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January 22, 2001


Communications Department

Bush Marks Roe v. Wade by Reinstating Global Gag Rule Limiting Vital Reproductive Health Care Services

Association of Abortion Providers Criticizes Bush Administration for Playing Politics with Women's Lives

Washington, DC - President Bush's move to impose restrictions on international family planning will deny countless women and families worldwide access to vital reproductive health care services, according to the National Abortion Federation. "Today, Bush has sent another clear message to the American people that he is willing to sacrifice women's health to score political points with the religious right," said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). "The vast majority of Americans support international family planning. In fact, the majority of Americans who voted for President in the past election voted for a pro-choice candidate. Today's action is out of step with the wishes of mainstream America."

For many years, international family planning funds have not been used to provide abortion services. They are instead used to provide a variety of reproductive health care services to women and families. Shortly after he took office in 1992, President Clinton rescinded a gag rule imposed under previous Republican administrations that prohibited organizations receiving the funding from providing abortion services or counseling about abortion with their own funds. President Bush's action today reinstates that gag order.

"We know that worldwide almost 80,000 women die each year from illegal, unsafe abortion. It is deeply troubling that on this day when we celebrate the Roe v. Wade decision that has saved the lives and health of countless women in America, President Bush has decided to take a step that jeopardizes the lives and health of women around the world."

Saporta also criticized recent statements by the Bush administration, including Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Tommy Thompson, indicating a willingness to impose restrictions on the use of mifepristone, or RU-486, for early abortion. "The safety and efficacy of mifepristone has already been established by the FDA. Politics prevented women from accessing mifepristone before it was finally approved this fall, and now it seems that politics could once again deny women's ability to access this safe early abortion option."

Saporta stated, "All Americans should be deeply concerned that President Bush's extremist actions in the last few days in no way match his moderate rhetoric from the campaign."


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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