Friday, May 26, 2017

Protest Trump's Global Gag Rule and a Bike Ride in the Rain #TrumpGlobalGag & #GlobalGagRule

Eric McGregor

One of my favorite classes to teach every semester is human sexuality.  This semester the class was particularly compelling.  We had long talks about public health, family planning, sex work, battling stigma, and personal autonomy.  One of the most important tools in preventing poverty is family planning.  And we discussed why.  Many of the students in the class have kids or come from big families.  Its hard having a kid when one wants one, much less without planning.  So family planning becomes a vital tool for helping people making decisions about what kind of family they can sustain.  Without this, family life becomes oppressive and overwhelming. A core debate in the class involves questions about comprehensive vs abstinence based sexuality education.  Over time, most of the students came to see that comprehensive sexuality education is a vital tool in preventing the spread of disease, preventing pregnancies, and developing healthy sexuality.  Frank discussion about sex helps. 

Of course, the Global Gag Rule impedes this process, restricting the kinds of evidence based harm reduction education that help provide tools and access to healthcare for women, for sex workers, for those in need. It puts comprehensive healthcare services out of reach, putting women at risk, expanding disease. 

US aid dollars should be based on evidence not dogma, yet this is a dance that administrations play - dancing between ideas or morality vs those of public health. Reagan started the Mexico City Rule, the predecessor to the Gag Rule; Clinton rescinded it.  Bush put it back in place; Obama ended it again.  And Trump put it back in place two days after the Women's March on Washington. 

So, on Thursday, I my jumped on my bike out into the rain to meet my friends in Rise and Resist and ACT UP to protest Trump's Global Gag Rule.  The rain poured through my raincoat, through my clothes, soaking me.  By the time I got to the rally, I felt as though I had been thrown in a bathtub.  I took a few pictures and then joined the crowd, putting on my own #TrumpGlobalGag gag on my mouth.  "Pick a side," Erik suggested, noting i should pick my role, as a photographer or a participant.  I prefer to be a both, participant observation and observation of participation.
"Get up close with each other," Mark Milano urged everyone. 
"You promise," I replied. 
"Its more of a threat."
We all squeezed together for the group shot that Erik took, featured above. 

And we rode back to Brooklyn, where I finished my last day teaching, rode into the financial district for a Union meeting, back to Brooklyn to meet some friends at House of Yes.   The show was sold out so we sat and talked.  It was still raining as I home, admiring the graffiti, making my way down Wyckoff Avenue, to Myrtle Ave on my way back home.  The city felt alive, with bodies, ideas, conflicts and lots of raindrops. 

The organizers for the Protest Trump's Global Gag Rule  posted about the action. 

In spite of inclement weather, women's rights advocates & global health activists demonstrated outside Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle on Thursday, May 25th at 12:00pm to protest Trump's 'global gag rule', a deadly policy for women and girls around the world. To illustrate the harmful effects of the 'global gag rule', health professionals and advocates watched, bound and gagged, as fellow activists staged a symbolic die-in with tombstones and body bags.


→Media Inquiries:
Organizations including STOPAIDS, Just Treatment, and ACT UP London demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 2LQ


Solidarity actions from allies including Section27 and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)

Solidarity actions from allies including Coalition Plus

Join the action online by sharing a selfie using the hashtags#TrumpGlobalGag & #GlobalGagRule and by sharing these images from our social media toolkit:

1) Spread the word to increase awareness of the 'global gag rule'. Here's a link to a social media toolkit to get you started:

2) Urge your representatives in Congress to support the 'Global HER Act' and the 'She Decides' initiative
3) Reach out to any of the sponsoring organizations of this protest to stay informed about future actions you can take
Trump's Global Gag Rule...
-silences healthcare professionals from providing accurate medical information to women and girls
–limits access to contraceptives
–limits HIV treatment and prevention efforts
-would lead to an increase unsafe abortions
-would lead to an increase in maternal deaths
Evidence that this policy increases maternal mortality–

To understand how the global gag rule will affect women around the world, check out this statement from the IWHC–

And this statement from CHANGE–
To undertsand the impact of the global gag rule on people with HIV/AIDS around the world, check out this statement from Health GAP–

For general info about the global gag rule, see this fact sheet from the Kaiser Family Foundation–

To learn how you can resist this policy through legislation, watch this video from CHANGE–

How does the 'global gag rule' impact the fight to end AIDS?
Trump’s Global Gag Rule prohibits foreign service providers who receive U.S. funding from even speaking about the value of safe abortion services, meaning women’s health and HIV services will be severed from one another, undermining the global AIDS response.
Rise & Resist
Health Global Access Project (Health GAP)
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
African Services Committee
International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC)
ACT UP New York
Metro New York Health Care for All
Women's Health & Reproductive Rights (WHARR) of #GetOrganizedBK
ACT UP London (U.K.)
Just Treatment (U.K)

If your organization would like to get involved in future 'global gag rule' actions, email 

A bike ride home on a rainy night in Brooklyn. 

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