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Fighting the Global Gag Rule

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SheDecides, Global Gag Rule, support women and girlsWhen she decides, the world is better, stronger, safer.

She decides whether, when, and with whom.

To have sex.

To fall in love.

To marry.

To have children.

She has the right.

To information, to health care, to choose.

She is free.

To feel pleasure.

To use contraception.

To access abortion safely.

To decide.

Free from pressure.

Free from harm.

Free from judgement and fear.

Because when others decide for her, she faces violence, forced marriage, oppression.

She faces risks to her health, to her dignity, to her dreams, to her life.

When she does not decide, she cannot create the life she deserves, the family she wants, a prosperous future to call her own.

We – and you, and he, and they – are uniting. Standing together with her so she can make the decisions only she should make.

Political leadership and social momentum are coming together like never before.

But we can go further, and we can do more.

From today, we fight against the fear.

We right the wrongs.

We mobilise political and financial support.

We work to make laws and policies just.

We stand up for what is right.

Together, we create the world that is better, stronger, safer.

But only if. And only when.

She. Decides.

SheDecides is a global movement to promote, provide, protect and enhance the fundamental rights of every girl and woman.

Every girl and every woman has the right to do what she chooses with her body; she has the right to health.

And these rights affect her personal development, her participation in society, her livelihood and whether her family and community thrives.

SheDecides means that every girl and every woman can safely exercise her right to decide for herself what she does with her body, who she shares her body with and whether she wants to have children.

She must have access to education and information about her body and her options, modern contraception and safe abortion.

SheDecides was launched at the start of 2017 as a global movement to support the fundamental rights of girls and women to decide freely and for themselves about their sexual lives, including whether, when, with whom and how many children they have.

SheDecides was created as an immediate response to US President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule – also known as the Mexico City Policy – a policy which has devastating effects on women, girls and their communities around the world.

The rule prevents NGOs outside the USA from receiving money from the US government if they provide safe abortions or information about abortion.

When the Global Gag Rule was in force before, the harm was clear.

Research shows that it:

Prevented women and girls from accessing contraception and safe abortion that they are legally entitled to in their countries;

Hampered HIV prevention efforts;

Contributed to the closing of health clinics;

Obstructed rural communities’ access to health care; and

Stopped people from speaking out against the laws that prevent women and girls from accessing safe and effective health care

For more background on the Global Gag Rule go to PAI, the Kaiser Family Foundation, or Guttmacher.

So this new attack on women’s rights resulted in an immediate outcry from many groups, governments and individuals.

Initiated by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and International Development, Lilianne Ploumen, SheDecides became the rallying call for leaders to stand up as a matter of urgency to protect the rights, health, safety and livelihoods of millions of girls and women around the world.

The first SheDecides conference was held in Brussels on 2 March 2017. It was co-organised by Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.

More than 50 governments attended the conference, as did participants including youth leaders, parliamentarians and representatives from UN agencies, NGOs, private foundations and the private sector.

This gathering enabled global leaders to raise their voices in support of girls’ and women’s rights and pledged their commitment to ensure that SheDecides.

This outpouring of support included 181 million Euro of new pledges and a new generation of torchbearers.

Anybody who supports the values and principles of SheDecides is invited to sign the manifesto, become a Friend of SheDecides and take an action for change – big or small – in your community.

Join the many individuals, leaders, organisations and governments around the world who are fighting for the rights of every girl and every woman everywhere to be free from coercion and oppression.

Together, we are standing up and speaking out, changing the rules and unlocking the resources that are essential for every girl and woman.

To sign, click here.

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