The Global Gag Rule

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The Global Gag Rule, also known as the “Mexico City policy,” was first introduced by the Reagan administration in 1984. The
global gag rule denied U.S. funding to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that either "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations."

Activities forbidden were: to perform abortions in cases other than a threat to the woman’s life, rape or incest; provide counseling and referral for abortion; or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country. It was called the "gag" rule because it stifles free speech and public debate on abortion-related issues. It was heavily criticised by NGOs such as Population Action International and ProChoiceAmerica.

History - Timeline

1984: The policy was introduced carried through the end of the first Bush administration.

1993: President Clinton signed an executive order repealing the policy.

1999: Anti‐choice lawmakers forced President Clinton to reinstate the policy by linking it to the release of nearly $1 billion in U.S. back dues to the United Nations. This was the first time the global gag rule was written into law; Clinton promised that it would not be extended more than a year.

2000: The House and Senate passed a foreign‐aid bill that repealed the global gag rule but postponed the release of any funds until February 15, 2001.

January 22, 2001: On his first day as President, George W. Bush reintroduced the policy by executive memo.
January 23, 2009: President Barack Obama repealed the policy by executive order.


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