Vis Comm. Advocacy Project

When prompted to consider a cause for which we could passionately advocate for there

were so many choices. This is especially true since the recent election. These past months many

peoples rights have been threatened and advocacy through donation and protest has surged as a

result. I have been to several protests and though the political climate is very disheartening these

displays of solidarity seem very hopeful. The recent Women’s March on January 21st was the

largest protest in American History. The march drew one million to Washington D.C. and over 5

million worldwide according to the Women’s March official website. That experience was so

unifying and encouraging in a time when important organizations that are vital to so many

women health are being defunded. Therefore, when choosing a cause I wanted to pick something

personal and relevant. For my advocacy project I will be emphasizing the importance of access

to reproductive health services through organizations like Planned Parenthood for women in the

united states and abroad in nations that will be affected by the upcoming Global Gag Rule.

Organizations catering to women’s health are vital for cancer screenings, birth control, std testing

and many other services and are not as the conservatives like to depict them are simply abortion

clinics. I believe that a woman has the right to choose what is best for her life and her body and

that to be afforded that right a woman must have access to safe and reliable reproductive health

services.

The Global Gag Rule, or the Mexico City Policy was unstated during the Reagan

administration in 1984 and it marked the first time our domestic policies on reproductive rights

have been inflicted upon other nations. Since its initiation it has been repealed under Barack

Obama and as of February 6th, 2017 Donald Trump has reinstated it. According to the New

Yorker Trump has expanded the policy to include retracting any funding from all areas of the

government rather than just retracting certain funding from these non- governmental agencies

abroad. This is so threatening to women’s health because it will mean the end of services like

HIV/ AIDS testing, prenatal care, cancer screenings and so many other services that are integral

to survival. The affects of this Global Gal Rule are clear, they remove rights from women that are

vital to their survival, and this policy does so seemingly without care. Seeing the photograph

from Trump signing the executive order to reinstate this policy was sickening. There was our

president signing the lives of millions of women away surrounded by a panel of men. Not one

woman stood by his side or was involved in the approval or signing of the bill.

According to Marie Stopes International by the end of Trump’s term, so by 2020 there

will be an estimated 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions, 2.1 million unsafe

abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths. This will affect those who have no financial means by

which to protect themselves. Seven million women are treated by complications from an unsafe

abortion (The New Yorker). Without services these complications will result in thousands of

deaths. This policy has proven time and time again that it simply does not work. In fact

according to Stanford researchers in 2011, during the period of its instatement abortion rates rose

in Africa because of corse organizations that were providing family planning education and

services or access to birth control were forced to close due to lack of funding.

This kind of policy sets a dangerous precedent for acceptable standards for women’s

lives. This endangers their well being and that of their children and in that very manner it is

counterproductive. This policy represents a threat to access to similar services in the US as well.

As Trump has stated many times he plans to appoint supreme court judges who are pro-life in the

hopes that Roe v Wade will be overturned. Though this is not an imminent threat at the moment

it is a looming threat that would change an integral part of women’s reproductive care and health

in our country.

Roe v Wade changed the ways in which a fetus is viewed and the ways in which abortion

is regarded in the eyes of the law. It decriminalized abortion in the first trimester and dictated

that a decision to choose fell into a privacy afforded by the constitution. The idea that this

cornerstone of women’s liberation and freedom will perhaps be challenged is quite worrisome.

Overall this political climate has really made a lot of people see the inherent inequalities

that still remain engrained in our society for people of color, women, trans people and queer

people. Though we may often feel that we have progressed so far moments like Trump’s election

unify people and make them see what was perhaps less blatant before. I remember when Trump

laughed about sexual assault casually or when he demeaned his opponent by insinuating that she

was menstruating. All these things should scare us, they mean that in our country a bully and a

sexual predator, a racist and a bigot are all still acceptable things to be. These countless ignorant

remarks only serve to show us the flaws in our own society. It scares me to think that young girls

are growing up and hearing that kind of rhetoric from the President of the United State, a person

who is meant to embody dignity and respect. Instead, Trump is another source which tells young

women they are not to be valued and respected. I found Hillary Clinton’s concession speech to

be very honest and touching amidst the disappointment. I remember so clearly when she said,

“Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day,

someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girl

whose are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every

chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams”. Therefore, for my

advocacy project I would like to emphasize the importance of a woman’s right to choose and her

access to reproductive health services both domestically and abroad with the Global Gag Rule

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