Last week, President Biden lifted the “Gag Rule” which prevented US aid to NGOs worldwide if they advocated for, recommended, mentioned or even hinted at abortion.

As you may surmise, this is very important and will help, not only our sisters all over the world, but women at home as well. This “Gag Rule” has historically been bounced around as an executive order since President Reagan in 1984, and makes it a fragile Presidential whim, subject to changing political winds. Fortunately, Senator Sheehan, (D) New Hampshire, has reintroduced legislation called the Global Health Empowerment and Rights Act (“HER”), that was first brought forward in 2017. Democrat Representatives Barbara Lee, Ami Bera (CA), and Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) have introduced the same bill in the House. The HER Act would codify in United States law, the right for NGO’s abroad to use their own funds to recommend and support abortion and post abortion services. Furthermore, because of the Act’s  broad application, it will stymy future Presidents who try to condition USAID on silence.

Make no mistake, this is not the major game changer that we are fighting for, but it is a step in the right direction. We now need to abolish the Hyde Amendment which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape, and our team will continue to develop more initiatives to fight for our rights.

For more details, see the editorial published by Sarah Wildman in the International New York Times on February 1, 2021: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/31/opinion/women-health-abortion-her-act.html

Join our GWC Reproductive Justice Team to help us fight for more, now. Contact Salli Swartz at [email protected]

In Solidarity,

Salli Swartz