Global HER Act, Scheming at the UN, and Religious Refusals

Trumping Women’s Rights Digest: Delivering a Global Lens on the Administration’s Fight Against Women’s Health

Global HER Act Reintroduced in US Congress

In our last edition, we explained that the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights Act (Global HER Act) provided a critical opportunity to permanently end the deadly Global Gag Rule and protect women’s health. Today, the Global HER Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives and Senate by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), respectively.

In response to the bill’s reintroduction, IWHC’s Director of Advocacy and Policy Shannon Kowalski said, “The Global HER Act would ensure that US global health assistance in grounded in evidence rather than anti-choice ideology, and would remove the US president’s power to restrict health care for millions of women with merely a signature.”

As we have for 35 years, IWHC will continue to stand up for women’s rights and advocate for a permanent end to the Global Gag Rule.

View IWHC’s full statement on the Global HER Act.

Abortion Politics Lead US to Campaign Against Bachelet at the UN

In another failed attempt to export its anti-choice ideology at the United Nations, the Trump administration tried to block Michelle Bachelet’s appointment to UN High Commissioner of Human Rights.

Not surprisingly, Bachelet’s vocal support for abortion rights was among the United States’ chief concerns. As president of Chile, Bachelet advocated for abortion rights and approved a bill that legalized abortion under limited circumstances. Former State Department official Mari Stull, who helped lead the campaign against Bachelet, argued that Bachelet may have been fit for the job if she “hadn’t decided to become the world’s leading advocate for abortion.”

The attempt to block Bachelet’s appointment is part of a coordinated strategy to undermine sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly abortion rights, at the UN. The Trump administration has defunded the United Nations Population Fund, sought to withhold and restrict funding to UN agencies that advance gender equality, and attempted to weaken UN commitments on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Expanding Protections for Religious Refusals

The Trump administration is finalizing a new policy that would expand protection to people who deny health care services based on their personal beliefs. The draft rule would allow health care providers—ranging from receptionists to doctors—to refuse to provide care if it violated their religious or moral opinions.

These domestic tactics are part of a larger global strategy by anti-rights movements that seek to roll-back women’s and LGBTQI rights by restricting access to legal health services. The administration has championed these so-called “conscience provisions” on the global scale at venues such as the World Health Organization. Ideologues such as Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and abstinence-only advocate Valerie Huber, who was recently reassigned to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Global Affairs Office, are expected to continue to advocate for these harmful and discriminatory policies on the global level.

To learn more about refusals of care and the impact on women’s access to services, read IWHC report Unconscionable.

Sign-up to receive the Feminist Agenda to get the latest developments and IWHC analysis delivered straight to your inbox.

Photo: White House. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *