Campaign to sends UNH students to Washington to defend rights

Bret Belden

Students in the Memorial Union Building’s (MUB) Union Court have been approached by volunteers asking about reproductive rights and snapping pictures for the “I will #fight4her because…” photo petition for the past couple of weeks.

As part of the “Fight4Her” campaign, this petition has been implemented in hopes of engaging the student body and finding as many leaders as possible to help develop international reproductive rights. Hosted by the student organization Voices of Planned Parenthood (VOX), this campaign was launched on Feb. 15 and is hoping to be around campus for a while.

The organization hopes to reverse Trump’s global gag rule (which bars U.S. funding for contraceptive, reproductive and other general health services around the world) and replace it with the global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) act, which will restore aid money for basic family planning and health care services.

“We’ve seen similar attacks on reproductive services worldwide,” Fight4Her’s New Hampshire field organizer, Woody Little, said. The global gag rule, according to Little, would cause “more pregnancy, more unsafe abortions and a higher maternal death rate in a lot of countries where funding is cut.”

Fight4Her is sponsored by the Population Connection Action Fund, and is mobilizing students at colleges around the country, from Arizona to North Carolina. Little, who works for the campaign, said he will be working with UNH students over the next few months to “turn the power over to students and give them a network [of activists] to tie into across the country.” When Little’s work is done at UNH, he will move onto another school, but the campaign will stay and students will continue to fight.

However, Fight4Her isn’t stopping at campus activism. On March 24 and 25, the Population Connection Action Fund will provide a grant for 15-20 people from New Hampshire, mostly UNH students, to travel to Washington, D.C., where volunteers will learn about why reproductive rights are important, attend training sessions around advocacy and have the opportunity to speak directly with their representatives to voice their hopes and concerns. Other Fight4Her chapters around the country will be sending students to D.C. as well.

Little said the campaign at UNH is still coming together and there are a lot of ideas on the table for future events. Fight4Her hopes to organize an event on March 8 for International Women’s Day.  Little also said that other schools are planning a walk-out for the “day without a woman” and Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire will be hosting a lobby day at the state capital.

“It depends on what people are interested in,” Little said.

Fight4Her’s first official meeting will be this Tuesday, Feb. 28. at 6:30 p.m. in The Waysmeet Center on Mill Road. There, students will be able to meet other volunteers, organize future events  and voice their hopes for what they want to achieve on campus.