Biden must take action and end global gag rule for good to ensure no president re-enacts it

The memorandum also ordered HHS to ensure that no undue restrictions are placed on women’s access to medical information or the use of federal funds. According to the announcement, HHS will now conduct a review and create a new Notice of Regulatory Proposal (NPRM) expected to be published in the Federal Register no later than April 15, 2021.

While the administration cannot rewrite Title X rule by decree, it can rewrite Mexico City politics. First enacted by Ronald Reagan in 1984, the Mexico City Politics was revised, repealed and reinstated in the following decades. When Donald Trump took office in 2017, he brought back the global gag rule as one of his many attempts to restrict access to abortion and birth control across the United States. Trump’s rule change impacted not only the United States, but foreign countries as well. He added further restrictions to include government organizations that were previously exempt from the policy.

The policy is a provision of the Title X Family planning program, a federal grant program created in 1970 to provide family planning and preventive health services to those in need. Services under the program included not only access to abortion, but also contraceptive counseling, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. transmissible.

According to the national summary of the 2016 annual family planning report, “Title X providers serve a vulnerable population, most of whom are women, low-income people and young people. In 2016, Title X-funded providers served over 4.0 million family planning users (i.e. clients) through nearly 6.7 million family planning encounters. More than 3,000 clinical sites, including public health departments and nonprofits, depended on this program to serve individuals and families before the Trump administration.


Under the Trump administration, Title X-funded healthcare providers were prohibited from referring patients for abortion care under the global gag rule. Additionally, the policy prevented Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving Title X funding. Although the rule was denounced by several medical associations and the public, it was upheld. The Trump administration even cut international aid to the United Nations Population Fund, the main provider of family planning services, in 2017, although there is no evidence that the agency ever engaged in excessive abortions. The administration threatened not only to close but to stop funding any health facility on the grounds that abortions were made accessible or even recommended.

“Across the country and around the world, people – especially women, blacks, Indigenous people and other people of color, LGBTQ + people and those with low incomes – have been denied access to health care. reproductive health ”, a declaration from the White House read when Biden took office. The Biden-Harris administration will “protect and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care” nationally and globally by immediately repealing the gag rule, according to the memo, which also covers actions to strengthen and expand the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

According to Guttmacher Institute in 2016, every $ 10 million cut in U.S. aid to international organizations meant that about 440,000 fewer people would receive contraception.

“The past four years of Trump’s global gag rule have been detrimental to reproductive health services and rights around the world,” said Melvine Ouyo, former clinic director for Family Health Options Kenya, the largest provider of health care, in a statement. for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The impacts of the policy have not only been devastating for marginalized communities, but also for healthcare providers, organizations and their partnerships, leading to clinic closures, staff layoffs, cuts to planning programs. family and generally disrupting the public health system.

While the announcement of the cancellation of the global gag rule has been welcomed by organizations and advocates around the world, more can and must be done. For years, the global gag rule was abandoned and then strengthened. Pass an act like the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act (Global HER Act) would not only make the reversal of the global gag rule permanent, but would allow better access to reproductive health by expanding access to abortion. “We have to pass the #GlobalHERAct to ensure that access to essential sexual and reproductive health services in other countries is not dictated by a US president. #EndGlobalGag, ”Guttmacher Institute tweeted.

Title X services serve not only low-income patients who are otherwise unable to access services, but also many people of color who already face disparities in the health care system. Reproductive rights are basic human rights. Each person should have the ability to determine when, how and whether or not they want to start a family. Health care should be available not only when you need it, but at an affordable cost.

Policies that prohibit or limit abortion do not reduce the number of abortions; instead, they restrict a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and increase the number of abortions and maternal health problems that arise.

Threatening and eliminating access to providers like Planned Parenthood not only impacts access to abortion, but also the health screenings and other services provided. Health care providers should not be forced to choose between funding and properly caring for their patients. We must end the global gag rule to ensure that people’s access to reproductive health is never threatened.

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