After months of silence, Sheryl Sandberg took a stand against Donald Trump

Trump tech meeting
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, left, at a meeting with other tech leaders at Trump Tower. Getty/ Drew Angerer

Sheryl Sandberg spoke out on Thursday against Donald Trump’s anti-abortion executive order.

The Facebook COO published a post on her Facebook page that chronicles her time working in India, the healthcare issues she witnessed there, and why she believes Trump’s recent move to reinstate the global gag rule — which bans US-funded groups around the world from discussing abortion — will hurt women worldwide.

“We don’t have to guess — we know what this will do,” Sandberg wrote in her post. “The last time the global gag rule was in effect, research showed more women who lost access to contraception had unwanted pregnancies and abortion rates doubled. The best way to prevent abortion is through more family planning services, not fewer.”

While the reissuing of the gag rule didn’t come as a surprise — past incoming presidents have used it to signal their positions on abortion rights — Sandberg says that this rule is more strict than in the past.

“It bans health organisations around the world from providing counseling on all family planning options,” Sandberg wrote. “If they refuse to abide by the ban, they could lose millions in funding from the United States. And this ban is harsher and broader than past orders by past presidents, because it covers every program that falls under global health assistance. That means it will hurt more people.”

Sandberg has become something of a feminist leader in a recent years after the publishing of her best-selling book, “Lean In,” and a women-focused nonprofit by the same name. Despite publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton for president in June 2016, Sandberg was otherwise quiet throughout the campaign — noteworthy in a campaign where women’s issues were front and center. She also did not participate or publicly mention the Women’s March on Washington — which saw more than 500,000 people descend on the National Mall last week and inspired other marches worldwide — and has not addressed Trump’s numerous offensive comments about and treatment of women.

Sandberg did attend a meeting with other powerful tech execs at Trump Tower in December. The meeting was the first major summit between technology leaders and Trump, who has had a shaky relationship with the tech industry and who publicly criticised companies like Apple and Amazon while running for office.

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