By Sarah Snead, #Fight4HER Colorado Organizer
January 23, 2019, marked two years since Donald Trump reinstated an expanded version of the deadly Global Gag Rule. To mark the anniversary, #Fight4HER activists across the country took to the streets to shed light on the horrible consequences of this policy.
In the two years that Trump’s Global Gag Rule has been in place, health clinics around the world have been forced to make an impossible choice: stay silent about abortion as an option or lose their U.S. global health assistance. As a result, clinics that refused to comply with the policy have been forced to close, and millions of people have been left without a place to receive healthcare.
As the anniversary was approaching, #Fight4HER activists knew they wanted to stage large scale, highly visible events. With campaigns in ten cities in eight states, #Fight4HER grassroots activists put their heads together to create a vision and plan for each city’s action. The outcome? A collection of diverse and momentous events—ranging from candlelight vigils to rallies to “die-ins.”
Activists held a powerful candlelight vigil in New Hampshire, where two NH state senators, the director of the New Hampshire Poor People’s Campaign, and Melvine Ouyo, a reproductive healthcare provider from Nairobi, Kenya, spoke to the impacts of the Global Gag Rule and the importance of permanently repealing the deadly policy. Together, the speakers and activists rallied around ending the Global Gag Rule and passing the Global HER Act.
The #Fight4HER campaigns in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, and also held candlelight vigils in their communities, to commemorate the 31,000 women and girls that die each year due to unsafe abortion. (The Gag Rule increases the incidence of unsafe abortion because clinics that would have provided birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancies and that would have provided safe abortion, where legal, cannot do so if they are closed due to lack of funding.) In Madison, WI, and Charlotte, NC, activists went for a bigger and badder stunt, performing large banner drops at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the Wisconsin State House.
In Arizona, #Fight4HER activists held two events: In Tucson, student activists on the University of Arizona campus spoke with fellow students who stopped to view their eye-catching coat-hanger display. And at the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, students wore all black, held signs, and staged a “die-in.”
Meanwhile, #Fight4HER activists in Washington D.C. worked with renowned artist Robin Bell to project a series of statements on the Trump International Hotel. Our message was clear: Two years is too many. Too many health clinics closed, too many unintended pregnancies, too many unsafe abortions, and too many lives destroyed.