Perhaps you remember the infamous Global Gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, wherein any non-government organization (NGO) doing international work and receiving federal funding could not give access or information about abortion as a form of family planning. As a policy, it is draconian, and in many ways makes us the laughing stock of the international human rights community. Presidents have gone back and forth over it along party lines, starting with Reagan, struck down by Clinton, reinstated by G-dubs and then overturned by executive order by Obama in 2009. This was one of the best moves Obama made in his first few weeks in office to support access to abortion.
Today, according to twitter by way of the Foreign Relations Committee live feed, the House Foreign Relations Committee failed to strike down the first draft of the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act, which includes reinstating the Global Gag law (among a slue of other things).
The panel backed a provision banning U.S. taxpayer money, usually Agency for International Development funds, from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide abortion information, counseling or referrals. Exceptions are for rape, incest or if the life of the mother is in danger.
The committee turned back an effort by the top Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman of California, to strike the abortion provision. The vote was 25-17.
Berman complained that the policy “prevents poor women and families around the world from gaining access to essential information and health care services.” He added that the provision bars all assistance, including funds for HIV and AIDS, child survival, education and water and sanitation.
Berman is right, but this is just another zany right wing attempt at ruining women’s lives. Luckily, it will most likely not make it through the Senate.