By Lauren Salmiery, Field Coordinator
Shortly after taking office in January, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Global Gag Rule. Trump’s Global Gag Rule threatens to strip funding from non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) that provide HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, family planning services, Zika prevention, and childhood nutrition services. The expanded policy could lead to 6.5 million additional unintended pregnancies, 21,700 maternal deaths, and an additional 2.2 million abortions – 95% of them unsafe.
As the first woman to become Governor and later Senator from her state, Senator Jeanne Shaheen is a strong and inspiring representative for women’s voices in her state and across the country. After Trump’s expansion of the Global Gag Rule, Senator Shaheen decided to exercise that voice by co-authoring the Global HER (Health, Empowerment and Rights) Act. The Global HER Act, now cosponsored by 143 Representatives and 46 Senators, would ensure that eligible foreign NGO’s can continue to provide legal health services to women, including legal and safe abortion services. The Global HER Act would also help expand access to health programs for women around the world to improve health and development outcomes for entire families, communities, and developing countries.
In February, Population Connection Action Fund launched our #Fight4HER campaign in support of the Global HER Act in six states around the country. One of those states was New Hampshire, and Senator Shaheen took notice of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) students’ tireless advocacy for the Global HER Act. Through on-campus activism, the UNH #Fight4HER activists fostered a local climate of support for Senator Shaheen’s efforts in Washington.
On Thursday, April 20th, Senator Shaheen met with the #Fight4HER at UNH to thank them for supporting and advocating for the Global HER Act. The Senator discussed the sinister goals of the current administration, the importance of comprehensive family planning to all people around the world, and the benefits of empowering women and girls.
“When we empower women, they give back to their families and communities,” she said, encouraging students to keep fighting for those who do not have a voice.
To encourage #Fight4HER volunteers to keep fighting even when it seems the administration isn’t listening, Senator Shaheen discussed the importance of grassroots advocacy and on-campus activism to lasting change. You can learn more about how to be an activist and support efforts in your community here.
Speaking with students and volunteers about their experiences and efforts, the Senator assured them that, “your fight here makes a difference.” #Fight4HER volunteers left inspired, impassioned, and ready to keep fighting for reproductive healthcare access for all.