I'm very concerned about the effects that the Global Gag Rule is having on the women, men and children of the developing world. Not only is this policy likely to actually increase the number of abortions taking place abroad, it is also crippling groups' abilities to provide crucial health care services, including contraception, maternal health care and HIV/AIDS testing, prevention and counseling.
Ultimately, the Gag Rule is hurting many of the people who need our help the most, while also failing to achieve its stated goal of reducing the number of abortions taking place around the world. Health care providers who refused to sign the Gag Rule have lost their USAID funding and been forced to either limit their services, fire staff or close down altogether. This means that there are less essential health services available for the men, women and children of the developing world. This also makes it harder for people to control their own futures by planning their families, leading to an increase in the number of unwanted pregnancies and an increase in the number of abortions.
I'm also deeply troubled by the effect the Gag Rule is having on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts around the world. It seems a questionable decision, at best, to deny groups who refused to comply with the Gag Rule access to USAID-donated condoms. We all know that condoms are one of the most important weapons in the battle to prevent HIV/AIDS. Often, these groups simply cannot afford to purchase new shipments of condoms, nor can the people they serve afford to purchase them. Your Administration claims that it is committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS crisis but I fail to see how this policy could be interpreted as anything but an obstacle to that effort.
To put it bluntly, the Gag Rule is a destructive policy that causes women to die needlessly and undermines community development and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. I urge you to take a hard look at the impact it's having on the people of the developing world and to overturn it immediately.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts on this issue.