American Jewish World Service (AJWS) says administration plan imperils the sexual health and rights of women and girls, LGBTQI+ people and sex workers

In September, the Trump administration released a proposed expansion to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy (also known as the Expanded Mexico City Policy or the global gag rule), which prohibits any foreign organization receiving U.S. global health funding from providing legal and safe abortions or referrals for those services. It also bars organizations receiving U.S. aid from advocating for abortion law reform in their own countries.

Today, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) submitted a public comment expressing our vehement opposition to the Global gag rule and this proposed expansion. Rori Kramer, Director of U.S. Advocacy, issued the following statement:

“American Jewish World Service (AJWS) has always firmly opposed the global gag rule, a draconian policy that endangers the sexual health and rights of women, girls, LGBTQI+ people and sex workers around the world. Now, for the first time, the Trump administration’s proposed regulation would further expand the global gag rule to include global health contracts. This expansion would force even more health care providers to choose between providing essential health care services, including safe abortion and abortion referrals, and keeping U.S. funding—a dilemma that puts the lives of the most vulnerable at great risk.

“The global gag rule hamstrings essential health care providers and denies vulnerable communities their basic human rights—all so that the Trump administration can regulate people’s bodies worldwide, as a way to make political points in the U.S. As a Jewish organization that believes in the inherent dignity of all people, we are outraged that the administration enforces this policy even as it jeopardizes the health and rights of women, girls, LGBTQI+ people and sex workers around the world.

“This proposed expansion is especially cruel and immoral because it comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has  been devastating for communities that are already vulnerable. Health care providers are struggling due to supply chain issues and capacity limitations amidst increased demand; restricting funding to already fragile health systems will make it nearly impossible for women, girls, LGBTQI+ people and sex workers to receive the sexual and reproductive health services they need and have every right to expect to be able to access.

“While the Trump administration continues to attack global reproductive rights during its last two months in power, AJWS will continue to raise our voice in opposition to this appalling policy. We look forward to ensuring that President-elect Joe Biden rescinds the global gag rule, and pushes for a full legislative repeal as soon as possible to support the rights of the most vulnerable across the globe.”

About the human rights work of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) 

AJWS funds LGBTQI+ human rights groups in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and mobilizes the American Jewish community to advocate for U.S. policies that support human rights abroad. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.