What you need to know about abortion restrictions on U.S. global health assistance

Posted by Maria Codina on February 15, 2018 at 9:49 am

If your organization receives global health assistance (monetary and non-monetary) from the U.S. government, there may be certain types of abortion-related work that you cannot perform—and these restrictions can even limit work funded from sources other than the U.S. government.

This guide—prepared by Ipas and PAI—will help you understand the rules of the U.S. government’s “Protecting Human Life in Global Health Assistance” (also known as Trump’s Global Gag Rule). It is important to understand these rules so that your abortion work allowed under Trump’s Global Gag Rule can continue.


  • Since the 1970s, the Helms Amendment has applied to all U.S. foreign assistance. It is still in effect and says that U.S. funds cannot be used for most work on abortion.
  • By contrast, the Global Gag Rule restricts what organizations can do with their own non- U.S. funds. In the past, the Global Gag Rule only applied to organizations receiving U.S. international family planning assistance. Now, under the Trump administration, the policy applies to all global health assistance—including PEPFAR—which means that many more organizations must follow the rules related to abortion.
  • Trump’s Global Gag Rule applies to non-U.S.-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs). If you receive U.S. global health assistance, you cannot provide abortion care, counseling or referrals (in most cases) and you cannot lobby to expand the legal conditions for abortion (except in the cases of life endangerment, rape or incest) with your U.S. funding or funding from other sources. All of your organization’s work must follow these rules—even if the projects are supported by other donors.
  • Despite these restrictions, some types of abortion work are allowed. The checklists and examples on the following pages provide guidance on what is and is not allowed under Trump’s Global Gag Rule.

Read more about the “What you need to know about abortion restrictions on U.S. global health Assistance” document. 

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