daily News Wire reports:

On Monday, the sixth anniversary of President Bush’s 2001 reinstatement of the “global gag rule,” a bipartisan coalition in the House led by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) reintroduced a bill to overturn the policy. The global gag rule prohibits family planning programs in developing nations that accept US aid from even counseling women about abortions or advocating for legal abortion using their own separate funds.

I’m not sure whether Chris Shays is joining this out of true concern for women around the world or out of concern for his political career (he came perilously close in November to losing his seat representing a moderate district because of his rightward shift over the last couple of years).

The rule, which was instituted by Reagan and repealed by Clinton, was reinstated by Bush as his first act as president. No better way to show those nutjobs on the Right that you mean business than to ensure the deaths of hundreds of thousands of women and the erosion of family planning and reproductive health in developing countries. Again according to Ms.

Family planning programs that refuse to comply with the gag rule lose US funding, valuable technical assistance, and US-donated contraceptives, including condoms, which negatively impacts HIV/AIDS prevention efforts and women’s reproductive health worldwide, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Women are dying because we don’t care enough for their lives,” said Kenyan doctor Solomon Orero in an interview about the impact of the global gag rule in the Summer 2003 issue of Ms. magazine.

If the House can get the Senate on board (no easy task — see the trouble over the minimum wage raise), this will not only be a symbolic victory for reproductive justice but also a real improvement in the quality of care women can receive around the world.

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