One of the best ways we can support women throughout the world is by pushing congress to pass the HER Act.
As one of his first acts as president, Trump reinstated and expanded a policy, also known as the Mexico City Policy, to block US federal funding for non-governmental organizations providing health care of all kinds, anywhere in the world, if they so much as mention abortion. This ban, which was first implemented under the Reagan administration, has been enforced by Republican presidents, and repealed under Democratic administrations.
Under the Trump administration, even NGOs that would like to use their own funds to pay for abortion care and information, while using US grants to support family planning programs that have nothing to do with abortion, are barred from receiving US aid, from any US department or agency, for any health program. Ironically, the GGR has been shown to increase abortion rates-especially of unsafe ones- in countries that depend heavily on NGOs to provide much-needed health care. A 2011 study found that there was an increase in abortion rates in sub-Saharan Africa (which includes our countries of focus) under the George W. Bush administration's version of the GGR.
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, with fellow Oregon senator Jeff Merkley, have co-sponsored S. 210, to undo these harmful restrictions. Senator Wyden says, "Sen. Jeff Merkley and I have co-sponsored a bill to protect funding for health care providers around the world and repeal the Global Gag Rule once and for all. Charitable organizations shouldn’t have to choose between caring for their patients and accepting aid from the United States."
There are identical bills in the House and Senate. Find out if your congresspeople have co-sponsored S. 210 or H.R. 671 yet. If not, please call or email them. If they have, you can call the Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congressman Ed Royce or Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Bob Corker. Here is a suggested message.
I'm writing to ask you to please co-sponsor S. 210 (or H.R. 671), the Health, Empowerment and Rights Act, without concern for party lines, but only concern for the lives it will save. As you know, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (also known as Mexico City Policy or Global Gag Order) has been reinstated and expanded by President Trump. Although the purpose of the Act is for the US to not fund abortions, it will have devastating repercussions, particularly for women and children around the globe. Organizations that provide all types of health care such as HIV drugs, Zika virus treatment, cancer screenings, vaccination campaigns, etc., are losing their funding. There will be more unplanned births, more deaths from diseases, and ironically, more abortions -- particularly dangerous ones.
Charitable organizations should not have to choose between caring for their patients and accepting aid from the US. I believe that S. 210 will remedy this dangerous situation by protecting funding for healthcare providers around the world. Please co-sponsor S. 210.
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