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The “Global gag rule”: Curtailing women’s reproductive rights

Ruth Macklin

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2019.015


The Global gag rule (GGR), originally known as the Mexico City Policy, is a United States policy that limits the reproductive rights of women in many resource-poor countries. In 2018, the US administration of President Donald Trump reinstated this policy, which was first issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, and later annulled by two US presidents in the intervening years. The policy prohibits any non-governmental organisation (NGO) outside the US from providing women or couples with family planning information that includes access to abortion, as a condition of receiving US funding. Although the policy is designed to reduce the rate of abortion in countries where NGOs have adopted it, studies have shown the opposite effect. The policy violates fundamental ethical principles, as well as United Nations human rights treaties and action programmes.

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