Take Action: Trump’s Global Gag Rule

Posted on January, 31 2017 by Action Canada

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[Date]

[Ms. Jane Smith, M.P. or The Honourable (if cabinet minister) Jane Smith, P.C. (if cabinet minister), M.P.]

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear [Mrs./Mr./Ms. MP Name],

My name is [Name]. As a member of your riding, I’m writing to express my grave concern regarding President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule on January 23rd 2017 and to urge you, and the Government of Canada to take swift action in response.

The Global Gag Rule prohibits foreign NGOs receiving U.S. assistance related to family planning and reproductive health from using non-U.S. funding to provide abortion services, information, counseling or referrals and from engaging in related advocacy. This policy causes real and serious harm to women around the world – it leads to shortages in resources, the closure of health facilities offering services for women, a chill-effect on related care and the denial of lawful safe abortion services. President Trump’s version of the Global Gag Rule is more extreme than past administrations and will extend to all global health assistance provided across US departments, including programmes focused on addressing HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, nutrition, maternal and child health, among many others.

Canada’s commitment to invest further in addressing gaps in sexual and reproductive rights and health care for women and girls, including support for the Dutch initiative to address the massive gap that will be created when the expanded policy takes effect are steps in the right direction. However, addressing this substantial shortfall cannot be achieved without significant new funding. The US is the largest bilateral donor to sexual and reproductive health and the reinstatement of the policy will lead to a funding shortage that will force many facilities to close their doors within months.

Canada cannot be complicit in the rolling-back of the hard-fought gains made over 20 years ago on women’s rights, specifically their sexual and reproductive rights. I therefore urge you to work with your colleagues to:

  • Continue to publically denounce the imposition of this expanded Global Gag Rule,
  • Ensure that the upcoming Federal Budget responds strongly to this development by increasing development financing for safe abortion care as part of a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health services (as outlined in the Future Planning Initiative), in the context of a significant and sustained increase to Canada’s development assistance,
  • Challenge the politicization of women’s health and champion women’s and girls’ rights to bodily autonomy and integrity in multilateral fora and within diplomatic efforts, and
  • Invest in advocacy related to safeguarding and advancing sexual and reproductive rights locally, nationally and globally. This includes support for feminist and women’s rights organizations who are at the forefront of this work.

I welcome the opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss this issue. I can be reached at [email + phone number].

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you soon,

[Name]

[Your contact information]

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