The Global Gag Rule: Undermining National Interests by Doing unto Foreign Women and NGOs What Cannot Be Done at Home
Cornell International Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 587, 2007
46 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2007
The Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR), is an executive-based foreign assistance policy that constrains USAID financial aid for family planning programs in developing countries. It has had enormous unconscionable impact on the lives of individuals and to the operations of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The policy has compromised women's health and welfare, jeopardized children's well-being, and adversely affected victims of HIV/AIDS. It unjustly has denied women's rights to self-determination and dignity with respect to reproductive matters. The GGR also has caused NGOs to curtail programs vital to maintaining health clinics and essential to delivery of critical healthcare services. It financially has threatened the existence of some foreign NGOs, has caused the demise of others, and has precluded alliances of NGOs essential for solving public health crises. The GGR has chilled the speech and stifled expressive associations of foreign NGOs, which likely would be constitutionally impermissible with respect to domestic NGOs. The many problematic consequences of the policy have been contrary to U.S. national interests in advancing the spread and stability of political democracies, free markets, and in enhancing the health, education and economic well-being of populations in developing countries. And, as a foreign assistance policy not true to the best U.S. traditions adopted from Judeo-Christian precepts, the GGR has tainted the image of the U.S. as a model democracy. Its real, but objectionable, contribution has been only to the self-interests of several U.S. presidents. So, now the Senate and House of Representatives, with their recently installed Democratic majorities, should enact legislation to reject the GGR.
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