STATEMENT: Global Health Experts Blast USAID Letter to Global Health Groups Emphasizing Strict Enforcement of the Global Gag Rule and Other Abortion Restrictions in the Midst of Global Pandemic

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, November 2, 2020

CONTACT: Madison Donzis | [email protected] 

STATEMENT: Global Health Experts Blast USAID Letter to Global Health Groups Emphasizing Strict Enforcement of the Global Gag Rule and Other Abortion Restrictions in the Midst of Global Pandemic

On Friday, USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa sent a letter written by USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Alma Golden to all of USAID’s prime recipients of global health assistance “to emphasize how seriously USAID takes compliance with all statutory and policy abortion restrictions,” which apply both to “prime partners in global health and their sub-grantees and sub-contractors under grants.”

The letter included a new reporting requirement to provide “documentary evidence of your efforts to ensure the compliance of your FNGO sub-recipients with the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) Policy by November 30, 2020.”

Serra Sippel, President of CHANGE (the Center for Health & Gender Equity) issued the following statement in response:

We know that the vast majority of people around the world and in the United States oppose the Trump administration’s Global Gag Rule. For USAID to unnecessarily double down on compliance with only 30 days’ notice in the midst of our elections -- not to mention in the middle of a global pandemic -- is neo-colonial in nature and prioritizes power and control over people’s bodies as part of a brazenly anti-woman and extremist agenda that this administration has been peddling since Trump took office. 

“To add yet another burden to frontline health workers in communities who are already struggling to access the resources they need to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic is shameful and disrespectful. This intimidation tactic clearly demonstrates how this administration continues to put their own ideology and politics above people's lives. CHANGE strongly condemns this action by John Barsa and the rest of USAID.”

Last month, CHANGE released its annual report grading U.S. government agencies (The White House, Congress, USAID, State Department, HHS and DoD) on how their global health policies, investments, and programs have impacted three domains across SRHR: family planning, maternal and child health, and HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention, and care. 

VIEW THE 2019 GRADES HERE: https://srhrindex.srhrforall.org/

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