Impact of the Global Gag Rule on Women’s Health


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The Global Gag Rule (GGR) is a U.S. foreign policy that – when enacted – prohibits foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. family planning funds from advocating for abortion or providing abortion as a method of family planning.

It does not prohibit activities around abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. However, it is unclear as to whether or not services are actually provided under the three exceptions.

The GGR – also known as the “Mexico City Policy” – serves as a barrier to a wide range of health services for women and girls globally.  It has:

  • Prevented women and girls from accessing contraception and safe abortion consistent with the laws in their countries
  • Been associated with increased abortion rates
  • Hampered HIV prevention efforts
  • Contributed to the closing of health clinics
  • Obstructed rural communities access to health care
  • The potential to negatively affect the speed and effectiveness of humanitarian aid.

This Policy brief from CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equality) outlines in more detail the global impact of the GGR on women’s health.

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