Marx as soon as wrote that historical past repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. As a feminist who was on the frontlines of battles to guard reproductive rights in the time of George W. Bush, that appears notably apt in the present day.
I keep in mind clearly how I felt once I awoke on Wednesday, November eight, 2000, not understanding who was president. I keep in mind the combination of hope and trepidation, figuring out that a number of “hanging chads” in Florida might imply the distinction between a president who would advance women’s sexual and reproductive rights and a president who would undermine them. The month of counting and recounting that adopted was an emotional rollercoaster. On December 12, when the US Supreme Court handed Florida’s electoral votes to Bush, my hopes have been dashed. From Bush’s first day in workplace—when he reinstated the dangerous Global Gag Rule that forestalls organizations receiving US funding from even speaking about abortion—women’s autonomy, our bodies, and rights have been underneath assault.
I used to be then at the begin of my profession preventing for women’s and women’ rights. I spent the subsequent eight years working in solidarity with feminists round the globe to oppose Bush’s regressive insurance policies.
At occasions it was absurd: I keep in mind listening to US diplomats argue the deserves of the Billings Ovulation Method as a type of contraception. Most of the time it was miserable: US diplomats tried to maintain adolescents in the darkish about their our bodies and their burgeoning sexualities, and sought to counter any point out of unsafe abortions and reproductive rights in international agreements. In some methods, Bush’s excessive positions sparked a robust counter response and a change in international management on these issues. Latin American nations started the transition from opposing entry to abortion to championing reproductive rights. Countries from throughout Asia banded collectively to isolate the US and oppose its bullying techniques. The European Union emerged as a stalwart chief. The US was politically remoted. We didn’t advance international insurance policies on sexual and reproductive rights throughout the Bush years, however we managed to stop setbacks.
The Obama Administration ushered in a welcome change as the US turned a pacesetter on women’s health and rights globally. Just final yr, US diplomats led the cost for gender equality, women’s rights, and reproductive rights to be at the middle of the groundbreaking 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. They fought to guard the rights of women and women of numerous sexual orientations and gender identities. They have been stalwart champions of adolescents’ rights to complete sexuality schooling and sexual and reproductive health care.
Some say it’s too early to inform what a Trump presidency will imply on this entrance. I disagree. Trump’s said want to limit entry to protected, authorized abortion providers, mixed with the most regressive Republican Party platform on sexual and reproductive rights, spell catastrophe. Trump has put collectively an anti-choice council to advise him. He shall be listening to Vice President Mike Pence, an extremist governor who sought to drive women in Indiana to carry funerals for fetal stays. Trump’s repudiation of multilateralism signifies that, at greatest, the US will not prioritize important international agreements, like the Sustainable Development Goals. At worst, the US will undermine them, particularly if President Trump follows via on his promise to tug the US out of the Paris Agreement on local weather change, a important pact for the health and nicely being of the world’s individuals and planet.
The election of one other strongman, President Rodrigo Duterte, in the Philippines, the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, and the crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey after the failed coup try, bodes poorly for human rights, and notably women’s rights, globally. The nations of the European Union, additionally in the midst of social and political upheaval, have fallen silent on these issues. In this context, the very actual risk that the Trump Administration will work hand in hand with the likes of Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the Catholic Church to undermine women’s human rights globally is extraordinarily worrying.
Yet the international feminist motion provides me hope. Our willingness to work collectively in solidarity to withstand assaults on our rights provides me hope. Just this yr, feminists in Poland efficiently resisted efforts by a right-wing authorities to additional curtail women’s already restricted entry to abortion. In Argentina, hundreds of women went on strike to protest gender-based violence and push the authorities to truly implement its progressive legal guidelines to fight it. In El Salvador, a harsh regulation that criminalizes abortion in all instances—together with when a lady’s life is at danger—seems to be set to fall. And globally, IWHC and feminists from round the world mobilized to place women’s rights at the middle of the 2030 Agenda. We will work even more durable to defend it and forestall critical setbacks for women and women.
We are resilient. We will battle. If nothing else is obvious proper now, that is: our work is extra necessary than it has ever been.