In March 2019, junior Sophie Auerbach and sophomore Abigail Peabody attended a conference and received an award for their research paper on the Global Gag Rule.
With their award money, Auerbach and Peabody brought in two speakers from the campaign #Fight4Her to bring awareness to the issue and take action on campus. Lindsay Apperson and Haylee Beck from Population Connection Action Fund spoke on the behalf of the #Fight4Her campaign.
The fund fights for universal access to voluntary family planning, affordable contraceptives, and sex education. Apperson is stationed at the main headquarters in Washington D.C. and Beck at the Pennsylvania headquarters in Allentown.
The presentation was held in Musser Auditorium. The campaign is funded by the lobbyist group, Population Action Fund.
The Global Gag Rule is a United States policy that blocks funding to international non-governmental organizations that provide services, information, and advocacy in regard to abortion. The Global Gag Rule greatly limits not only abortion services, but also women’s healthcare and the fight for gender equality. If fully enforced, up to 26 million people can lose access to their healthcare under the Global Gag Rule.
On his first day in office, President Donald Trump signed the Global Gag Rule into law. Every Republican President since Ronald Reagan has supported the legislation, and every Democrat has chosen to revoke the policy. It is likely that the policy will not be overturned until a Democrat is in control of the Presidency.
The Global Gag Rule affects people from the most marginalized communities and disproportionately affects people of color, especially communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Activists from the #Fight4Her campaign discussed with students their work on the Global HER Act. The Global HER Act seeks to directly fight against the harmful policies set by the Global Gag Rule.
New Hampshire Senator, Jeanne Shaheen and New York Representative, Nita Lowey, along with several co-sponsors, introduced the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act, a bill that would permanently end Trump’s global gag rule.
The Global HER Act also seeks to remove dangerous eligibility restrictions on international recipients of U.S. foreign assistance and would ensure that U.S. foreign assistance prioritizes women’s health. The act would encourage reproductive health care, would uphold a patient’s right to informed choice, and would demonstrate respect for the doctor / patient relationship on a federal level.
The event was concluded with several direct actions that encouraged change in policy. The #Fight4Her activists encouraged students to call their elected officials, including Pennsylvania’s U.S Senator Pat Toomey who has advocated against the Global HER Act. Collegeville’s U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean has already shown support for the Global HER Act. Students were also encouraged to write postcards to elected officials who have shown support for the Global HER Act.