Van Hollen Joins Shaheen in Bipartisan, Bicameral Push to Permanently Repeal the Global Gag Rule
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) in a bipartisan, bicameral reintroduction of the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The legislation would permanently repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) joined the introduction of the legislation in the Senate, which has 46 total cosponsors. The House companion legislation has 173 cosponsors.
The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, is an executive order that bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that use non-U.S. funds to provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. This forces clinics to choose between providing limited reproductive health services while accepting U.S. foreign aid or providing inclusive family planning and reproductive health care with a limited budget. The ill-conceived policy was rescinded by the Obama administration, only to be reinstated and expanded under the Trump administration. President Trump expanded the policy numerous times during his term in office to unprecedented levels. Yesterday, President Biden rescinded the policy.
The Global HER Act would:
- Ensure that eligible foreign NGOs can continue to operate U.S.-supported health programs abroad, particularly those that provide legal health services to women -- including counseling, referral, and legal abortion services -- with their own, non-U.S. funds;
- Guarantee that foreign NGOs will not be forced to sacrifice their right to free speech in order to participate in U.S.-supported programs abroad; and
- Help expand access to health programs for women around the world to improve health and development outcomes for entire families, communities and developing countries.
The Global HER Act is cosponsored by Senators Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK), Menendez (D-NJ), Baldwin (D-WI), Bennet (D-CO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Brown (D-OH), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Coons (D-DE), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Duckworth (D-IL), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Gillibrand (D-NY), Hassan (D-NH), Hirono (D-HI), Kaine (D-VA), Kelly (D-AZ), King (I-ME), Klobuchar (D-MN), Leahy (D-VT), Markey (D-MA), Merkley (D-OR), Murphy (D-CT), Murray (D-WA), Ossoff (D-GA), Peters (D-MI), Reed (D-RI), Rosen (D-NV), Sanders (I-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Sinema (D-AZ), Smith (D-MN), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Warner (D-VA), Warnock (D-GA), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Wyden (D-OR).
The Global HER Act is endorsed by 132 organizations representing global health, women’s reproductive rights, women’s equality, civil rights and other relevant advocacy constituencies. The full list is available here.
Text of the Global HER Act can be read here.
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