From the cute - "Girls just wanna have fun-damental rights!" - to the sassy - "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers!" - to a little girl carrying a sign that read, "Hands off our pussies, oligarch scum!" it's fair to say that women around the globe had a few messages for President Trump last weekend.

I was one of them, thronging with the masses down a thankfully mostly traffic-free Queen St on Saturday morning, though I delivered my messages in the form of a speech.

As I stood in front of the sea of faces assembled in Myers Park - male, female, non-binary, trans and diverse in almost every other imaginable way - I felt a sense of solidarity of a magnitude I've seldom, if ever, experienced.

Waking up to the images of enormous crowds descending upon some of the world's greatest cities the next morning, I felt utterly overwhelmed.


The Women's March on Washington wasn't just about Trump.

It was a battle cry for equality, a demand for decency and a show of sisterhood.

Many women were marching for the first time, inspired by the deeply felt need to remind the powerful that women's rights are human rights.

In an age when people still doggedly try to tell me that feminism is past its use-by date, the Women's March on Washington, along with its many sister marches around the globe, felt like the loudest, most brazen rebuttal to those who refuse to contemplate or even humour any experience outside of their own.

It marked the death of a stereotype and the birth of a revolution.

Meek and mild is out. Fierce is in.

And yet, while the idea of a female-led resistance may seem radical or even dystopian to some, the millions who took to the streets did so peacefully.

There were only a small handful of arrests reported at the marches globally, including those of counter-protesters, despite the approximately 3 million people involved.


In Auckland, I'm told, the police monitored the situation but decided not to mobilise a presence - even when the march spilled into the middle of Queen St.

Why? Because apparently women are "safe".

We may have been safe during the marches, but under the Trump regime, women around the globe are under serious threat.

The euphoria I felt over the weekend evaporated on Monday morning when it transpired that one of Trump's first actions in office was to deliver an emphatic "screw you" to women around the world.

As I read the news, a feeling of fear and anger descended upon me once again. It has begun, I thought numbly.

The President may have acknowledged the protesters' right to demonstrate, but that didn't stop him from effectively signing the death warrants of thousands of vulnerable women living in developing nations.

He met peaceful demonstration with lethal force, signing an executive order to re-enact the Mexico City Policy, ensuring that foreign NGOs providing healthcare to women around the world cannot even speak about abortion, let alone provide it.

If they do, they'll be stripped of any and all funding from the US Government.

Regardless of where you personally stand in the abortion debate, it needs to be acknowledged that there is one unbearably tragic statistic that skyrockets when women are denied access to safe abortions: maternal deaths.

Women have been terminating pregnancies since long before safe medical or surgical abortion became available, and they will not stop doing so just because a paternalistic foreign regime imposes punitive measures on the organisations they rely on for healthcare.

They'll instead visit charitable, rule-defying doctors and organisations that provide care at considerable personal cost and risk - and unlicensed charlatans operating in unsanitary conditions.

Or they'll go in search of a coat hanger, swallow toxic concoctions containing turpentine, manure and/or bleach, or find someone willing to punch them so hard they'll miscarry.

Many will be maimed during the process. Some will die.

Maddeningly, evidence has shown that such measures actually increase the incidence of abortion.

The last time the gag rule was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2001, the number of women in sub-Saharan Africa who had abortions increased sharply.

Marie Stopes International estimates that Trump's reinstated gag rule will result in 2.2 million more abortions during his first term - 2.1 million of which will be unsafe.

Worse, the organisation estimates that the rule will result in 21,700 maternal deaths.

Trump may be just a week into his presidency, but I believe he already has blood on his hands.

Thankfully, protest action is already under way.

In the Netherlands, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, this week announced the establishment of a fund to attempt to minimise the impact of Trump's "pro-life" posturing.

"This has far-reaching consequences," Ploumen said of Trump's rule. "Banning abortion does not lead to fewer abortions. It leads to more irresponsible practices in back rooms and more maternal deaths."

No one wins in these situations.

Not the so-called "pro-life" lobby, not the embryos and foetuses, and certainly not the women and their families.

But seated in his comfortable office in Washington, surrounded by a horde of men, Trump scores political points.

Meanwhile, in Africa, families begin to mourn their wives, mothers, daughters and sisters.

If anyone wondered why millions of people took to the streets to join the Women's Marches, Trump's newest anti-women rule provides an instant explanation.

My fear is that we'll be given many, many more justifications as the next four years wear on.

Which is why one march, no matter how spectacular, will never be enough.

The resistance has just begun.

Lizzie Marvelly. Photo / Supplied
Lizzie Marvelly. Photo / Supplied