Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Global Gag Rule Reinstated Two Days After Women March

We have so much work to do. Every day, we must make our views known to our elected representatives. With this in mind, what is troubling me right now? Our new president, surrounded by a gaggle of white men, just signed an executive order reinstating the global gag rule. What this means is that the U.S. will stop financial support of a world wide program that supplies contraceptives and family planning information. Ronald Reagan was the first to put the global gag rule in place in 1984. Bill Clinton rescinded it. Bush reinstated it. Obama rescinded it.
Republican white men don't waste time when there is an opportunity to control women's child-bearing options. Seems only Democrats want women worldwide to have access to contraceptives and family planning, and support funding to international organizations.
The issue here is not about spending U.S. government money on abortions, though even the Huffington Post headline makes it seem that way. Our country hasn't funded abortions abroad since 1973. No, this is about contraceptives and family planning information. With contraceptives, there is less need for abortions, safe or unsafe. As a funder, the U.S. greatly reduces the numbers of dangerous abortions that lead to maternal death.
This is one of the issues for which we marched last Saturday in Austin, Houston, Seattle, New York Los Angeles, San Francisco, Marfa, Washington and cities all over the country and the world. We marched for a woman's right to control her own body. And yes, we marched for equal pay and job opportunities, good schools, clean air and water, safe food. I'd call these simply basic human rights.
Which leads me to my second point. I've read several op/ed pieces in which the writer says that the millions of folks who marched might lack focus, might not have 'a next step' in place, might be a flash in the pan. I disagree. Vehemently. Maybe The Wall Street Journal's headline got it right: Women March For Everything Under the Progressive Sun.

Yes, we did march for 'everything' and that is the point. The WSJ wonders about our ability to articulate our mission, our ability to gather behind a single goal. Really? 'Everything IS a single goal' if it means equal rights for every human being: jobs with living wages, good educational opportunities, clean air and water, safe food and housing.
Crowds diverse in age, gender and ethnicity carried signs covering the range of human rights, marched together with good will and humor, and there was not one arrest in the entire world. A journalist interviewed on MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell's late Saturday evening show said it well, "Marchers were modeling the kind of world in which we want to live."
The world in which we want to live is not portrayed in the picture of white men witnessing the reinstatement of the global gag rule.

(BTW, I am searching for this journalist's name and will add in.)

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