The rule prohibits development organisations receiving American development aid to inform women about the possibility of abortion, to refer them to a clinic or to collaborate with other organisations that do so. Even if abortion is legal in a country or if those activities are financed by non-American funds. Organisations that do not subscribe to the rule lose all financial support, thus the name of the rule: ‘to Gag’ or silence. The rule will hurt international NGOs such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI) and their local partners in the South.
The funding gap created by the GGR comes on top of the existing unmet need for family planning. 225 million women worldwide want to prevent or delay pregnancy but lack access to contraception.
In September 2015 the UN Member States, including the USA, committed to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Gender equality is a central goal of the 2030 Agenda, one of the targets being to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. The GGR undermines this global commitment. The ‘She Decides’ initiative and conference are an important step to change the tide and safeguard the rights of women worldwide.