On his first full day in office, the US President signed an executive order reimposing and expanding the “Global Gag Rule”, a policy that has been in place under many Republican White Houses. The rule strips over USD $600 million in funding for women’s health programs around the world.
The US Administration says the gag rule prohibits US government funding of organizations that provide access to, or information about, abortions. Yet, many of these organizations also provide access to contraceptives, maternal health services, cervical cancer screenings, routine vaccinations and HIV/AIDS prevention. This will by extension cut funds to a broad range of women’s health services.
And yet, almost 225 million women have no access to contraceptives, and every day, over 800 women and girls die of pregnancy complications. If this unmet need were addressed:
- Maternal deaths would drop by 67%;
- Newborn deaths would drop by 77%;
- And the lives of nearly 2.5 million mothers and babies would be saved.
In response to the “Global Gag Rule”, the Netherlands launched She Decides, a global initiative calling on governments, businesses and private citizens to fill the USD $600 million gap to protect women’s health.
And in just two weeks’ time, the Belgian Government will host a pledging conference inviting countries like Canada, Finland and Portugal to commit much-needed funds to fill this funding gap. As Global Citizens, we must come together to defend women’s health and call on world leaders to do their fair share.
Sign the petition so that world leaders step up to fund women’s health.