President Bush misleads the public by stating that the administration plans to cut off federal funds for abortions and abortion counseling provided at foreign health clinics. Federal funds do not pay for abortions at foreign health clinics. Legislation in place since 1973 prevents U.S. funds from paying for abortion services abroad.
Instead, Bush's reinstatement of a "global gag rule" will coerce foreign family planning clinics to censor abortion counseling and end abortion services funded by their own money in exchange for receiving U.S. funding for desperately needed health services such as prenatal care and STD and HIV treatment. These clinics will also be prevented from using their own funds to lobby their governments for change in abortion laws.
In his first days in office, Bush has launched his first assault against women's health. He has also struck a blow against free speech.
Executive Director, Western Regional Office
New York Civil Liberties Union