May 28 is the international day of action around women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights – and mobilization now is more essential than ever before.
Rollbacks on women’s rights in the form of extreme anti-abortion policies – in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Mississippi – are threatening the health and lives of women in the U.S.
This dangerous trend is reverberating worldwide.
The Trump administration is exporting these anti-choice measures with the global gag rule. The global gag rule prohibits organizations from receiving funding from the U.S. government if they provide services, referrals, and advocacy related to abortion internationally – even with non-U.S. government financing. The policy covers all $8.8 billion in US global health aid, nearly 15 times the reach of previous iterations. As a result, millions of women and LGBTQI people worldwide are being shut off from comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.
In Stanford Social Innovation Review, Global Fund for Women’s Leila Hessini explains: “The United States is the world’s largest donor to global health, and abortion-related services are often integrated into general health care involving HIV, contraceptives, and families.” The policy then affects the whole of women’s health care in many areas.
“The global gag rule is an attack on women’s abilities to make fundamental decisions related to their reproductive and sexual lives,” said Leila Hessini, “As an American citizen I am ashamed of the ways the U.S. administration violates women’s health and rights in the U.S. and globally.”
Our grantee partner Rhythm of Life relayed what the global gag rule means for their operations in Uganda: “The global gag rule limits our coverage,” says founder Harriet Kamashanyu. “We simply watch many girls and women of Uganda die due to unsafe abortion.”
From Alabama and Ohio to Brazil and Uganda: this rollback affects us all.
Half of the 1.65 billion women age 15-44 worldwide live in countries where the global gag rule would impede otherwise legal abortion services. Read more about the personal, monetary, and societal costs of Trump’s global anti-abortion policies in this infographic.
The Feminist Response, May 28 and Beyond
Women, men, trans, and gender nonconforming people are taking action, standing up, and speaking out in the global fight for reproductive rights.
“When girls and young women come out to raise their voices against the effects of the global gag rule, they are given maximum attention,” says Harriet Kamashanyu of Rhythm of Life. “Sharing their experiences and stories has been humbling, causing change.”
What you can do: stand up for reproductive rights for women in the U.S. and everywhere and join the #May28 campaign.
Attend an event in your city, join a Twitter chat on Beijing + 25, read more about the global gag rule’s effects, and support Global Fund for Women to bring money and attention to those who need it most in the fight for women’s rights.