The International Planned Parenthood Federation, Africa Regional Office warmly welcomes the decision made by the US Government to repeal the Mexico City Policy, dubbed the Global Gag Rule (GGR).
Signed into order in January 2017 by the Trump Administration, this policy blocked critical US funding from organisations like IPPF that work to end unsafe abortions globally, even if the funds were not used for abortion services directly.
With previous Republican Administrations, the GGR was limited to Family Planning assistance from the Department of State and USAID. However, the Trump administration further expanded the scope of this policy to include global health assistance from the State Department, USAID, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense. IPPF refused to sign the order, losing about $100 million in funding as a result.
The consequences were devastating for women and girls on the continent. In Burkina Faso for example, Our Member Association, ABBEF, lost over 1 million dollars in funding, leaving communities that relied on ABBEF clinics for healthcare without quality and affordable sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) care. Too many stories of loss and death have emerged, with a recent study by Guttmacher revealing that the policy has had a deadly impact on women and girls’ health, clinical providers, community health workers and critical public health partners around the world.
Our committed donors however stepped up to fill some of these funding gaps through emergency GGR funding. We are grateful to the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Hewlett Foundation.
IPPFARO’s Regional Director, Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry commented:
“Globally the direct consequences of this policy on the health and lives of women and girls in Africa have been devastating. Today I join the SRHR community to welcome this decision. I look forward to working with the new US Administration to restore access to critical lifesaving services, and reverse some of the damage caused so far by this harmful policy. It is high time to work together to ensure that sexual and reproductive rights and as well as reproductive justice of women and girls become a priority and are upheld by for all.”
Today, we look forward to this new reality with enthusiasm and hope, for a world where critical funding for services like contraception, maternal health, HIV prevention and treatment are a continued reality, and not at the mercy of one policy or administration.