International Women’s Day is this Friday, March 8th. On this day and every day, we’re celebrating the achievements of women everywhere while recognizing that there is still much work to be done to ensure women can lead full, empowered lives. Structural barriers that keep women from fully participating in society are still endemic in many parts of the world—and one of the most damaging is the widespread lack of access to modern contraception. In fact, 214 million women in the developing world currently have an unmet need for family planning—meaning that they’ve indicated a desire to delay or prevent pregnancy but are not taking effective measures to do so.
The ability to control their own fertility gives women the ability to control their own futures—to continue their educations, begin and advance in careers, choose suitable partners, and decide when to have children and how large to make their families. Giving women the agency to make the choices that are best for them has wide-reaching impacts on their families and their communities. And, with a global population that is growing by more than 80 million people a year, fulfilling this unmet need for family planning has truly global implications.
Trump’s Global Gag Rule, imposed shortly after his inauguration, has had a chilling effect on family planning providers in the developing world, where unmet need is greatest and population is increasing most rapidly. To fight back, we launched the #Fight4HER campaign in 2017 with our sister organization, Population Connection Action Fund. This grassroots campaign is focused on supporting the Global HER Act, a bill put forward in both houses of Congress to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Passing the Global HER Act will ensure that no woman will ever have her access to family planning hindered by the whims of an ideologically-motivated American president. Because everyone seeking reproductive health care should be able to get it, without exceptions, no matter where they live.
You can learn more about our #Fight4HER campaign at iwillfight4HER.org. Nearly 30,000 activists around the country have already joined us in the fight for HER in their communities. This International Women’s Day, we’re standing together with women everywhere to affirm that family planning matters, and that meeting the current unmet need is a human rights issue that has profound implications for our entire planet.