The Gag Rule

Trump’s Gag Rule 

What is a gag rule?

 A gag rule is a rule that forbids the raising, consideration, mention, or a discussion of a particular topic specified in the rule by members of a legislative body. Instances of this can be found in Malaysia, where a gag rule prohibits members of the Senate from questioning Bahasa Melayu as the national language or raising issue with the special privilege granted to the Bumiputra (Malay Muslim majority). In the past, the gag rule had been used in the US Congress to prohibit discussion of the abolition of slavery.

 What is THIS gag rule?

This particular Gag Rule, also called the Global Gag Rule or the Mexico City Policy, is part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to restrict the right to reproductive health services and access to birth control. In addition to preventing hundreds of millions of dollars from going to clinics and groups (like Planned Parenthood) that provide abortions, the Gag Rule also prohibits professionals working at those clinics from mentioning the option of abortion for an unwanted pregnancy or to refer patients to clinics that do provide abortion services. Instead, the new Title X legislation requires all patients at these clinics and groups to be referred to social services, which provide information about adoption services or foster care. Simply put, this Gag Rule prohibits medical practitioners from supporting abortion as an option for family planning. It is important to note, that these clinics, which receive federal funding are not able to allocate this money to fund abortion services. Instead, the funding is allocated for other health services, including birth control and sexual education.

 Where will this impact be seen?

This policy applies to all clinics, organizations, and networks that receive Title X funding in all 50 states. These clinics will either be forced to move abortion services elsewhere or shut them down completely.

Who does this impact?  

In addition to impacting the organizations and health clinics, the most well known being Planned Parenthood, this policy will greatly impact the patients who frequent these clinics, often those of lower socioeconomic status, immigrants, and people of color. At this point, about 4 million women a year use the clinics that receive Title X funding.

What can be done?  

It is expected there will be a court challenge to the proposed final rule of Title X. In the meantime, you can help by signing this petition to Congress, calling on them to end the Global Gag Rule and also calling your legislators and encouraging them to support the HER act.