In 2017, President Donald Trump tightened the regulations of the Global Gag Rule, a policy that prevents non-governmental organizations from providing legal abortion services outside the United States – regulations that some UNC students are fighting.
Juniors Isabella Mahan and Michaiah Wilson and senior Erica Hennes are all part of #Fight4HER, a grassroots campaign founded by the Population Connection, the largest grassroots population organization in the United States, according to its website.
#Fight4HER’s mission is to block Trump’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, his 2017 extension of Ronald Reagan’s global gag rule that restricted NGOs from using any of the country’s $8.8 billion of global health funding for organizations that provide abortion services or referrals.
To counteract this policy, #Fight4HER supports a bill to block it: the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act, also known as the HER Act.
“The Global Gag Rule has had a deadly impact on mothers across the world,” Wilson said. “Reproductive health includes so much more than just abortion. It’s simple as wanting to get contraceptives from family planning organizations.”
While #Fight4HER is not a campus-affiliated club, as a grassroots campaign, it does rely on the community, Mahan said.
“This is something for students to get involved with. It is a grassroots organization, so we depend on the community getting involved,” Mahan said. “This isn’t just a women’s issue.”
Hennes, the petition coordinator for the campaign, said that petitioning is one of the most important things the campaign does.
At the beginning of the semester, the campaign had a goal to collect 1,200 signatures on a petition to get the HER Act passed. Hennes said the campaign has reached over two-thirds of its goal with 933 signatures. Petitioning is the best way to find volunteers, she said.