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What is the Global H.E.R. Act?

“The Global HER Act would reverse and permanently prohibit the global gag rule. Specifically, the law would allow entities receiving U.S. global assistance to provide safe abortion care using their own funds, in keeping with current U.S. laws and those of their respective countries. It would also support free speech and democratic engagement by lifting the prohibition on funding to entities that use their own funds to advocate on behalf of abortion rights.

Importantly, the Global HER Act would prevent future anti-abortion administrations from easily re-imposing the global gag rule through executive order. This, in turn, would greatly reduce the likelihood that family planning aid and other global health assistance will continue to be treated as a political football by anti-abortion ideologues—never mind the severe real-world consequences.” ~ Guttmacher

Why do we want to end The Global Gag Rule?

“All iterations of the global gag rule are dangerous. The policy threatens the provision of health services in developing countries, increases the risk of unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, and violates medical ethics. The Trump administration’s policy puts life-saving health services—particularly sexual and reproductive health services—out of reach for people and communities who already have limited access to affordable, high quality health care.”  ~ Guttmacher

How long has the Global Gag Rule been in effect?

The Global Gag Rule was first imposed by the Reagan administration in 1984. It was rescinded in 1993 by President Clinton, reinstated in 2001 by President George W. Bush, and once again rescinded by President Obama in 2009. It has been reinstated, expanded, and made more restrictive by this current administration and has been labelled “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.” ~PAI

Why is the Global Gag Rule also called The Mexico City Policy? And is this the same thing as the “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy?

It was named the Mexico City Policy because it was announced by the Reagan Administration at the 1984 International Conference on Population and Development in Mexico City. It has nothing to do with Mexico City beyond that.

The current administration has reinstated and dramatically expanded the policy. This unprecedented version of the policy is renamed “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” and targets all global health assistance furnished by all U.S. agencies. This expanded policy applies to funding for HIV and AIDS; family planning and reproductive health; maternal and child health; malaria; tuberculosis; nutrition; non-communicable diseases; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at the household community levels and more. ~CHANGE

Do we have an obligation to provide healthcare funding overseas?

Most voters in the U.S. feel that we do. 77% percent of respondents to a recent poll feel that the United States has a moral obligation when it comes to the health of girls and women, and 66 percent strongly agree. This is a view that transcends party identification, race, and abortion stance. A majority of respondents also see lack of access to medical care for women and girls globally as a serious problem. Moreover, 59 percent of likely American voters “oppose banning U.S. global health assistance to health care organizations in other countries that provide abortions or referrals to women even if they use their own funding.” ~Change/PAI

What is the HELMS Amendment?

“Shortly after the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S., the Helms Amendment (named after the late Senator Jesse Helms) was introduced and enacted in 1973. The Amendment appended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and stipulates that, ‘No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.’ The Helms Amendment is often confused with the Global Gag Rule but they are distinct policies: Whereas the Global Gag Rule is an executive action that prohibits foreign groups from using their non-U.S. funds for abortion related activities, the Helms Amendment is a legislative rule that prohibits U.S. and non-U.S. groups from using their U.S. funds for the provision of abortion services as a method of family planning. The Global Gag Rule is a prohibition on non-U.S. funds and the Helms Amendment is a prohibition on U.S. funds.” ~CHANGE

Are or were tax payer dollars ever actually funding abortions abroad?

No, taxpayer dollars were not due to the Helms Amendment. The Amendment prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds to pay for the “performance of abortion as a method of family planning.” The policy has been broadly applied, even to situations that have nothing to do with family planning: like in the cases of rape or incest, or when a woman’s life is endangered. ~PAI

How does this relate to Title X and the abortion bans that are happening in the U.S.?

It doesn’t really other than the fact that the bans and restrictions can actually happen overseas as the First Amendment does not hold up beyond US soil; therefore healthcare professionals abroad can be silenced if their clinic needs U.S. assistance/funding. The other connection between the two is that whether it is domestic or overseas, this administration is promoting an anti-abortion agenda that does not appear to be in line with most American’s current values. If you support women having a choice when it comes to their bodies, abortion, and overall health then we must get leaders who share these values into office in 2020.

How can I help?

Call Congress today at (202) 225-3121. A switchboard operator will ask you for your name, zip code, and possibly your address too. They will connect you directly with your representative’s office. Once connected please provide your name and explain you are a constituent, and say, “I’d like to urge you to please end the Global Gag Rule and support the Global H.E.R. Act today. Thank you.” And please vote people into office who want to end the Global Gag Rule and not expand or continue it.

How many calls to Congress need to be made in order to see an impact?

“This isn’t like domestic healthcare where it would take hundreds of thousands of calls to really register. Because the people harmed are not U.S. voters, most offices have NEVER heard from a constituent for or against the Global Gag Rule. So it makes one call, or ten calls, really high impact.” ~ CHANGE

“To prevent the Global Gag Rule from serving as a political football with each administration, the U.S. Congress must [also] present the Global H.E.R. Act to a president who is a champion for women and girls and will sign the bill into law.” ~ PAI

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