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Global Health
August 20, 2019

Gag Rule May Increase Abortions

JAMA. 2019;322(7):603. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11062

Abortion rates in some sub-Saharan African countries increased by 40% when a US policy that pulled federal funding from overseas organizations that performed or discussed abortion was in effect, according to a study in The Lancet Global Health.

The Mexico City Policy, also called the global gag rule, was first adopted during the Reagan administration in 1984. It prohibits international organizations from using any funds, even those from sources outside the United States, to perform or counsel women on abortion. The policy has been repealed each time a Democrat has been elected president and reinstated during each Republican administration.