Today Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a member of the House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee, criticized President George W. Bush’s announcement that he would impose the oppressive "global gag rule" on foreign non-governmental organizations that provide international family planning services to poor women around the world.
"Today, the Bush Administration announced its intention to reject the bipartisan compromise to provide funding for international family planning. In doing so, President Bush will punish the poorest women in the world to satisfy an extreme right-wing constituency. I hope that President Bush will reconsider this ill-advised action which will have a chilling impact on international family planning" Pelosi said.
"A spokesman for President Bush stated today that these restrictions are necessary to prevent U.S. tax money from being used for abortions. This could not be farther from the truth. No U.S. funds have been used to perform abortions since 1973. In fact, the ‘global gag rule’ would restrict access to family planning services for poor women which would result in more unintended pregnancies, more births, more maternal deaths and injuries, and more - not fewer - abortions" Pelosi said.
As then Ranking Democrat of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Pelosi negotiated the compromise FY 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that provides $425 million for our bilateral international family planning programs without being subject to the ‘global gag rule’ restrictions.
Each year, 600,000 women die of pregnancy related causes – more than one woman every minute of the day. International family planning programs help provide the health care, information, and counseling to protect the lives and health of the poorest women around the world.
"If enacted, these restrictions on our international family planning assistance would prevent foreign NGO’s from using their own, non-U.S. money to lobby their own governments for changes in laws concerning legal abortion services. If the U.S. government tried to impose similar restrictions on U.S.-based organizations, they would, without a doubt, be unconstitutional" Pelosi said.