The U.S. Senate has approved language overturning the Global Gag Rule, the anti-abortion policy that Bush re-imposedon his first full day as President. The gag rule restricts abortion-related advocacy and health services by foreignorganizations who receive U.S. aid for their work abroad. Aid workers in some countries where abortion is illegalcannot even say the word “abortion,” for fear of losing their funding.
Feminists and human rights activists around the world point to the chilling effect this policy has on women incountries where abortion is illegal, like Bolivia and Peru. Over 80,000 women around the world die from unsafeillegal abortions every year.
But this week, the Senate approved the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which was added as an amendment to the foreignoperations bill this summer. The Democracy Promotion Act, which was proposed by California Senator Barbara Boxer,counters the Global Gag Rule’s restrictions. The House rejected the bill in May by a narrow margin of 220-210.
In June, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy announced they were suing the President on the grounds that theglobal gag rule violates the freedom of speech of U.S. human rights advocates working in the United States andoverseas, because it censors speech promoting abortion law reform.
- Anika Rahman, Director of the International Program at the Center For Reproductive Law And Policy.