Las Vegas locals come together to learn and advocate for the Global HER Act.
The Global Gag Rule was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 targeting international organizations funded by U.S. Global Health Assistance. The Global Gag Rule denies funding to health care organizations around the world if they promote or provide abortion services to their patients. These locations include Africa, the Middle East, and South America.
On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Global Gag Rule as one of his first acts as President.
The Global Gag Rule impacts:
- Maternal and child mortality
- Increased HIV in countries because of lost funding for their prevention and treatment programs
- Increase in malaria and zika outbreaks
- Increase in unsafe abortions.
#Fight4HER is advocating for the Global HER Act, designed to overturn the Global Gag Rule. The purpose of this movement is to expand awareness and demand increased access to international family planning programs to ensure that every woman, girl, and person seeking care can make their own healthcare decisions without exceptions. It was important for attendees to get a glimpse of what it looks like on both sides of the door in the Legislature. Being in the community, educating them and generating support for the bill is ultimately what it takes to get the bill through.
Las Vegas local, Emily Brzozowski, state organizer for #Fight4HER in Southern Nevada organized the Nevada Health, Empowerment, and Rights Summit. With ten years of experience advocating for reproductive rights, Emily began by volunteering with Planned Parenthood at age sixteen. Her agenda is to advocate for different pieces of legislation designed to improve the lives of people that they impact.
“Under the Global Gag Rule care providers can’t perform abortions or refer people to where they can receive a safe and legal abortion.” Says Emily Brzozowski, #Fight4HER State Organizer. “The policy essentially holds the funds hostage unless the organizations agree to the policy, forcing health care providers to make an impossible choice- either continue to provide care without providing comprehensive reproductive healthcare or continue to provide abortion services and lose critically needed funding for other programs.”
The workshops were lead by Tasia Macaraeg from NextGen and Alyssa Cortes from Human Rights Campaign. This event also featured a panel of experts including Sen. Yvanna Cancela (SD-10), Karina Provist from NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Alex Camberos a Raiz organizer with Planned Parenthood.
Allied activists within the community showed support and representation at the summit as well including CHISPA Nevada, Nevada Conservation League, Nevada Now, and others to help bring awareness to this cause.
The keynote speaker at the summit was Melvine Ouyo former reproductive health care nurse from a clinic in Kenya. She came to share her story about accessing reproductive healthcare in countries that the Global Gag Rule impacts. Melvine received her Masters at Harvard in Public Administration along with fourteen years of experience in advocacy for reproductive health and rights and speaks globally about reproductive health. She spent her past decade working with the most vulnerable and marginalized communities at Family Health Options Kenya. Melvine has partnered with Population Connection as a reproductive health expert on the #Fight4HER campaign.
It is simply impossible to have a serious discussion about women’s health and maternal mortality in the developing world without discussing the importance of safe abortion access.
Activists, organizers, and community leaders around the country are working together to take direct action putting pressure on members of Congress to support the HER Act. As a community, no matter who we voted for or who we’re planning on voting for, we can realize the effects of the Global Gag Rule and how it affects the world around us.
Want to join the #Fight4HER movement? Text ‘Fight NV’ to 52886 to receive updates on the campaign.
Share your comments about the Global Gag Rule and the Global Her Act in the comment section below.