by Janine Kossen, Director, Public Policy
Every July 11th, we observe World Population Day, a time to call attention to the essential part that reproductive health plays in creating a just and equitable world. To commemorate this momentous occasion in 2012, world leaders will meet in London on Wednesday to call for unprecedented international political commitment and resources to provide an additional 120 million women in the world's poorest countries with lifesaving contraceptives, information, and services by 2020.
We can support these efforts by calling on our own elected officials to support the end of the Global Gag Rule.
The London Family Planning Summit has the potential to achieve transformational, life changing results which will reduce the number of newborn deaths, improve the health of women and girls, and ultimately lead to healthier and more prosperous nations.
While most of us will not have the opportunity to participate directly in the Summit, everyone has a role to play and something to contribute to the global movement for universal access to reproductive health services. As young people and adult allies, we can commit to ensuring that all women, men, and young people receive quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services, unfettered by ideology and political whims.
Ask your Members of Congress to support a permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule!
Use this opportunity to ask your Members of Congress to support a permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule, a harmful ideological policy that denies women and young people life-saving information and services. Officially known as the Mexico City Policy, the Global Gag Rule prohibits foreign non-governmental organizations from receiving critical international family planning funds if they provide, counsel, refer, or otherwise advocate for abortion services with their own, non-U.S. funding. When in effect, the policy disqualifies some of the most effective and experienced providers of reproductive health care, often dismantling the only health services available in a community.
Fortunately, there is something we can do about that. The Global Democracy Promotion Act (GDPA) (H.R. 2639/S. 1585) would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule and ensure that U.S.-funded organizations can continue to deliver life-saving information and services that meet the needs of women and young people around the world. The GDPA will ensure that women in developing countries have greater access to contraceptives, fewer unintended pregnancies, and reduced risk of dying from complications following unsafe abortion.
Contact your Senators and Representative today and ask that they cosponsor the Global Democracy Promotion Act, or thank them if they already have!
The United States has been a global leader in promoting the health and rights of women and young people for more than 40 years. Restrictions on family planning in developing countries have jeopardized the world's most critically underserved populations for far too long. We need your help to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule once and for all!
P.S. Check out the annual World Population Day Blogathon to read what young people all over the world have to say about their perspectives and recommendations for ensuring universal access to reproductive health services.