The repeal of the Global Gag Rule (GGR) by the new President of the United States led to global celebration. The policy was in place for years, impacting organizations across the world working with essential sexual and reproductive health services. Now that the GGR has been repealed, we were curious about what’s to come. That’s why we asked Riva Eskinazi, Director Strategic Partnerships & Development at IPPF about it.
International Planned Parenthood Federation is a publishing member organization of Girls’ Globe. They share grassroots perspectives and new research on sexual and reproductive health through their posts on girlsglobe.org.
What does the repeal of the Global Gag Rule mean for IPPF’s member organizations around the world?
Riva Eskinazi: What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by the Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the US – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations.
There is no doubt that the challenges presented by GGR have galvanized our movement and encouraged us to forge stronger alliances. We have also been thrilled to see likeminded governments stepping up to champion sexual and reproductive health and rights, in realization that we cannot take the gains we’ve made for granted.
The additional funds provided by our donors were not just plugging a hole left by the US – those funds allowed IPPF and our Member Associations to be much more strategic in how we move forward, build resilience, and improve systems and structures to withstand this kind of shock.
Providing integrated healthcare in one place to anyone who requires it, no matter how remote, sits at the heart of our global teams’ mission. IPPF looks forward with hope, welcoming the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.
What needs to be done to avoid another reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule in the future?
Riva Eskinazi: We are fully committed, together with our member Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), to continue our advocacy work to permanently repeal the GGR. There will be a push from reproductive health organizations through the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights Act (Global HER) to ensure a permanent repeal of the GGR that would prevent a future president from unilaterally reinstating it.
While the repeal of the Global Gag Rule is important, the Helms Amendment of 1973 remains in place and this has been interpreted and enforced by every presidential administration as an outright ban on funding abortion for any reason. We will continue to push for the full set of the safe abortion agenda and the full comprehensive set of sexual and reproductive healthcare as defined by the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission.
What other recommendations does IPPF follow to sustain funding for all sexual and reproductive health services?
Riva Eskinazi: During this time, donors have generously provided emergency funds to help “plug the gap” created by the GGR, however, there are marked differences in the scale and location of projects and the availability of technical assistance. Most importantly, communities have suffered a significant disruption in the availability of safe, comprehensive and rights-based healthcare provided by IPPF.
We have sought to diversify funding and build our members’ capacity to do so too, however, funding only represents part of the story: increased opposition is having a deep and fundamental impact at the policy level for resourcing sexual and reproductive health and rights and creating/sustaining an enabling environment.
Against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the roll-back on women’s and youth rights, and with the continued support of the donor community, we need to expand access at scale to ensure we reach under-served communities with vital healthcare and information that leaves no one behind. IPPF will continue investing, with PPFA, on work to counteract rising opposition and build alliances to generate lasting change.
Learn more from IPPF
- In pictures: Loss of funding forces vital healthcare initiatives to stop in Malawi
- In pictures: Overcoming the impact of the Global Gag Rule in Mali
- Subscribe to IPPF’s newsletter for up-to-date content about sexual healthcare.