IAWG ANNUAL MEETING 2017 – Advocates make progress on access to safe abortion in humanitarian crises

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IAWG ANNUAL MEETING 2017 – Advocates make progress on access to safe abortion in humanitarian crises
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Jan 10, 2017

Advocates campaigning for refugees to have access to safe abortion in humanitarian settings say they have made major progress at a recent high-level meeting – but that “political sensitivities” among countries and some United Nations agencies are holding back efforts to get the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services to those who need them.

In early November 2017, representatives from the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG), which includes UN agencies and civil society groups, met in Athens to discuss revising the field manual for aid workers providing reproductive health services in the initial phase of a humanitarian crisis, called the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health, which is part of the Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings (IAFM). Intended changes included expanding the range of contraceptive options recommended and including safe abortion as an objective for the first time.

Continued at source: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/iawg-annual-meeting-2017-advocates-make-progress-on-access-to-safe-abortion-in-humanitarian-crises/

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Advocates make progress on access to safe abortion in humanitarian crises

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Advocates make progress on access to safe abortion in humanitarian crises

By Sophie Edwards
29 November 2017

LONDON — Advocates campaigning for refugees to have access to safe abortion in humanitarian settings say they have made major progress at a recent high-level meeting — but they added that “political sensitivities” among countries and some United Nations agencies are holding back efforts to get the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services to those who need them.

Some experts also warned that pushing the abortion agenda could derail efforts to reach refugees in some settings and distract from more immediately urgent obstetric needs.

Continued at source: https://www.devex.com/news/advocates-make-progress-on-access-to-safe-abortion-in-humanitarian-crises-91554

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‘Global gag rule’: stop playing politics with women’s lives, MSF tells Trump

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'Global gag rule': stop playing politics with women's lives, MSF tells Trump

As affected groups worldwide take in news of Donald Trump’s renewal of a policy that has dire implications for family planning, Médecins Sans Frontières has aimed a broadside at the US president’s stance

Kate Hodal, Jonathan Watts, Michael Safi and Murithi Mutiga

Thursday 26 January 2017

Médecins Sans Frontières has told the Trump administration to stop “playing politics” with women’s rights and other global health efforts after the new US president reintroduced a policy likely to affect millions of women and girls around the world.

The “global gag rule”, which was reinstated by Donald Trump on Monday, withholds USAid funding from any overseas family planning organisation that offers or provides information about abortions.

[continued at link]
Source, The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/26/global-gag-rule-stop-playing-politics-with-womens-lives-msf-tells-trump

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Doctors Without Borders Statement on the Reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy on Abortion

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Doctors Without Borders Statement on the Reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy on Abortion

NEW YORK, JANUARY 25, 2017 — The reinstatement of the US government’s Mexico City Policy by President Donald J. Trump, which prohibits nongovernmental organizations that receive US funding from either performing or providing counseling or information on abortion, will undermine access to safe abortion services and endanger the lives of women, said Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Wednesday.

Unsafe abortion is one of the five main causes of maternal mortality worldwide, together with hemorrhage, eclampsia, sepsis, and obstructed labor. Unsafe abortion accounts for a shocking 13 percent of maternal deaths around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The rates are even higher in certain regions, such as Latin America, and in contexts such as refugee camps and conflict areas.

Where safe abortion care is not available, women and girls will put their lives at risk. When left with no safe options, they will resort to abortions carried out by untrained people or in environments lacking minimal medical standards. According to the WHO, of the estimated 46 million abortions requested per year, roughly 20 million are considered unsafe. As an international medical humanitarian organization, MSF teams around the world treat women and girls with abortion-related complications every day.

It is MSF’s policy to provide contraceptive and safe abortion care as part of its response to women’s and girls’ health needs. The treatment of abortion-related complications and the termination of pregnancy to save a woman from life-threatening complications are part of all MSF obstetric care. The decision on whether to terminate a pregnancy on request is taken very carefully, with the safety of patients and staff a primary concern.

"The medical consequences of unsafe abortion are dire and should be treated as such," said Jason Cone, MSF-USA executive director. "Governments should not play politics with the lives of women and girls. No matter what the risk or barrier, women will continue to seek ways to end pregnancies and they will continue to needlessly die if safe abortion care is not accessible. The Trump Administration needs to face these facts and end policies that endanger the lives of women and girls."

Research over the past decade has shown that policies that ban medical providers from educating women about abortion and their family planning options—including birth control and condoms—actually lead to more unwanted pregnancies, more unsafe abortions and death, and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV. People need reproductive health services, including access to contraceptives and safe abortion care. This access has decreased in the past when the Mexico City Policy was in place.

Women should have the information and tools to protect their health and wellbeing. Women are highly vulnerable to HIV, and pregnant women require specific and targeted services so that their own health can be protected and the risk of sexual transmission or transmission to their child can be reduced, said MSF.

The Mexico City Policy is no longer limited to organizations providing family planning services. It now applies to all US-funded global health programs, including HIV and maternal and child health programs. By removing funding from organizations that also deal with malaria and other child health issues, the policy could threaten progress on many fronts, including efforts to reduce HIV-related deaths and new infections and decrease childhood mortality through malaria prevention and treatment initiatives, and immunization programs.

"MSF does not receive any US government funding and is not directly affected by the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy," said Cone. "However, as providers of medical care in places where women and children will be directly affected and hurt by this policy, it is important to state the enormous damage this policy will have on collective efforts to reduce maternal mortality and suffering worldwide."

Source, Doctors Without Borders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/doctors-without-borders-statement-reinstatement-mexico-city-policy-abortion

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