Correction: A previous version of this article stated, "Tillis had not scheduled a meeting location as of the day before the meetings." According to Sen. Tillis' press secretary Adam Webb, Tillis' office scheduled a meeting for March 19. The story has been updated to reflect the correction.
Students from UNC Chapel Hill and other North Carolina universities took to Capitol Hill March 16-19 to petition state senators to support the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act and do away with the Mexico City Policy.
The Mexico City Policy, also known as the “Global Gag Rule,” was enacted by President Donald Trump on his first day in office. It forbids the allocation of U.S. foreign aid to organizations that offer abortion services or information.
First implemented in 1984 by the Reagan administration, the policy was rescinded by the Bill Clinton administration, reinstated by the George W. Bush administration and struck down again by the Obama administration.
Trump’s reinstatement of the policy looks a bit different than in years past. In its original form, the Mexico City Policy forbade funds only to foreign family planning services that discussed or performed abortions. Trump’s version applies to the majority of U.S. foreign health assistance, not just family planning ones.
The day after Trump reinstated the policy, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., introduced the HER Act, a bill to counteract and permanently end the Mexico City Policy.
The bill would remove eligibility restrictions on recipients of U.S. foreign assistance, allowing them to use non-U.S. aid to provide abortion services that are legal here in the U.S. and in the country of practice.
Since the reimplementation of the Mexico City Policy and the proposal of the HER Act, pro-choice groups like Population Connection have advocated for the latter policy.
Population Connection sponsored the March 16-19 conference for college students and organizers from Arizona, North Carolina and Ohio to learn about reproductive justice and the effects of the Global Gag Rule so that they might effectively work against it.