Global Gag Rule

First announced in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, the Global Gag Rule (also known as the "Mexico City Policy") stipulates that non U.S. nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. family planning funding cannot inform the public or educate their government on the need to make safe abortion available, provide legal abortion services, or provide advice on where to get an abortion. The policy allows for exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment.

Documentation and analysis of the impact of the Global Gag Rule has shown that the policy restricts a basic right to speech and the right to make informed health decisions, as well as harms the health and lives of poor women by making it more difficult to access family planning services. It has also been found that the policy does not reduce abortion.

Impact of Global Gag Rule on Women's Health and Rights

Under the GGR, foreign NGOs are forced to choose between one of two options:

  1. Accept U.S. family planning funds and be prohibited from providing abortion counseling, referrals, or even advocacy efforts and from providing abortions outside of the three exceptions. 
  2. Refuse U.S. family planning funds and attempt to secure alternative sources of funding in order to keep health clinics open, continue providing a range of sexual and reproductive health services to clients, and continue advocating for law reforms to reduce unsafe abortion.

Learn more about the Global Gag Rule.