The SheDecides movement emerged as a response to the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule (GGR) – a US policy which has devastating effects for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls across the globe. The GGR (also known as the Mexico City Policy) was first introduced in 1984 under the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In January 2017, an expanded version was signed by President Donald Trump. Importantly, this latest version of the GGR applies to all global health funds provided by the US government (where previous versions were concerned with family planning funds). In effect, the GGR ensures that non-US organisations providing information, referrals for abortion, safe abortion services, and engaging in activism to improve abortion legislation, are banned from receiving US funds. Moreover, the latest version prevents organisations from using their own or other people’s funds for these same purposes.
One year later, various individuals and organisations from across the globe will mobilise on SheDecides Day (2 March 2018) in support of the principles of the SheDecides movement. Adding our support to this movement, the Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction (CSSR) research unit will be hosting a panel discussion that will examine the impact of this policy within the South African context. In particular, discussion will explore the impact of the GGR for individual women, and civil society organizations working in the fields of sexuality, reproduction, and human rights in South Africa. Panellists will include Siviwe Mhlana (NALSU), Dumisa Sofika (CSSR), and Yanela Ndabula (CSSR). Discussion will be chaired by Catriona Macleod. We hope that activists, leaders, and supporters from the UCKAR and Grahamstown community will join us in this global day of action for the SheDecides movement, and encourage others to stand up, speak out, and take action to challenge those forces that would deny women and girls the right to make decisions that are theirs, and theirs alone.
This article was written for and originally published on the CSSR website and is accessible at https://www.ru.ac.za/criticalstudies/latestnews/thecssrresearchunitaddsitssupporttotheshedecidesmovement.html
Posted by Sarah-Ann Moore
CSSR Masters Student