The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Senate Votes to Repeal Gag Rule

On Sept. 6, the U.S. Senate voted 53 to 41 to pass an amendment to the 2008 foreign aid bill that would overturn the Mexico City Policy, a policy which denies U.S. aid to foreign non-governmental organizations that educate women about or provide for abortion as a form of family planning.

The Mexico City Policy is also called the Global Gag Rule by opponents for the way it stifles discussion of the issue in foreign nations by cutting funds to organizations that advocate abortion publicly or in the legal arena.
The amendment was introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

“The repeal of the Global Gag Rule policy is long overdue,” said Boxer in a press release. “Thousands of women have died because of this dangerous policy, and I will work as hard as I can to see that it is finally overturned.”

President Bush has already promised to veto any attempt to overturn the Mexico City Policy, according to the Associated Press.

Proponents of the policy, such as President Bush, argue that American taxpayer dollars should not be used to advocate abortion either here or abroad. Opponents of the policy criticize it for the fact that it denies funding even to organizations that use money from other sources for performing or educating about abortions.

Additionally, detractors of the policy say that it actually increases the abortion rate in some countries by denying funds to organizations that provide contraceptives and family planning services.
The Mexico City Policy was named for the city in which it was first announced by Ronald Reagan at a population conference. The policy was repealed by Bill Clinton, and then reinstated by President George W. Bush on his first day in office.

“It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad,” said Bush in the memorandum that restored the policy.
“The fact that we have withdrawn our services shows that we’re not only trying to push our idea of democracy on them, we’re taking away rights as well”, said senior Beth Tyson, who is involved in starting a Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood group on campus. “What’s even worse is we’re going behind the laws of the actual country, even if abortion is allowed and rights to health services are allowed we will still not fund them.”

In a statement released in response to President Bush’s reinstatement of the policy in 2001, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said the policy withdraws funding to organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation that “advocate for safe abortion practices in countries where tens of thousands of women suffer injuries or die from complications from unsafe abortions.”

“This policy is a critical public health concern in many of the countries that this legislation affects, where maternal mortality due to poor health services is a pressing issue,” said senior Katie Yow, the president of Gender Equality Now in an e-mail interview. “I think that the congressional decision on the global gag rule sets a promising precedent, but it’s important to understand that the likelihood of the decision getting through Bush is extremely low.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *