February 03, 2021

Duckworth, Durbin Join Shaheen, Schakowsky in Bipartisan, Bicameral Push to Permanently Repeal Global Gag Rule


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and 44 of their Senate colleagues in reintroducing the bipartisan, bicameral Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act to permanently repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“Not only does the Global Gag Rule prevent healthcare providers from providing patients with all of their family planning options, it also jeopardizes the health and well-being of millions of women around the world,” Duckworth said. “I’m glad President Biden took the important step of rescinding it but now we must prevent it from being reinstated in the future. That is one of the reasons I’m proud to help introduce the Global HER Act to end this policy for good.”

“The Global HER Act would allow women in the most vulnerable communities across the globe to have free and fair access to the health services of their choosing without it being contingent on the person occupying the White House,” Durbin said. “I am proud to support this legislation to permanently repeal the Global Gag rule and provide women around the world with autonomy over their health.”

“I want to applaud President Biden for taking the important step of issuing an Executive Order to repeal the Global Gag rule, saving lives and protecting the health of women around the world,” Schakowsky said. “Access to comprehensive reproductive health services and information will not only reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, but also prevent injuries and death that result from unsafe abortions. Once again, the United States, the single largest funder of global health, is stepping up to prevent negative maternal health outcomes. I am proud to co-lead the Global HER Act to permanently repeal this harmful policy and ensure that future Administrations don’t bring it back.”

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 healthcare 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. Last week, 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.  

Along with Duckworth, Durbin and Shaheen, the Global HER Act is cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron 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