Letter to President Bush

Urging him to Lift the Global Gag Rule

President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In these difficult times, Americans have renewed their commitment to protecting the liberties that make this nation great: the right to freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion.

There could not be a more appropriate time for you, the leader of the free world, to lift the gag on free speech by suspending the undemocratic "Mexico City Policy." This global gag rule sets a lower standard for the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association for our allies abroad than we enjoy in the United States. The gag rule denies U.S. family planning assistance to foreign non-governmental organizations that, with their own non-U.S. funds, either promote abortion law reform or provide the full range of legal reproductive health services, including abortion, counseling and referrals. Speech about abortion rights is censored, while anti-abortion groups that receive U.S. funds may speak freely.

Now more than ever, U.S. policy must strive to impress upon the world what we truly stand for. The Mexico City Policy gag on speech and the ability to participate in law reform is a direct affront to American values. We are exporting a policy that is contrary to our Constitution and one that could not be imposed in the United States.

The Senate included a provision in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act that would eliminate the global gag rule. We commend the Senate for consistently standing against these undemocratic restrictions and urge Senators to remain steadfast in conference committee negotiations.

Mr. President, we urge you to join the Senate in demonstrating that the United States is committed to the universality of human rights and civil liberties by eliminating the global gag rule.


Advocates for Youth
Alan Guttmacher Institute
American Association of University Women
American Civil Liberties Union
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Medical Women's Association
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
Business and Professional Women/USA
Catholics for a Free Choice
Center for Health and Gender Equity
Center for Reproductive Rights
Center for Women Policy Studies
Clearinghouse on Women's Issues
Feminist Majority
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America
International Women’s Health Coalition
Marie Stopes International
National Abortion Federation
National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Women's Organizations
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Organization of Women
National Women's Political Caucus
Network of East-West Women
OMB Watch
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood of New York City
Voters For Choice
Women’s Campaign Fund
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
Women’s EDGE
Women's Environment and Development Organization
Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch
Zero Population Growth