The Feminist Majority applauds President Barack Obama for issuing an executive order today that repeals the Global Gag Rule. President Obama’s expeditious action on behalf of women worldwide will save the lives of literally millions of women worldwide yearly.

“President Obama, with the stroke of a pen, is now saving the lives and health of countless women and girls around the world. Obama is keeping his pledge to women and I believe this is only the beginning,” said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal.

The Global Gag Rule prohibited family planning programs in other nations that receive U.S. aid from using non-U.S. monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and referrals. The rule was instituted by President Reagan in 1984, was repealed by President Clinton, and was re-instituted by President George W. Bush.

The Global Gag Rule inhibited women worldwide from access to gynecological exams, AIDS prevention and treatment, and contraceptive options. It also halted shipment of condoms and contraceptives to more than 20 countries. In part because of restricted access to reproductive health services, more than 70,000 women annually die from unsafe abortions worldwide.


The Feminist Majority, founded in 1987, works for women’s equality and to enhance feminist participation in public policy nationwide and worldwide.