State Department’s “review” of the Global Gag Rule is a sham, will harm young people

Late Wednesday evening, the Trump administration released its six-month review of the expanded Global Gag Rule which, to the surprise of no one, was a complete and utter sham.

While the review should have focused on compliance, implementation, and issues that may affect access to clinical services of those who reject or accept U.S. funding, it instead lacked important data, included ideological, right-wing rhetoric on access to family planning and international reproductive health, and missed the opportunity for a comprehensive overview of how the Global Gag Rule affect young peoples’ access to clinical care.

Advocates for Youth believes that the State Department’s review was not conducted in a meaningful period to adequately assess the impact or elicit thorough feedback from implementing and civil society organizations. Because of the lack of sufficient timing, the Global Gag Rule will continue to harm young people seeking access to abortion services, even in countries where it is legal to do so. The six-month review period from May – November 2017 does not provide a complete picture of the Global Gag Rule and its potential to harm all people, especially young women.


Ongoing review of the Global Gag Rule is necessary to ensure a comprehensive, consultative, action-oriented, and transparent process. To that end, it is critical that the State Department monitor the Global Gag Rule’s impact annually to understand the full effects of the policy and how it impacts young people globally. The State Department indicated that they will conduct an additional review of the Global Gag Rule implementation by December 15, 2018 but does not commit to any reviews thereafter. The State Department also has not yet made stakeholder comments on the implementation policy public, and so it is impossible to determine what is within the written comments.

This is a sham..

Advocates for Youth believes even if there was a sufficient timing to properly monitor the impact of the Global Gag Rule that it is a harmful policy, and should be permanently repealed. The expansion of the Trump’s Global Gag Rule threatens to exclude some of the most effective health organizations which will harm marginalized peoples’ rights in low-and middle-income countries. The policy will have devastating consequences on the health of all people, particularly young women and LGBTQ people. Instead of “protecting life,” the Global Gag Rule will certainly ensure more deaths will occur for people who already lack access to quality, affordable healthcare.

It is disappointing that the State Department is playing politics while young people attempt receivesimply need access to life-saving care, which includes including the right to obtain an abortion services. From the six-month results, it is clear that the Trump administration did not take sufficient time to review the effects of the Global Gag Rule, making it a life or death issue for young women, LGBTQ people, and other marginalized communities who are in need of care.

This entire process has been a sham and proves to be yet another example of the Trump administration’s relentless actions against the health and well-being of young people, both home and abroad.