ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Shadow of Hyde

There has been a great deal of discussion about the Hyde Act in regard to nuclear issues. What is not often enough stated is that there also exists something called the Hyde amendment that has already affected US policies for a number of years. If the Hyde amendment is anything to go by, it is specious to argue, as the protagonists of the nuclear agreement do, that the Hyde Act will not apply to the Indo-US bilateral nuclear deal.

Under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, a variant of the Hyde amendment was applied to US funding for reproductive health programmes globally and came to be known as the “Global Gag Rule”. This was part of larger package of the neoliberal social agenda: curtailing the rights of women, celebrating so-called family values. Under the Hyde amendment federal funding for abortion was stopped, affecting primarily poor women and women of colour. Subsequently under the Global Gag Rule, US government funding for family planning programmes in other countries ceased if abortion was part of the package of family planning services. Thus for example, in India, organisations such as the Family Planning Foundation of India ceased getting grants from US government sources.

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