Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to bring back the Global Gag Rule. But supporters of family planning have stood strong. Last night, Congresswoman Nita Lowey introduced the Global Democracy and Promotion Act of 2011 (H.R. 2639) in the US House of Representatives. This bill would ensure that the US cannot impose standards on foreign organizations that would be considered unconstitutional here. It would also ensure that some of our most effective partners in developing countries are not banned from receiving US foreign assistance simply because they choose to provide legal, health services in their own countries, with their own funding.
More than 100 Representatives have already co-sponsored this important bill, which would prohibit a reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule. These members are refusing to take attacks on women’s health, as well as free speech, sitting down. Act now to thank your Representative for their support or ask your Representative to stand up and co-sponsor the Global Democracy Promotion Act today.
Dear [Decision Maker],
As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to defend the health and rights of women throughout the world by cosponsoring the Global Democracy Promotion Act. H.R. 2639 would ensure that foreign non-governmental organizations would not be barred from receiving US foreign assistance based on the types of health services, counseling, or referrals they offer. Under the Global Democracy Promotion Act, the US would not be able to impose restrictions on foreign organizations that would be unconstitutional if applied to US organizations. The Act upholds the principle that US foreign assistance should promote democracy, beginning with the way we implement programs overseas.
The Global Democracy and Promotion Act would also essentially prevent the future re-imposition of the Global Gag Rule. This harmful policy requires overseas organizations receiving family planning funding to to give up their right to use their own money to provide information, referrals, or services related to abortion that are safe and legal in their own countries. The gag rule undermines the impact of international family planning programs by disqualifying some of the most effective and experienced providers of reproductive health care, often dismantling the only health services available in a community. When the policy was in effect, its negative impact was felt around the world: clinics closed, outreach efforts were eliminated, and many women had no access to contraceptives. The gag rule inflicted lasting harm on women and their families, and we must ensure that it is not reinstated in the future.
The United States has long been a global leader in promoting women's health. I appreciate you standing strong for women's health and rights. If you have already signed on to cosponsor H.R. 2639, thank you. If you have not, I hope you will consider supporting it today so that the United States continues to be a champion for women's health and democracy worldwide.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]