MSF medical staff speak out on the end of the Global Gag Rule

Democratic Republic of Congo 2020 © Davide Scalenghe/MSF

The Mexico City policy, better known as the Global Gag Rulewas rescinded by President Biden on January 28. This ends four years of the policy that prevented US government funds from reaching any foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that even speak about abortion to their patients.

Since the US is by far the biggest funder of global public health programs, many countries rely on US aid to support health care services, and US policies like the gag rule have an impact around the world. In fact, the gag rule, which has been implemented by every Republican president—then rescinded by every Democrat—since Ronald Reagan, has never been shown to reduce the number of abortions. By withholding health information from women, it only drives them to unsafe abortion methods.

That the policy is over—for now—is great news, but much will need to be done to mitigate the damage it has caused.