27 Jan 2017

URGENT: Stand against President Trump’s Global Gag Rule

President Trump has enacted a massively expanded Global Gag Rule. Now, we need you—civil society organizations around the world—to join us in standing against President Trump’s cruel Global Gag Rule. Make no mistake, this is not about abortion but a consistent tactic of the Trump-Pence administration to stifle women’s autonomy by attacking women’s health.

Please add your organization here by Friday, January 27th.

 The White House posted the text of the presidential memorandum signed by President Trump earlier in the day entitled “Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy.” Earlier press coverage and posts on social media did NOT reflect what we now know is a dramatic expansion of the scope of the restrictive policy to all “global health assistance furnished by all department or agencies”—not just family planning assistance.  I’m sharing PAI’s preliminary analysis below. The link to the presidential memorandum: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/23/presidential-memorandum-regarding-mexico-city-policy.

The presidential memorandum mandates four actions:

  • Revokes President Obama’s 2009 memorandum rescinding the Global Gag Rule (GGR) in force during the Bush administration (2001-2008);
  • Reinstates the Bush presidential memorandum of January 22, 2001 reimposing the GGR, including the Standard Provision that U.S. and foreign NGOs were required to include and certify in their grants and cooperative agreements;
  • Directs the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, “to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments and agencies;” and
  • Directs the Secretary of State to implement the so-called Kemp-Kasten restriction on coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization (ie, cutting off U.S. support to UNFPA).

By expanding the application of the GGR to all global health assistance provided across the entire U.S. government, the GGR will apply to assistance provided by USAID, the Department of State, and the Department of Health and Human Services (principally the Centers for Disease Control). Foreign NGOs receiving USG health assistance for family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS (including PEPFAR), infectious diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases, will now be required to certify that the organization does not provide abortion services, counsel or refer for abortion, or advocate for the liberalization of abortion laws with non-U.S. funds as a condition of receiving assistance from the U.S. government. U.S. NGOs will have to enforce the expanded GGR eligibility condition on its foreign NGO partners.

In monetary terms, the expansion of the coverage of the GGR means that between 14 and 16 times the amount of funding is impacted than if GGR was applied only to bilateral family planning assistance — $575 million for FP/RH versus a total of as much as $9.458 billion.

FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bills (in thousands)

Global Health (USAID & State) 8,503,450
Global Health Programs Account – USAID 2,833,450
Global Health Programs – State 5,670,000
     PEPFAR 4,320,000
     Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB & Malaria * 1,350,000
CDC Global Health 955,066

*to be determined if GGR restrictions apply

Lastly, based on the use of the term “global health assistance,” the expanded GGR should not affect health assistance provided in humanitarian settings by the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance as those activities are funded by non-global health accounts such as MRA, ERMA, and IDA.