American History / Boxer-Snowe Amendment

Boxer-Snowe Amendment

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Autor:  anton  02 December 2010
Tags:  Amendment
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Abortion Rights and the Boxer-Snowe Amendment

February 15, 2001 was the first day the Global Democracy Act of 2001 was to be introduced by Senator’s Barbara Boxer, Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee. This legislation would prevent the United States from imposing undemocratic and dangerous restrictions on health providers overseas. Representatives Nita Lowey and Nancy Johnson also would be introducing matching legislation in the house when it returned from recess.

Senator Boxer and Representative Lowey developed the legislation in response to the “global gag rule,” imposed by President Bush on January 22, 2001 on the 28th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The rule reinstated the Reagan-era Mexico City policy, which denied United States funding to any foreign non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services, counseling or referrals, or lobbied to change abortion laws. (, 2001)

It was thought that by imposing the “global gag rule,” President Bush interferes with the doctor patient relationship, and the sovereignty of other nations. This rule required foreign health care providers to withhold critical medical information from their patients, as a condition of receiving U.S. funding. This restriction created a culture of fear among those best equipped to address the health needs of women and their families around the world. (, 2001)

In our countries’ desperate time of need over seas, this legislation also banned publicly funded abortion care form service women overseas including, victims of rape or incest. This was according even though more then 100 lawmakers supported the amendment. (RCRC, 2004)

It is thought that female troops, especially those deployed to combat zones should have the same access to reproductive health – from contraception to abortion as any other American women and that is why so many have fought to un-gag the international family-planning programs. In 2004 there were over 200 cases of reported sexual assaults from women in both Kuwait and Iraq. Regrettably at least half a dozen have resulted in pregnancies.

“Any victim facing the horror of rape or sexual assault needs every option and support made available to them,” Snowe said in a statement. “This bill removes a barrier under current law that prohibits the Department of Defense from providing access to critical reproductive health services for our troops.” (Jontz, 2004)

According to, the current law had only allowed federally funded abortion services at military hospitals in the instance of life endangerment. It did not cover rape or incest. Because of this, many organizations have come together in support of the Boxer-Snowe provision and asked lawmakers to include this in any final legislation. (ACLU, 2004)

April 5, 2005, is the day that the Amendment finally reinstates desperately needed U.S. family planning assistance to over seas health clinics. This posed a “victory of commonsense family planning policies over gamesmanship of the anti-choice groups.” Sen. Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe received much praise in leading the fight in a woman’s right to choose and the right to contraception. This act will now allow for government funded programs overseas to help with the means of birth control which in many cases will prevent the need for as many abortions. (Naral, 2005)


American Civil Liberties Union. (2004, September 27). Coalition Letter Urging Support for the Boxer-Snowe Amendment and Urging Conferees to include the Provision in Final Legislation. Retrieved April 5, 2005, from (2001, February 15). Boxer,Snowe,Chafee,Lowey,Johnson Seek to Overturn Bush Global Gag Rule. Retrieved April 5, 2005, from

Naral. (2005, April 5). Senate Passes Boxer-Snowe Amendment "Ungagging" international Family Planning Programs. Retrieved April 5, 2005, from

Religeous coalition for Reproductive Choice. (2004, October 15). Update on Congressional Activity. Retrieved April 5, 2005, from

Stars and Stripes, & Jontz, S. (2004, August 24). Proposed amendment would have DOD pay for abortions in cases of rape and incest. Retrieved April 5, 2005, from

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