Fight4HER locals protest global gag rule
Students and concerned citizens gathered recently outside Sen. Pat Toomey’s Allentown office to show community support for the Global HER Act and call on Sen. Toomey to recognize the importance of reproductive rights and healthcare access for women and people across the globe. They delivered to Toomey over 2,400 petitions, 27 local business endorsements, and four community group endorsements, the quantity of which continues to grow.
Media Coordinator Emily Saks said in a statement, members of Tuesdays with Toomey, representatives from Make the Road PA, and other supporters were in attendance. Mohan Seshadri, regional field director for Planned Parenthood spoke at the rally. “Pat Toomey has the record of time and time and time again voting against the interests of his constituents, and I for one am tired of it,” he said, inciting cries of support and applause from the crowd.
Maggie Mateo, volunteer coordinator for the PA Chapter of the #Fight4HER Campaign and an Allentown resident, said, “The community has shown their support for this cause. Senator Toomey needs to do so as well.”
Crystal Mor, the lead grassroots organizer for the #Fight4HER Campaign in Pennsylvania, wrapped up the rally, saying, “Now is the time to act. We know that together our voices are strong…and our voices are strongest before an election. Now is the time to speak and come together.”
The event was organized by the #Fight4HER campaign, a grassroots movement working to raise awareness about President Trump’s Global Gag Rule, which cuts funding for international health aid to global healthcare organizations that mention abortion. This restrictive policy has been found to increase abortions, especially unsafe abortions and maternal deaths.
According to Saks, President Trump has radically expanded the Global Gag Rule to restrict funding not only to family planning programs around the world, but to all global health efforts, putting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, nutrition programs all at risk. It’s a devastating policy that inflicts tremendous suffering on some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule and ensure that clinics continue to receive the funding they need to provide life-saving healthcare services to people in need, effectively reducing unwanted pregnancies and maternal mortality rates. The bill was introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate with 47 co-sponsors and in the House by Rep. Nita Lowey (NY 17) (with 137 co-sponsors).