House Bill Would Slash Foreign Family Planning, Reimpose Gag Rule
The House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee voted to cut IFP funding by $154 million for FY2010 and expand the Global Gag Rule, banning funding for family planning programs in developing countries that counsel or provide information to women or advocate on a full range of options, including abortion. The ban would be an expansion of the policy, eliminating all funding for family planning programs that discuss abortion without making any exceptions for certain programs such as funds for HIV/AIDS.
The Global Gag Rule Rule "muzzles doctors and nurses throughout the world," argued Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY). "In real world terms, that means an expectant mother who has walked six hours while bleeding to reach the only health clinic in the region may not get the life-saving care she needs - or even a referral," she added.
President Ronald Reagan implemented the Global Gag Rule through an executive order; President Clinton rescinded the executive order; President George W. Bush reinstated the executive order; and President Obama rescinded it.
The bill, which faces an uncertain future in the Democrat-controlled Senate, would slash international family planning by 25 percent. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the 25 percent cut would result in some 3 million more unintended pregnancies, 1.3 million more abortions - mostly unsafe - and 7,700 more maternal deaths.
Media Resources: Washington Post, July 27, 2011; Foreign Policy, July 21, 2011; Population Institute, July 28, 2011