Statement from UN Foundation President & CEO Kathy Calvin on State Department Review of Global Gag Rule Impact

Washington, D.C.

February 8, 2018


Megan Rabbitt

United Nations Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin today issued the following statement on the release of the Trump Administration’s review of the expanded Global Gag Rule. Under the expanded policy, foreign non-governmental organizations are prohibited from receiving any U.S. foreign assistance for global health if they provide information about, referrals to, or services for legal abortion, or advocate for legalized abortion, even with their own, non-U.S. funds. This expansion impacts 15 times more funding than past versions of the Global Gag Rule, and covers funding for reproductive health and family planning as well as for a range of other widely-supported global health priorities, such as maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, infectious diseases, and neglected tropical diseases.

The Administration’s review assessed the impact of the Global Gag Rule during the first six months after the release of implementation guidance (May-September 2017). Another review will be released by December 15, 2018.

Calvin said:

“The Administration’s review of its expanded Global Gag Rule is disappointing and misleading. It fails to address the full scope of impacts of the policy and fosters misinformation by not examining its effect at a beneficiary level. The real consequences of the Global Gag Rule will be on the millions of disadvantaged women, families and communities who will lose access to lifesaving services, as we know from evidence from prior versions of the policy.

“More than one year after the Global Gag Rule was reinstated and expanded, the global health community is already seeing these alarming consequences around the world. U.S. funding is a mainstay of some of the largest and most effective international aid organizations whose ability to deliver fundamental healthcare is jeopardized by the drop in significant and essential U.S. funding. As the Administration notes, the review period for this assessment was too early into the policy’s implementation to provide accurate data on its consequences. The most devastating impacts are yet to come, and it is absolutely vital that the Administration is prepared to track and monitor with rigor and transparency on an annual basis the impact of its policy on girls and women around the world who rely on these services.

“The United Nations Foundation has long been on record opposing the Global Gag Rule including its unprecedented recent expansion. In all its forms, this harmful policy undermines longstanding bipartisan U.S. leadership on global health and development.

“We stand ready to work with the Administration to continue to monitor the consequences of the expanded Global Gag Rule, and to work with the global health community to mitigate its harm on girls, women, and families. Access to quality health care, including reproductive health and family planning, is a fundamental human right and helps build a more stable, prosperous world.”


About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at:


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