Donald Trump's administration risks a severe blow to women's rights and health, even far beyond the borders of the United States. In a situation where the United States may withdraw assistance in efforts related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, it is all the more important that other countries intensify their work in this area. That is why we are demonstrating tomorrow in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington, write Kristina Ljungros and Maria Andersson from RFSU.
Tomorrow, January 21, approximately 2 people are expected to march in more than 000 places around the world to raise awareness of the threats to the rights of women, minorities and LGBTQ people. A threat that has increased since Donald Trump took office as the new president of the United States. In Stockholm, we march, together with others involved, from Norrmalmstorg to the US Embassy.
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is not just a matter of women's rights in the United States, but risks being a severe blow to both the rights and health of women far beyond the country's borders. Both during the election campaign and until his inauguration, Donald Trump has announced that he intends to attack the right to abortion, among other things by appointing an abortion opponent as a judge in the US Supreme Court. Likewise, the abolition of Barack Obama's health care reform, Obamacare, will hit primarily women's health in terms of everything from maternity care and abortion care to contraception and early detection of cervical cancer. Particularly affected are the most vulnerable, who cannot afford private health insurance.
Donald Trump has also stated that he wants to withdraw the government grants that enable our sister organization in the United States, Planned Parenthood, to provide care for free or at a low cost. Planned Parenthood works with counseling and information about sex and cohabitation, reproductive health, contraception and abortion. Every fifth American woman has ever come here for questions about reproductive health.
Trump's accession will probably also mean sharp cuts and changes in aid. The United States accounts for about 30 percent of global maternal health assistance, and currently about half of that assistance is estimated to go to contraception and contraceptive counseling. But since Ronald Reagan, Republican presidents have applied the so-called Global Gag rule, which means stopping aid to organizations that are for legal abortion. This means that an organization that receives American aid may not work with the abortion issue even with its own funds, or with support from other countries such as Sweden. The rule will mainly hit people living in poverty in low- and middle-income countries. Many organizations working with abortion care and contraceptive counseling will be forced to cease their activities, and this in turn means that an innumerable number of women will die as a result of unsafe abortions as well as insufficient resources and inadequate hygiene during childbirth.
In a situation where the United States may withdraw aid for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) efforts, it is all the more important that other countries form new alliances and are prepared to cover for the loss of financial support that we now fear. . Sweden can make a big difference by working for international political alliances on SRHR issues, as it has undertaken to do in the pronounced feminist foreign policy. In the meantime, Sweden, as chair of the UN Security Council, has an opportunity to lead the work of creating new aid alliances.
By marching on Saturday, we want to draw attention to what Trump's policy may mean, not only in the United States but also globally. We want to call on the Swedish government to intensify its efforts to ensure international development cooperation for sexual and reproductive rights. A feminist foreign policy is needed more than ever.
Kristina Ljungros & Maria Andersson
More information about Women's March Stockholm can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1017527325059920/.