· Autonomy, Choice, and the Fight
for Women's Health · GHV Malaria Case Study · Where in the World is GHV?
Autonomy, Choice, and the Fight for Women's Health By Savannah Russo and Susan Fox
Today we are fighting the same fight as generations of women who came before us – a constant battle to protect our sexual and reproductive freedoms and ensure our ability to make choices that affect our bodies. It is a harrowing reality, exacerbated by the conservative political climate and a foray of misogynistic attitudes sweeping the globe.
For instance, since 2017 we have watched the early implementation of the Trump Administration’s reinstated – and radically expanded – Global Gag Rule (GGR) prohibit U.S. funding to foreign NGOs that advocate for or provide access to abortion information, referrals or services, even with their own non-U.S. funds.Evidence tells us that iterations of this policy have disastrous effects on women and health systems and are associated with increased abortion rates, many of which are unsafe.But with the extension of this policy affecting anywhere from $600 million in funding for family planning to $8.8 billion that stretches across nearly all U.S. funding for global health,we are bracing for unprecedented impact. This devastating policy was also further expanded last month to prevent funding for complying organizations that provide financial support to non-complying entities. 
In order to better understand how this policy is playing out, GHV was privileged to work in partnership with Planned Parenthood Global to research and develop a report entitled Assessing the Global Gag Rule: Harms to Health, Community, and Advocacy. We found, as a direct result of this policy, disruptions that include shuttered and reduced health services, weakened civil society, divided communities, and squandered local training and resources – all of which will have a negative impact on public and individual health for years to come. The people being hardest hit by the Global Gag Rule are those who are already the most vulnerable.
It is clear that this policy is just one of the Administration’s strategies to reverse progress on women’s rights. At the recent United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women, the U.S. reportedly sought to undermine global commitments on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights.This year we also saw the removal of the analysis on women’s reproductive health rights in the State Department’s 2018 global human rights report for the second year in a row and The White House’s FY20 budget request in March proposed cuts to international family planning/reproductive health funding for the third year in a row.
While U.S. policies continue to hinder the access to quality care for many women globally, the domestic reality is just as grim. For example, Georgia and Ohio recently passed restrictive ‘heartbeat’ bills, which prohibit an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is heard, leaving many women without access to safe abortion.Kentucky and Mississippi also signed into law similar mandates and many other states are expected to follow suit, including Florida and Texas.With the Trump Administration promising to repeal Roe V. Wade and espousing disconcerting, false rhetoric regarding late-term abortions, concern about women’s access to safe and legal abortion in the U.S. is growing by the day. This comes on the heels of the Administration’s recent changes to Title X, a program that provides federal dollars for family planning services in low-income communities.New rules from the Department of Health and Human Services based on ideology, and not evidence, require clear delineation between abortion and other health services, all in an attempt to limit women’s access to safe abortion and redirect funding from abortion providers to pro-life clinics in the United States.
The good news is that states are fighting back to protect women’s health and rights here in the U.S. and globally. Twenty-one states have filed lawsuits against the Trump Administration in response to Title X , and the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act, a bill that would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule, was reintroduced to Congress last month.
Now is the time to use our citizen power, and our votes, to hold U.S. decision-makers accountable to defend women’s autonomy, choice, and health. We can demand that U.S. policymakers stand up for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and speak out against restrictive policies and false narratives. With 46 co-sponsors in theSenateand 169 in theHouse of Representatives,check to see if your congressional representative is supporting the Global HER Act.
Protecting women’s sexual and reproductive rights in the U.S. and around the world has never been more important. Women have been leading this fight for decades, and we won’t stop now. Let’s make the generations of women who came before us proud.
GHV Malaria Case Study
By Nathan Perkins
Progress towards malaria burden reduction and control has stalled in recent years, according to the 2018 World Malaria Report. Renewed funding commitments from donors and increased endemic country funding are required to regain momentum and accelerate progress in the future.
Many of the tools needed to reduce burden are available now. If scaled up effectively, using improved data to guide their use, these tools can save lives and set the stage for elimination. New tools and innovations will also be needed on the path to eradication, to address challenging geographies and resistance.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in collaboration with Rotarian Malaria Partners (RMP), are working at the nexus of these coordinated programmatic and advocacy efforts, with the support of Global Health Visions (GHV).
Drawing on extensive Rotary experience in global campaigns to end polio, RMP North America and its Ugandan and Zambian counterparts (RMP-U and RMP-Z, respectively) have initiated programs that strengthen Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) in districts in Uganda and in the Copperbelt Province in Zambia, which targets malaria, as well as childhood illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea, promotes early recognition, prompt diagnostic testing, and appropriate treatment for children under five at their home or in the community. In addition to iCCM, RMP programs train community health workers (CHWs) and equip them with the tools to expand access to services in communities across the region.
At the same time, an effort is underway by RMP to mobilize leadership and funding among Rotary Large Clubs in North America to support these efforts. The belief is that progress in Uganda and Zambia, led by local RMP chapters, will galvanize additional support among Rotarians across North America and the world, enabling programs to be strengthened, scaled up, and adapted in other priority geographies.
As part of its work with the malaria team at the Gates Foundation, GHV has been supporting this new chapter of the foundation’s longstanding partnership with Rotary. GHV facilitated a design workshop to produce a Results Framework that aligns with the foundation’s strategic goals and theory of change. In parallel with the launch of this effort, the foundation and RMP addressed high-level stakeholder audiences at the Rotary Large Club North America Conference in February 2019. At the conference, the foundation’s Malaria Director, Philip Welkhoff announced a funding matchto support Rotary’s malaria-related efforts in the Copperbelt and beyond.
Just as Rotary has been a critical partner in ending polio across the world, we hope that our efforts with the foundation and RMP contribute to the start of building a groundswell of Rotarian support for malaria moving forward. GHV has been pleased to support this partnership, one that is grounded in evidence and action and has showcased the power of working together for greater impact.
*June 3-6, the Global Health Visions team will be attending theWomen Deliver Conference in Vancouverto connect with partners, hold bilateral meetings with potential partners, and be part of the conversations to identify solutions to move the needle forward for girls and women. Nejla Liias, GHV's President and Founder, Susannah Hurd, GHV's Vice President, and Savannah Russo, a GHV Senior Consultant, will be in attendance.
*March 28-29, Nejla attended the Georgetown 2019 Women's Forum and spoke on a panel entitled,Beyond the Statistics: A Discussion on Health Disparities. Nejla discussed the many barriers that lead to health disparities and impact the health of women around the world. She also outlined necessary solutions for addressing these disparities, including empowering women and civil society to raise their voices and systematically engaging more women in political processes.
Is your organization attending? Do you need support to plan a meeting, side event, report launch or another exciting opportunity?Do you want to set up a bilateral meeting with the GHV team onsite?
If so, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
References: Autonomy, Choice, and the Fight for Women's Health
“Understanding the Policy– Gag Rule.” PAI, trumpglobalgagrule.pai.org/understanding-the-policy/.
Bendavid, Eran, et al. (2011). “United States Aid Policy and Induced Abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 89, 873-880C.
Assessing the Global Gag Rule: Harms to Health, Communities, and Advocacy. Planned Parenthood Global, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/81/9d/819d9000-5350-4ea3-b699-1f12d59ec67f/181231-ggr-d09.pdf.
Pompeo, Michael R. “Remarks to the Press.” U.S. Department of State, 26 Mar. 2019, www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/03/290669.htm.
Amy Lieberman. “US 'Regressive' Stance at CSW Dominates UN's Largest Meeting on Women.” Devex, 27 Mar. 2018, www.devex.com/news/us-regressive-stance-at-csw-dominates-un-s-largest-meeting-on-women-92410.
Lynch, Colum, and Robbie Gramer. “At the U.N., America Turns Back the Clock on Women's Rights.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 14 Mar. 2019, foreignpolicy.com/2019/03/14/at-united-nations-women-rights-gender-health-trump-diplomacy/.
Olivera, Katherine. “By Removing Reproductive Rights, State Department Sets a Dangerous Precedent in US Human Rights Reports.” International Women's Health Coalition, 29 Mar. 2019, iwhc.org/2018/05/reproductive-rights-state-department-human-rights-reports/.
“Third Time Is Not the Charm-President's Budget Request Again Proposes Slashing Overseas Family Planning Funding.” PAI, pai.org/newsletters/third-time-is-not-the-charm-presidents-budget-request-again-proposes-slashing-overseas-family-planning-funding/.
Mervosh, Sarah. “Georgia Is Latest State to Pass Fetal Heartbeat Bill as Part of Growing Trend.” TheNew York Times,https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/30/us/georgia-fetal-heartbeat-abortion-law.html.
Rosenberg, Gabe. “A Bill Banning Most Abortions Becomes Law In Ohio.” NPR, NPR, 11 Apr. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/04/11/712455980/a-bill-banning-most-abortions-becomes-law-in-ohio.
Mervosh, Sarah. “Georgia Is Latest State to Pass Fetal Heartbeat Bill as Part of Growing Trend.” TheNew York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/30/us/georgia-fetal-heartbeat-abortion-law.html.
Affairs, Office of Population. “Title X Family Planning.” HHS.gov, US Department of Health and Human Services, 7 Sept. 2018, www.hhs.gov/opa/title-x-family-planning/index.html.
“Trump to Bar Abortion Referrals by Family Planning Clinics.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-bar-abortion-referrals-family-planning-clinics-n974691.
“States Ready Lawsuits to Block New Trump Administration Abortion Policy.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/states-sue-block-new-trump-administration-abortion-policy-n979111.
“States Ready Lawsuits to Block New Trump Administration Abortion Policy.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/states-sue-block-new-trump-administration-abortion-policy-n979111. "DC and 21 States File Lawsuit over New Title X Family Planning Rules.” Jurist, www.jurist.org/news/2019/03/dcand-21-states-file-lawsuit-over-new-title-x-family-planning-rules/.
“Global HER Act.” Change - Center for Health and Gender Equity, www.genderhealth.org/the_issues/us_foreign_policy/global_her_act/
“The Global HER Act.” Population Connection, www.populationconnection.org/article/the-global-her-act/.
GHV Malaria Case Study
“This Year's World Malaria Report at a Glance.” World Health Organization, 8 Jan. 2019, www.who.int/malaria/media/world-malaria-report-2018/en/.