Letter from Latanya: The U.S. Election Has Consequences for Women and Marginalized Communities around the Globe
Why we’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst outcomes this November
We lost a gender justice hero, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. May her memory become a movement. We are also mourning the death and lack of justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in her home in March.
We need to invoke our heroes—from Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Breonna Taylor to Marielle Franco to Mariela Belski—now more than ever. So much is at stake. U.S. Republicans are pledging to support the Supreme Court nominee Trump has brought forward—one who is anti-choice, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQI rights, perversely, in the name of feminism. While this nomination process is underway, the U.S. is also quietly expanding the global gag rule to apply to all global health contracts – even though the U.S. State Department’s own report found that the global gag rule dangerously disrupts access to health care, and 70 percent of Americans feel it should be repealed.
The U.S. is the world’s largest health donor. When I was a USAID executive, I lived and worked in over a dozen countries and saw firsthand how with the flick of a pen in the U.S., a women or girls’ life across the world could be dramatically changed.
Many health services—HIV prevention and treatment, contraception, and family care—integrate comprehensive abortion-related services in the programming. Therefore, the global gag rule affects the most vulnerable people seeking all sorts of health-related care and leaves them without access to the life-saving information and services they need. These kinds of imperialist interventions undermine the groundbreaking work that gender justice movements are leading in Africa and around the world.
Grantee partner TICAH in Kenya has been holding community dialogues to ensure girls and women know their rights when it comes to accessing sexual and reproductive health and rights during COVID. It’s especially important now, as TICAH has seen a rise in teenage pregnancy, high numbers of unsafe abortions, and increased gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be expanding our work with movements supporting collective action on abortion rights in East and West Africa as part of our new movement-led approach.
Edinah Masiyiwa, Executive Director of the Women’s Action Group in Zimbabwe and a Global Fund for Women grantee partner, said, “This [global gag] rule is prescribing chaos in our countries.”
This public health crisis is 100% avoidable.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have committed to repeal the global gag rule—an important first step in reckoning the U.S.’s deeply harmful foreign policies.
As attention in the U.S. turns to the election and protection of reproductive and other critical rights domestically, let’s not overlook that the U.S. exports its deadly anti-choice policy around the globe. The upcoming U.S. election has consequences for women from Montgomery, Alabama, to Harare, Zimbabwe.
HELP SUPPORT MOVEMENTS
Across the world, feminist movements are fighting with creativity, resilience, and determination for their sexual and reproductive health and rights. We are all in this fight together.