In Response to Global Gag Rule, Britain Pledges Money for Safe Abortion Services
The British government has announced that it will give three million pounds to the International Planned Parenthood Federation's new Global Safe Abortion Programme in response to the Bush Administration’s Global Gag Rule policy. The gag rule currently in place bars family planning programs in countries that receive US federal aid from using separate, private monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and referrals. According to Reuters, the British government is hoping to encourage other countries to join them in defying the Bush Administration, whose policy has forced many clinics, such as those operated by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International, to close or curtail their services.
IPPF released a report called “Death and Denial: Unsafe Abortions and Poverty,” which has gained support from Britain’s Department for International Development. The report outlines how 19 million women will have unsafe abortions each year, causing the death of 70,000 women, 96 percent of whom live in the poorest countries. These deaths make up 13 percent of the 500,000 maternity- and pregnancy-related deaths of women every year. The Director General of IPPF, Steven Sinding, stated, “We are deeply grateful for this gesture – not only financially but politically. What I have never been able to figure out about American policy is why they persist in cutting down funding to organizations that are about preventing unwanted pregnancies,” reports BBC.
The Reagan Administration first imposed the Global Gag Rule in 1984. Though President Clinton rescinded the policy for the eight years of his presidency, President Bush issued an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule during his first official day in office in January 2001.