United States funds represent a significant proportion of the budgets of many international nongovernmental organizations that provide essential health care to women in the developing nations. In many rural areas, these organizations are the only source of gynecological health care available. In 1984, the Reagan Administration placed restrictions on these funds, prohibiting overseas international family planning groups and programs from receiving US funds if, with their own funds, they performed or counseled abortion—except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
The global gag rule effectively censors certain international organizations, regardless of the legality of abortion in the countries they work in, and affects only pro-choice groups. These groups are prevented not only from providing abortion services and counseling but from lobbying their own governments to liberalize abortion laws, regardless of their nation’s laws on free speech. Such restrictions would be unconstitutional in the United States, and apply to US-based organizations overseas. Anti-choice organizations and programs are unaffected, and can work to make abortion laws more restrictive while still receiving United States funding.
While the Republican Party and President George W. Bush implied that the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, prevented US funds from being used for overseas abortions, a pre-existing policy already prohibits direct US funding for international abortion services. The Helms Amendment, named for anti-choice Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), passed in 1973, and is the policy that prohibits the use of US funds directly for abortion services. The Mexico City Policy, by contrast, prohibits a much wider range of services, including lobbying and abortion counseling, that are funded not directly by US dollars but with private monies.
From the moment Bush announced the reinstatement of the global gag rule, feminist and progressive organizations expressed their outrage. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Director Laura W. Murphy stated, "It is unfortunate that the House has allowed President Bush to export an undemocratic policy he would be prohibited from imposing within the borders of the United States." Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) echoed those sentiments: "It’s not about abortion. It’s about us imposing on others laws we wouldn’t impose on ourselves."
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .