Management Sciences for Health Commends Biden-Harris Administration’s Support of Women’s and Children’s Health

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) welcomes President Biden’s memorandum rescinding the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, and moving toward restoration of funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The Global Gag Rule, which President Trump reinstated in January 2017 and expanded later that year, imposed unprecedented restrictions on foreign nongovernmental organizations that are recipients of U.S. global health funding, prohibiting them from using their own resources to undertake abortion-related work, thereby cutting off crucial services—from family planning to maternal health programs, from immunizations to HIV/AIDS treatment—to millions of women and girls.

For 50 years, the U.S. has invested in programs to prevent malaria, TB, and other infectious diseases in addition to family planning and reproductive health services. The evidence is clear: this work has helped reduce maternal deaths, increase access to contraceptives, save the lives of millions of children under the age of five, and reap savings in health care costs from each dollar invested in family planning.

Research has shown that the gag rule has not only impacted access to safe abortion services but also led to the reduced availability of family planning counseling and contraceptives, as well as reduced access to HIV and nutrition programs in some countries.

MSH also welcomes and supports the introduction of the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule, and encourages the Biden-Harris Administration to support this important piece of legislation to protect access to comprehensive reproductive health care worldwide. Reinstating funding to UNFPA will also promote quality sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning. The U.S. was a founding member and until 1985 was the largest donor to the agency, which has funded MSH’s activities that have helped ensure safer births, prevent sexual violence, and promote gender equality in many countries.

“At MSH we believe that access to affordable, high-quality, comprehensive reproductive health services is essential to a woman’s realization of her fundamental right to health and to building strong health systems,” said Amy Boldosser-Boesch, MSH Senior Director for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health. “The Biden-Harris Administration’s repeal of the harmful Global Gag Rule and restoring funding to UNFPA are crucial steps to improving the health of women and communities and to rebuilding U.S. global leadership on achieving the commitments to ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Along with our partners around the world, we look forward to renewed determination and progress to reduce preventable maternal and newborn deaths and to protect the health of women and families.