On Thursday, May 27, our California activists met with their elected officials and advocated for the Global HER Act and for increased funding for international family planning. Nohely Diaz, a longtime #Fight4HER activist, successfully led our lobby meetings with staff from the offices of Senator Alex Padilla, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Representative Doris Matsui.
Senator Feinstein and Representative Matsui are already co-sponsors of the Global HER Act to permanently end the Global Gag Rule, and we look forward to newly-elected Senator Padilla joining them as a co-sponsor, soon. We encouraged all three members to urge their colleagues to become co-sponors as well.
After our activists eloquently emphasized the significance of the Global HER Act, we were met with encouraging words of support from the staffers and had the opportunity to engage in thoughtful and enthusiastic discussions about the importance of a permanent congressional repeal of the Global Gag Rule. Our activists highlighted the need for the members to champion the Global HER Act and support its inclusion in the upcoming appropriations bill.
Our #Fight4HER activists also urged Sens. Feinsten and Padilla and Rep. Matsui to support $1.74 billion in funding for international family planning, with $116 million of that being directed to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The activists highlighted how crucial it is that we work to satisfy unmet need for contraceptives in countries in the Global South and that UNFPA is instrumental to achieving this goal. One of our dedicated advocates, Susan Wright, shared her experience working in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa to improve maternal and child health. She emphasized that “[reproductive health care] programs are vital to helping women get the agency that they need in their lives.” Susan’s work inspires her commitment to health, empowerment, and rights for people everywhere.
The members’ staff underscored how critical it is that activists take the time to make the case to their representatives. So, if you’re able, please meet with your members of Congress, especially those who are not currently co-sponsors of the Global HER Act. After your meetings, continue to follow up and provide any additional information your members request. Encourage your family and friends who live in states with unsupportive senators and representatives to do the same. Reaching out to members of Congress can also include making calls and sending emails. Meetings, calls, emails, and social media messages all make their way back to our elected officials, which gives us the power and potential to influence how they vote.
These meetings were incredibly engaging and inspiring, thanks to our activists who so passionately advocated for the Global HER Act and increased family planning funding. We are so grateful for the work our committed activists do, and we look forward to their continued organizing and advocacy.