Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama's Lifting of Gag Rule and Gay Men

President Obama's lifting of the "global gag rule" on this past Friday was heralded as a step in the right direction by organizations in the forefront of offering reproductive and family planning services. By lifting this ban on U.S. funding for organizations that provide abortions and any abortion-related services, women in underdeveloped countries no longer have to suffer unwanted pregnancies or worse still, suffer risky abortions performed in medically unacceptable conditions. But what is often less noted is that this gag rule for far too long have also denied local family planning clinics, when they refuse to sign the gag rule, the ability to offer HIV/AIDS prevention education and other related family planning services. In so doing, their critical work, in countries already plagued by poor medical delivery services, on behalf of AIDS patients, which includes bisexual men and gay men, is also impacted adversely. Furthermore, and this has had a devastating impact on contraceptive education, the gag rule effectively prevented non-governmental organization from accessing much needed supplies of condoms and other educational materials needed in the fight against AIDS. All of us should welcome the lifting of this gag rule due its past harsh implications.

Readthis article for more analysis of the impact of this gag rule on women in Third World countries. It makes no direct mention of gay men, however.

Read this article for a quick overview of the fallout from the previous Bush "gag rule."

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