On January 23 it has been one year since Trump reinstated the “Global Gag Rule” – endangering thousands of lives through millions of unsafe abortions. It cuts all US funding to organizations working with abortions. To acknowledge the devastating consequences, The Swedish Association For Sexuality Education has created an unorthodox anniversary gift, together with an open letter to President Trump.
”We might be a small organization in Trump’s eyes but this matter is way too big and important not to mobilize all good efforts that can stand up for people’s right to decide about their bodies.” says Maria Andersson, Executive Director for The Swedish Association For Sexuality Education (RFSU)
President Trump is on the march against abortion rights. This Friday, at the annual March for Life in Washington, Trump became the first sitting president to address the anti-abortion rally via live video, for example saying that America has ”some of the most permissive laws anywhere in the world” and that ”it has to change”. Trump also bragged about his achievements since taking office. (Transcription of the President’s full speech: http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/369761-full-speech-addressing-march-for-life-trump-touts-advances-in-anti)
And although it has been one year since the inauguration of Donald Trump, it only took him a few hours in the White House to reinstate the Mexico City Policy – projected to contribute to more than 15,000 maternal deaths and well over three million unsafe abortions. The policy is often referred to as the Global Gag Rule, as it blocks many organizations financially from creating prerequisites for safe aborts throughout the world.
The policy dictates that an organization that receives American funding can’t carry out any kind of work related to abortions, not even if they use their own funds or by financial support from other countries. Republican presidents have instated the policy ever since Ronald Reagan. But it has never been as extensive as the Trump version.
“The irony of the Global Gag Rule is that it will not reduce the number of abortions, historically they have rather increased and become more dangerous. Women are forced to have abortions in unsafe and often life-threatening conditions. And people living in poverty are most vulnerable.” says Maria Andersson
In September 2017, RFSU created the fashion brand ELISE that features messages about Body Rights and everyone’s freedom to decide about their body, sexuality and identity. The clothing has for example been worn by the Swedish Minister of Culture, Alice Bah Kuhnke and by internationally acknowledged artists such as Zara Larsson and Icona Pop.
As an anniversary gift to President Trump, RFSU has created a new piece for the ELISE collection, featuring the message ”Make Abortions Safe Again”. The gift will arrive to Trump on January 23, together with an open letter also published on rfsu.se/makeabortionssafeagain. In the letter, RFSU asks Trump to withdraw the Global Gag Rule, and reminds the president about his earlier pro-choice statement on NBC from October 24, 1999, proclaiming his support for women’s right to decide.
Film featuring the letter and the package being sent to President Trump
Please contact Matilda Ström
Press Manager at RFSU (The Swedish Association For Sexuality Education)
- +46 72 599 21 72
The open letter to President Trump in full text
Dear Mr Trump,
It’s been a year since you re-introduced the Global Gag Rule, cutting all US funding to organizations across the world that so much as mention the word “abortion”. Ironically, this will not reduce the number of abortions – instead they will increase and become more dangerous.
When laws go low, unsafe abortions go high.
Let’s grab this matter by the facts. The Global Gag Rule is projected to contribute to:
- More than 3 million unsafe abortions
- More than 15 thousand maternal deaths
People living in poverty are most vulnerable. Millions and millions of lives are at stake.
That’s a huge number, a very, very big number.
You can’t make abortions go away. Believe me. But you can make them safe again.
Please remove the Global Gag Rule and remember what you said on October 24, 1999 on NBC: “I am very pro-choice”. After all, changing your mind on abortion will only cost you a Pence.
From our point of view, Choice Trumps All.
Executive Director at RFSU (The Swedish Association For Sexuality Education)