University students from schools across Wisconsin traveled to Washington D.C. mid-March to lobby against President Donald Trump’s Global Gag Rule and for increased reproductive rights.
#Fight4HER is a campaign looking to mobilize communities in the U.S. against this rule and push for reinstated funding at these clinics.
Katie Wade, Wisconsin’s regional coordinator for the campaign, said this movement is something all people should be concerned about — not just women.
The campaign is pushing for the passing of the Health, Empowerment and Rights Act which would promote safe, ethical medical practices and use non-U.S. funds to provide safe abortion and other medical services such as HIV/AIDS treatment, while nullifying the existing U.S. law that interferes with these acts, according to the bill.
“International Planned Parenthood predicts that 70 million fewer condoms will be distributed over the next four years as a result of funding loss due to the Gag Rule,” Wade said.
The campaign takes a focus on mobilizing students in the Madison area due to the large number of the University of Wisconsin students and the history of activism in the community, Wade said.
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Wade also said reaching out to community leaders to get influential people involved and partnering with the National Organization for Women is essential in growing and expanding the campaign in Madison.
“This is such a powerhouse of people and one of the most active communities and we see this as a real opportunity to gain momentum,” Wade said.
Bringing the #Fight4HER campaign to Madison is a way to give people an opportunity for grassroots actions, so people can have the opportunity to do something tangible and make a difference, Wade said.
Jennifer Torner, UW senior and Wisconsin’s outreach coordinator for the campaign, said voting plays a major part in the movement of the campaign.
The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, has been around since the early 1970s and Republican administrations have constantly enacted it while Democrats repealed it. Trump’s changes to the rule include loss of funding if clinics advocate for abortion laws, counsel patients on abortion or provide abortion services.
“What this does is expand the cuts to international U.S. funding as well,” Torner said. “And not just the international funding in terms of abortion, but family planning and all health care so it’s removing all aspects of aid to provide things like vaccinations and taking that away based on some sort of relationship to some sort of abortion.”
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But this is not a new trend in U.S. democracy.
Amendments like the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Amendment have restricted U.S. funding both abroad and at home for clinics that provide abortions.
“The Helms Amendment is something that has been put into place under many administrations before Donald Trump’s,” Torner said. “It’s just being expanded to overseas.”
If the word abortion is even mentioned, funding can be lost under this rule for all aspects of health care, Wade said.
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Rises in unplanned pregnancies and loss of access to health care services are only two outcomes from the implementation of the gag rule, but there hasn’t been enough time to study complications that come with it, Torner said.
Under the Bush administration, abortions went up due to more unplanned pregnancies, Torner said. This is a likely trend but it’s unknown what the fall out from the rest of it is going to be, she added.
#Fight4HER is currently looking to get more than 1,000 signatures by the end of the month of April and will be doing drop off events at Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s office and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office in order to provide opportunities for the voices of communities to be heard.