Sonke applauds President Joe Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

Sonke Gender Justice welcomes reports stating that the President of the United States, Joe Biden has repealed the “Global Gag Rule” (GGR), officially known as the Mexico City Policy. 

The Global Gag Rule, reintroduced by Donald Trump in 2017 prohibited U.S. global health assistance from being provided to foreign non-governmental organizations that perform abortion in cases other than a threat to the life of the womxn, rape or incest; provide counselling for abortion even if these activities are performed with funding from other, non-U.S. government. 

This means we, like many other organisations, could not apply for funding currently on offer from the US Government to address gender based violence and HIV, despite years of building very strong evidence from many studies that our work decreases levels of gender based violence, increases people’s use of HIV services and strengthens their commitment to take local action to address GBV and HIV. 

Since its reintroduction, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unsafe abortions and high-risk pregnancies. This policy undermined significant gains made in advancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for womxn and girls. Many Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) considered this as a regression and undermining of fundamental rights for womxn. 

While we welcome President Biden’s decision, we urge the new administration to go further and permanently repeal the GGR and ensure that it cannot be reinstated in the future.