Shaheen, Collins Lead Group To Introduce HER Act to Repeal Global Gag Rule

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U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH

**One day after President Trump reinstates the harmful executive order, 43 Senators introduce legislation that supports women’s reproductive rights and international family planning programs**

**SHAHEEN: “The Global HER Act would ensure that clinics don’t have to choose between providing comprehensive family planning services to a smaller group of women on a limited budget or providing limited reproductive health services with U.S. funds”**

(Washington, DC) — One day after President Trump issued an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently repeal the harmful policy.

The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services, forcing 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 executive order issued yesterday expanded the policy from the Bush Administration to apply to every program that falls under global health assistance at the Department of State, USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“President Trump’s executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule is extremely short-sighted and shows his willingness to ignore decades of research in favor of ideological politics,” Shaheen said.

“I am proud to have bipartisan support for my legislation to repeal the Global Gag Rule for good. We know that the way to decrease unplanned pregnancies and abortions is to make birth control and family planning services accessible and affordable, not micromanage the type of medical information and reproductive health counseling that women around the world receive.

“Many clinics rely on U.S.-supported global health and family planning programs so they can provide critical health care such as contraceptive services, HIV treatment, and Zika prevention, to women in their communities. The Global HER Act would ensure that clinics don’t have to choose between providing comprehensive family planning services to a smaller group of women on a limited budget or providing limited reproductive health services with U.S. funds.”

The Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, led by Sens. Shaheen and Susan Collins (R-ME), 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;
  • 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 co-sponsored by: Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), 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), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). A companion bill was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY 17).

Shaheen has been a leader in the Senate on family planning issues and on international family planning in particular. This month, Shaheen addressed the issue with President Trump’s cabinet nominees Rex Tillerson and Nikki Haley in their respective confirmation hearings.

 

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