HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.R. NO.

53

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


HOUSE RESOLUTION

 

REQUESTING CONGRESS TO END THE "GLOBAL GAG RULE" IMPOSED ON INTERNATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING ORGANIZATIONS.

 

 

WHEREAS, approximately 120 million couples in the third world lack access to modern contraception; and

WHEREAS, the United States provides family planning assistance funds to non-governmental organizations in fifty-nine countries; and

WHEREAS, these nations have a right to inform their own people about legal family planning options, and to discuss changes in their family planning laws, in order to form their own policy and development, without interference by the United States; and

WHEREAS, the United States has interfered with these non-governmental organizations through the "global gag rule," by which the United States refuses to fund non-governmental organizations that provide legal abortion services, lobby their own governments for abortion law reform, or even provide accurate medical counseling or referrals regarding abortion, even if no U.S. money is used for those purposes; and

WHEREAS, in almost sixty per cent of these countries, abortion in some form is legal, yet the global gag rule prevents their non-governmental organizations from discussing the option or performing abortions even if this is done with the non-governmental organizations' own funds and not with any U.S. funds; and

WHEREAS, in the countries where abortion is not legal, the global gag rule prevents the non-governmental organizations from speaking publicly about these issues to foster informed debate on abortion, even if this free speech is done with the non-governmental organizations' own funds; and

WHEREAS, in rural areas, often these non-governmental organizations are the only health care providers, so restricting their funding affects the health of all people in the community and forces the non-governmental organizations to make an immoral choice: either give up desperately needed funds for family planning services, or give up their right to free speech and to provide their patients with full and accurate medical information; and

WHEREAS, the "global gag rule" process hurts good family-planning work that has little to do with the rights of an unborn child, as these family planning services address other health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, which indirectly helps with economic stability in developing countries; and

WHEREAS, through the global gag rule, the U.S. government not only stifles free speech, but affirmatively discriminates against viewpoints it does not like, something that would be unconstitutional in its own country; and

WHEREAS, this gag rule was created by executive order of President Reagan in 1984; and

WHEREAS, President Clinton canceled the gag order in 1993, but reluctantly restored it for one year in 1999 in exchange for the Republicans in Congress agreeing to pay the United States' back dues to the United Nations; and

WHEREAS, President Bush reimposed the global gag rule by executive order in January 2001; and

WHEREAS, the global gag rule undermines the human right to free speech, a right so vigorously championed by our government that it is part of our constitution; undercuts our foreign policy; and damages women's reproductive health; and

WHEREAS, this misguided policy would be illegal were it to be imposed in our own country, and it is unconscionable for the United States to force it on other countries, jeopardizing the health of millions of women and children; and

WHEREAS, the state legislature has already demonstrated its support for women's rights in the family context when it passed House Resolution No. 15 in the 1999 regular session entitled "Urging the United States Senate to Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women"; and

WHEREAS, legislation is pending in Congress to remove the global gag rule and permit the non-governmental organizations to provide appropriate and legal family planning service and information in their home countries; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2002, that the United States Congress is hereby urged to support a ban on the global gag rule; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, and the members of Hawaii's congressional delegation.

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

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Report Title:

Requesting a ban on the global gag rule for family planning.