When a Global Gag Rule’s not Enough, Bring it on Home
If you’re not familiar with the “Global Gag Rule” (or “Mexico City Policy”), it’s a rule that the U.S. will not provide any family planning funds to organizations that (use their own money to) provide abortions, make referrals for abortion, or lobby to make abortion legal in their own country – see globalgagrule.org and this section from the International Women’s Health Coalition for further background.
Now, “nearly 80 conservative groups” have signed on to a letter asking Bush to revise a “Domestic Family Planning Gag Rule,” which would essentially create Global Gag Rule for the United States, preventing organizations that provide family planning services (such as Planned Parenthood) from receiving Title X funds if they also provide abortions or abortion referrals.
As explained in The Hill: “Former President Ronald Reagan first issued regulations more than 20 years ago that prohibited family planning organizations from providing advice to help women obtain abortions. The Reagan-era regulations were upheld by the Supreme Court, but were then rescinded soon after former President Bill Clinton took office in 1993.”
“Conservative leaders say they are perplexed why Bush has not reversed Clinton’s decision during more than eight years in office.They say that Bush could re-implement the regulations though a simple order that would go into effect after a brief public comment period.”
The National Abortion Federation notes that under the old policy governing Title X family planning funds, “These revised regulations implemented the ‘gag rule’ which prohibited the discussion of abortion as a family planning option. Although never actually enforced nationwide, the ‘gag rule’ also prohibited referrals to abortion providers and required a physical and financial separation of abortion-related activities from Title X activities.”
The “conservative groups” are also trying to drum up support for the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (HR 4133), which would “amend title X of the Public Health Service Act to prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions.”
[Hat tip to the National Partnership for Women & Families]