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University of New Hampshire senior Betsy Walsh holds a candle to remember lives lost because of unsafe abortions at a vigil Wednesday night on the Durham campus.

DURHAM — Speaking at a vigil at the University of New Hampshire Wednesday night, Amy McCall, a #Fight4HER NH Organizer, said thousands of lives are lost each year globally because of unsafe abortions.

She said the global gag rule, a policy reinstated and expanded by President Donald Trump two years ago, stops foreign organizations receiving U.S. global health assistance from providing information, referrals or services for legal abortions.

The policy was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. According to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, it targets programs that also provide contraception, prevent HIV and AIDS, combat malaria and improve the health of children.

Melvine Ouyo of Family Health Options in Kenya told the crowd gathered in Murkland Courtyard that women as young as 15 are dying because they do not have access to safe abortions.

Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, talked about the fight for Planned Parenthood funding in the Granite State.

“Every two years, we have to fight against legislators that would take away the right of a woman to make her own health care decisions,” Fuller Clark said.

Deborah Opramolla, who is tri-chair of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign, said it is important for people to rally around each other on the issue.

“The gag rule is immoral,” Opramolla said before the event. “And all gag orders are immoral that affect a woman and her own body.”

The #Fight4HER national campaign has been active in Durham since 2017. It is connected to the Population Connection Action Fund, a nonprofit advocating for increased U.S. family planning funding domestically, and particularly internationally.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021