A Non-Governmental Organization, Ipas, has called on Journalists to ensure the public, especially women and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), are well informed about the global gag rule that has just been rescinded by President Biden of the United States of America.
Global gag rule is a United States government policy that blocked U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provided abortion counseling or referrals, advocated to decriminalize abortion, or expanded abortion services.
When in effect, the policy requires foreign NGOs to certify that they will not “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning” with non-U.S. funds as a condition for receiving U.S. global family planning assistance and, as of January 23, 2017, any other U.S. global health assistance, including U.S. global HIV (under PEPFAR) and maternal and child health (MCH) assistance.
At a virtual training session organised by Ipas for some Journalists in Nigeria, a guest speaker, the Director policy and advocacy at PAI ( Population Action International), Mr Jonathan Rucks emphasised the need for Journalists to start spreading the information of the repealing of the gag rule in order to help women achieve adequate reproductive health services.
The training had as its theme: ” Global Gag Rule Rescindment: Implications and Next Steps”.
According to him, if women across the globe, especially the US States are now aware that President Biden has repealed the gag rule, they won’t be exposed to unsafe abortions.
Rucks noted that, though the gag policy already had severe impacts that would be felt in the next 12-18months, gradually everything could be normalized if the information is passed to the general public on time.
He charged Journalists who are passionate about women reproductive health to start using their media platforms to tell the stories so as to avoid women dying from unsafe abortions, and to have access to comprehensive health services.
He also advocated a policy that would guarantee provision of quality reproductive health services to women and to also figure out how providers can protect themselves.
Nigerian participants at the training emphasised the need for Journalists to hold Government accountable about the rights of Women by budgeting for women reproductive health care services. This includes access to contraceptive pills, child health nutrition, and general strengthening of healthcare system.
To achieve the aforementioned, healthcare providers, the media, and the CSOs must work collaboratively in rebuilding the system.
Ipas is an international organisation that increases access to safe abortions and contraception. To this end, the organization informs women how to obtain safe and legal abortions and trains relevant partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on how to provide and advocate for these.