At the United Nations Conference on Population in Mexico City in 1984 a policy was announced by the Reagan Administration that became known as the Mexico City Policy also known as the Global Gag Rule for those who oppose it. It was rescinded by President Clinton, and reinstated by President Bush in 2001, and withdrawn by President Obama in 2009 and now Trump has reinstated it again.
The Global Gag states that no US family planning assistance reaches NGOs working abroad that even use funding from other source to:
- Perform abortions other than those life threatening to women, rape or incest
- Provide counselling and referral for abortion
- Lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country
Non-compliance results in loss of American international development funding.
“Almost 225 million women and girls would like to avoid pregnancy but they have no access to contraceptives. Every day, over 800 women and girls die of pregnancy complications – and over 100 die because of unsafe abortions.” She Decides website
Another harmful aspect is that it restricts open and important conversations between many women and their health care providers. Women become too afraid to ask about where and how they can access safe abortions services and hence sometimes resort to unsafe abortions at the cost of their own lives.
EuroNGOs are urgently calling on civil society around the world to join them in signing a statement applauding the Dutch led She Decides initiative to counterbalance the effect of the Global Gag Rule and encourage other likeminded governments and allies to join the fight.
If you think that women should decide what to do with their bodies sign this statement and share this call for action within your country and across regions.