Pro-lifers don’t want their hard-earned money funding abortions. And many of them generally don’t want their hard-earned money going overseas to begin with. So they definitely don’t want their hard-earned money going overseas to fund abortions.
The Global Gag Rule was originally implemented by President Reagan via executive order. It was then rescinded by President Clinton. Then reinstated by President Bush. Then rescinded again by President Obama. Now, Democrats are again trying to get the Global Gag Rule overturned for good via Congressional action. This past July, my Congresswoman, Nita Lowey (NY-18), introduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which would do just that. Late last night, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) reintroduced its Senate companion bill.
I understand that pro-lifers don’t want their money going to fund something they don’t support. But even in this democracy, my government funds plenty of things I don’t like, don’t support, and don’t agree with. For example: the death penalty. There are too many cracks, too much discrimination, too much room for – and history of – failure in the system. But I’m not going to hold the entire state budget of Georgia hostage, and say it can’t have any of my hard-earned money to fund schools or fight crime, just because it uses other money to kill people. And yet, since they’ve returned from August recess, Republicans have been trying to attach the Global Gag Rule to all manner of legislation, which would effectively do just that – hold foreign aid hostage unless we sacrifice the lives of millions of women and girls around the world who desperately need these services.
So we know the Global Gag Rule prevents U.S. money from funding abortions overseas. Let’s see what else it prevents:
1. U.S. money from going to health clinics that use other money to perform abortions. So if a private organization gives money to a clinic to provide a life-saving abortion, the clinic can’t receive any U.S. money for, say, medication or blankets.
2. U.S. money from going to health clinics that talk – yes talk – about abortion. So if one clinic can’t perform an abortion but another clinic nearby can, that first clinic is not allowed to direct the woman there, or even mention that another clinic provides that service, if it wants to continue to receive U.S. money for anything else.
3. U.S. money from going to health clinics that advocate for changes to the abortion laws in their own countries.
For all our support of the 1st amendment and the values and ideals behind it, pro-lifers apparently only support freedom of expression in the US. If you live abroad and your health clinic advocates for legal changes to the abortion laws in your country, you will not receive U.S. money. For anything. Not for bandages. Not for painkillers.
The sad truth as well is that the Global Gag Rule is not the only U.S. policy with a legacy of harming pregnant women abroad. President Obama did not repeal a policy directive that denies abortion access to victims of rape. In a time when rape is being used indiscriminately as a weapon of war, when hundreds of thousands of women are raped each year, and thousands of children of rape victims are born each year, and thousands of rape victims themselves die in childbirth each year . . . the U.S. will not lift a finger to help those victims attain the life-saving health care they need.
The Global Gag Rule has been repealed – for now. And the U.S. is still denying life-saving abortion services to victims of war-time rape. But now is the time to take action. Congresswoman Lowey, Senator Boxer, and hundreds of others in Congress have been fighting this fight for years. Now is the time to finally move past these archaic policies and stand up for women’s health care both in the U.S. and abroad. It’s time to legislatively kill the Global Gag Rule once and for all and to ensure rape victims can have access to life-saving medical procedures.