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** JUNE 6, 2001  
11:45 AM**  
** **CONTACT:** ** [Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP)][15]  
** Margie Kelly, 917-637-3617 or Linda Robayo, 917-637-3605  

** **

**President George W. Bush Sued by Center for Reproductive Law and Policy:  
Global Gag Rule Censors Free Speech of Americans**

WASHINGTON - June 6 - In a press conference today, Janet Benshoof, president of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP) announced that CRLP is suing President George W. Bush for censoring the speech of Americans under the Global Gag Rule. CRLP v. Bush is the first lawsuit focusing on the limitations on free speech promoting abortion law reform under President Bush's Global Gag Rule.

"President Bush took away my right to speak because I support a position with which he disagrees: that access to safe and legal abortion is a human right of women worldwide," said Benshoof. "The Global Gag Rule is global censorship that violates fairness, freedom, and democracy."

The Global Gag Rule bars foreign organizations that receive U.S. aid from using their own money to speak freely about abortion law reform. Without access to gagged foreign organizations and their information, CRLP's lawyers cannot effectively communicate with citizens and activists in other countries, influence governments, or assist in abortion law reform.

Groups like CRLP and its foreign partners that support abortion rights are gagged, even in nations where abortion is legal, while organizations working to criminalize abortion or to increase restrictions on abortion access are not censored by the U.S. government.

Human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, have joined CRLP's lawsuit against President Bush. Human rights leaders recognize that without free speech, it is impossible for U.S.-based groups to open the world's eyes to the horror of human rights abuses, whether political torture, landmines, or unsafe abortion, which claims the lives of 213 women every day worldwide.

"Since founding CRLP nearly ten years ago, I have been at the forefront of the global dialogue about women's right to equality and women's rights to control their reproductive destinies. During this time, only one nation has censored my speech: the U.S. Not the Taliban. Not the Chinese. Only President Bush has censored my speech," said Benshoof.

_CRLP is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women's equality worldwide by guaranteeing reproductive rights as human rights. For more information about CRLP v. Bush or the Global Gag Rule, visit [www.crlp.org][16]._



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