When Antiabortion Ideology Turns into Foreign Policy: How the Global Gag Rule Erodes Health, Ethics and Democracy

Posted by Kimberley Meijers on July 5, 2017 at 1:25 pm

The Guttmacher Institute’s latest analysis of the global gag rule, which was expanded and now affects all U.S. global health assistance.


  • The Trump administration reimposed and expanded the global gag rule to block U.S. global health assistance to all foreign nongovernmental organizations that use their own funding to engage in abortion-related services or advocacy.
  • This ideologically driven policy undermines the very goals of U.S. foreign aid programs by harming the health of people in poor countries, violating medical ethics and trampling on democratic values.

The global gag rule threatens the provision of health services in developing countries. Whether intended or not, the architects of the Trump global gag rule have created a policy that will disrupt and reverse the United States’ long-held development goal of improving health worldwide. The vast global health portfolio, supported by billions of dollars of U.S. funding, covers health-related activities in about 60 low- and middle-income countries, including programs on HIV/AIDS, Zika, maternal and child health, malaria, nutrition and others.4 International development and health experts have sounded the alarm that these programs will suffer in the future as have reproductive health programs in the past under these ideologically motivated prohibitions.

The article provides a number of helpful talking points—and graphics.