- 2017 National Women's Conference
- 17 February 2017
Conference notes that since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America on the 20th January 2017, his initial actions as President have set a tone of undermining the hard fought rights of Women across the world.
As one of his first acts as President, Donald Trump decided to put the rights of women at risk by reinstating the so-called “global gag rule”. The rule blocks US federal international funding for non-governmental organisations that provide abortion counselling or referrals, advocate to decriminalise abortion or expand abortion services – even though the US does not fund these services itself.
The Global Gag rule also known as the Mexico City Policy was first introduced by Ronald Regan in 1984, this rule has been routinely removed by Democratic Presidents but re-instated by Republicans. Evidence from the Bush administrations proved that the global gag rule was a barrier to the provision of safe & effective sexual & reproductive health services for women in Africa and Central / South America.
The true effect of this was highlighted by a letter from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to their major donors that was reported in the Guardian on Tuesday 14th February 2017. They said “The changes are expected to result in funding from the world’s biggest donor to family planning and women’s health programmes in the developing world being slashed. It could, Bill Gates told the Guardian, “create a void that even a foundation like ours can’t fill”.
Not content with re-instating the gag rule, Trump is extending the rule’s powers so that it no longer applies solely to family planning assistance given by the US government, but also to funding given to NGOs focusing on disease control.
Figures quoted in The Guardian estimate that 22,000 women will die this year because of unsafe abortions, and 8.4 million more will suffer serious illness or injury. Millions more will lose access to contraceptives and condoms because the NGOs who once provided them with such services will no longer exist.
Conference celebrates the activities of the millions of women who used the day after the inauguration to protest. From small towns to the massive marches in Washington DC, women showed on a global scale that we are not prepared to lose any of our hard fought rights without a fight.
Conference calls upon the National Women’s Committee to work alongside the NEC, Abortion Rights and appropriate international partners to minimise the effect of this change in the short term & to continue to campaign against Trump’s attacks on Womens’ rights.