‘Gag rule’ cuts Venezuelan women’s access to health care

On International Safe Abortion Day, September 28, don't forget about the Global Gag Rule. Women fleeing the economic breakdown in Venezuela and seeking refuge in Colombia now have less access to the essential health services they need as a result of the Mexico City Policy.

This policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, was enacted by President Trump and targets overseas health organizations that rely on US global health funding. Organizations that receive US government funding for any of their activities must agree not to offer abortion-related services, including counseling women on their reproductive options or referring them to an agency that can provide these services—thus putting a "gag" on health providers. If organizations do not agree to this policy, they lose US funding, for which there are few adequate alternative sources since the US provides far more global health funding than any other donor in the world. Many of the organizations that are affected provide other critical services including contraception, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, and malnutrition care.

The people affected by this policy are those dealing with war, persecution, and collapsed health systems, like those fleeing Venezuela. The Global Gag Rule means that people in crisis who need essential health services are less likely to receive them.