Intended for healthcare professionals


Abortion: US global gag rule is having “chilling effect” on sexual health service providers

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 16 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4886
  1. Sophie Cousins
  1. Kigali, Rwanda

Fear and confusion over the United States’ “global gag rule” on abortion has led to self censorship and over-implementation of the policy, experts on sexual and reproductive health and rights have warned.

The “global gag rule”—also known as the Mexico City Policy—prohibits foreign non-governmental organisations that receive US global health funding from providing legal abortion services or referrals and also bars advocacy for abortion law reform. The policy was reinstated and expanded by President Donald Trump when he took office.

Under previous Republican administrations the restrictions applied specifically to US family planning funds, but Trump’s expansion extended restrictions to an estimated $8.8bn (£6.84bn; €7.72bn) in US global health assistance, including funding for HIV, maternal and child …

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