Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2011  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Reintroduces Bill to Permanently Repeal Global Gag Rule  

Legislation Would Prevent Policy From Being Reinstated By Executive Order

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and 15 other colleagues last night reintroduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule.  

Abolishing the Global Gag Rule, also known as the “Mexico City Policy,” would ensure that foreign nongovernmental organizations that use their own funds to provide comprehensive reproductive health information and services that are legal in the countries in which they operate – and legal in the United States – remain eligible to receive U.S. assistance.  

Senator Boxer said, “If the Global Gag Rule were applied in the United States, it would violate the First Amendment because it restricts what organizations can do or say with their own funds. Ending this undemocratic policy is long overdue.”  

Senator Lautenberg plans to offer the language to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule as an amendment to the FY2012 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill during Wednesday’s mark up, as he has done for each of the past three years.  

Senator Lautenberg said, “This legislation would permanently end the global gag rule and protect access to family planning services for women around the world. Ideological agendas should not prevent doctors from offering full and comprehensive reproductive health care to their patients. I am pleased to support this bill and will continue fighting to pursue the permanent repeal of this damaging policy through all legislative means available, including appropriations.”

Senator Boxer has long championed overturning this undemocratic policy and applauded President Obama’s Executive Order in January 2009 lifting the Global Gag Rule. The Global Democracy Promotion Act would amend the Foreign Assistance Act to make this change permanent, ensuring that the Gag Rule can no longer be imposed by Executive Order.  

In addition to Senators Boxer and Lautenberg, original cosponsors of the bill are Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).