In light of the coronavirus pandemic, we made the decision to cancel our annual advocacy conference, Capitol Hill Days, to prioritize the health and safety of our participants, staff, and speakers. While we were disappointed that we couldn’t bring hundreds of activists together in D.C. to advocate for reproductive rights and health, we didn’t let it stop us from taking action!
Right now, we are facing serious repercussions of this global pandemic as coronavirus continues to spread rampantly across the country. The Trump administration’s response has left us far behind as we scramble to expand access to testing and necessary medical equipment and treatment. While we face this mounting crisis, Trump and the GOP are also exploiting COVID-19 to advance their anti-choice agenda, from attempting to use the latest COVID-19 relief bill to further restrict access to reproductive health care to deeming abortion procedures “non-essential” and attempting to close down clinics providing abortion services across the country.
Trump’s inept response in the face of coronavirus is inexcusable, but sadly not surprising. Since Trump’s first real day in office, he and his anti-choice cronies have launched an all-out assault on public health, both in the U.S. and around the world. Right now, as Republicans are using coronavirus to chip away at our rights, millions of people around the world still lack access to reproductive health care because of the Trump administration’s deadly anti-choice policies.
During our CHD Digital Weekend, #Fight4HER activists all across the country came together to fight back against Trump’s deadly policies, like the Global Gag Rule, that have devastated access to reproductive health care globally. They joined us to call on Congress to end the Global Gag Rule and to invest $1.6 billion in international family planning, including $111 million for UNFPA, to ensure access to reproductive health care around the world.
We started the weekend with a kick-off call on Friday, March 27, where 95 activists from across the country joined us to hear about all the ways they can take action to advocate for reproductive health and rights around the globe. We were joined by Melvine Ouyo, #Fight4HER Advocate from Nairobi, Kenya, who talked about the critical importance of repealing the Global Gag Rule and investing in international family planning and reproductive health programs.
Later on Friday, we stormed Twitter with a #Fight4HER “rally.” Over 2,000 people participated in the, rally, which reached over 9.2 million people—our most successful social media engagement to date. Notably, #Fight4HER trended on Twitter in the United States thanks to activists and partner organizations sharing their powerful videos about why they #Fight4HER to repeal Trump’s Global Gag Rule.
On Saturday and Sunday, we released a series of digital sessions. These videos gave our activists the opportunity to connect virtually with a great lineup of reproductive health and progressive organizing experts who spoke about the crucial need for reproductive justice and the devastating impact of Trump’s Global Gag Rule, and shared advocacy and organizing tips.
On Monday, March 30, we stormed congressional offices with emails, tweets, and phone calls to demand access to comprehensive reproductive health care around the world. In all, we had 980 advocates make 3,224 legislator connections, and we held virtual meetings with congressional offices in key states with constituents across the country. We engaged with key members of Congress, including Rep. Susie Lee who joined our Nevada activists for their virtual meeting, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Annie Kuster, and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who tweeted out their support for the #Fight4HER to repeal the Global Gag Rule.
Our activists made it clear to their elected officials that global reproductive health needs to be a top priority. We could not be more grateful for everyone who helped us take Capitol Hill Days online. If you missed the action, you can still join in by calling on your elected officials to support policies that expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care around the world.
We look forward to continuing the fight online, and hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!