Sheryl Sandberg criticizes Trump’s anti-abortion action

Sheryl Sandberg has spoken out against Donald Trump’s action this week banning U.S. aid to providers of abortion counseling and services overseas.

Facebook’s chief operating officer had been mostly silent — at least publicly — about the issues that concern women after the election of Trump as president. For example, the “Lean In” author, known for her advocacy on women’s rights and careers and sharing her feelings via Facebook posts, was conspicuously quiet about last weekend’s women’s marches, which drew millions of protesters around the nation and world.

Sarah Lacy writes for Pando Daily:

It is impossible to imagine that Sandberg has absolutely nothing to say about the women’s march, that she simply didn’t notice it happened. It strains credulity almost as much as the idea that Facebook’s trending news algorithm didn’t notice it. It’s particularly remarkable given how much of the march was organized on Facebook.

But Thursday, Sandberg finally said something, and it was about one of the Trump administration’s first orders of business this week, which was to reinstate what critics call “the global gag rule.” The Reagan-era policy freezes U.S. aid to nongovernmental and health organizations that even talk about abortion in foreign countries.

“Comprehensive family planning helps prevent unintended pregnancies, deaths and abortions,” Sandberg said in a Facebook post. “This week’s executive order reinstating the global gag rule will make that work much harder.”

Sandberg’s post included a shared New York Times article with the headline, “Clinics for world’s vulnerable brace for Trump’s anti-abortion cuts.” Noting that she started her career working with the World Bank in India, she also said:

I saw firsthand how clinics funded by foreign aid are often the only source of health care for women. When women are given even the most basic health care information and services, they live longer, healthier lives — and they give birth to children who live longer, healthier lives.

She said the new policy “could have terrible consequences for women and families around the world.” Her criticism comes as Mike Pence becomes the first U.S. vice president to speak at Friday’s March for Life rally, the annual anti-abortion march in Washington.

Comments on her Facebook post were mixed. Some thanked and agreed with Sandberg; others voiced their support for the president; and at least one person called her out for meeting with Trump.

Sandberg was one of the many business executives who publicly supported Hillary Clinton for president, and contributed to Democrats. After Trump’s victory, however, she was also one of the top tech executives to attend Trump’s forum in New York in December.

Like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sandberg’s name has been floated around as a possible politician. Like Zuckerberg, whose personal goal this year is basically a nationwide tour, Sandberg will soon be going on a tour of her own, to promote her upcoming book, “Option B.” (The book is about how she has dealt with the sudden death of her husband, Dave Goldberg.) Unlike Zuckerberg, Sandberg has some experience in government service; she served as chief of staff of the Treasury Department under Lawrence Summers during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

So, Sandberg for 2020?

“There are few women out there that I think could sort of step into that void the way Sandberg can,” Mo Elleithee, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton who’s now executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, told RealClear Politics.

 

Photo: Left to right, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, then Vice President-elect Mike Pence and then President-elect Donald Trump during a meeting at Trump Tower on Dec. 14, 2016, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 

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