Council of Europe warns on backlash to abortion access


Council of Europe warns on backlash to abortion access

By Caterina Tani
BRUSSELS, Dec 6, 2017

A backlash against access to abortion in some EU member states in the past few years is "deeply troubling", the Council of Europe warned on Tuesday (5 December).

In the majority of EU countries abortions are legal, but in some states a wave of "retrogressive restrictions" are threatening women's health and well-being, the European human rights organisation's report said.

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As PiS turns topic taboo, feminists get Poland talking sex


As PiS turns topic taboo, feminists get Poland talking sex
As Poland shifts sharply to the right on sex education and women's reproductive rights, a feminist organization is fighting back with a campaign to get women talking. It's a start, one of SexEdPl's leaders tells DW.

Date 18.11.2017
Author Jo Harper

Barbara Baran, one of the main organizers of Poland's largest feminist Facebook group, recently launched SexEdPl, an educational campaign to explain safe sex to young Poles.

As the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) government plans to take Poland out of the Istanbul Convention on violence against women and education reforms shunt sex education off the curriculum, Baran believes that the time is ripe for a conversation about matters sexual in the deeply Catholic country.

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Uganda condemns sex education for 10-year-olds as ‘morally wrong’


Uganda condemns sex education for 10-year-olds as 'morally wrong'

Ministry of Health declines to endorse proposals to tackle teen pregnancy rates, with distribution of contraceptives to 15-year-olds branded an ‘erosion of morals’

Samuel Okiror in Kampala
Friday 20 October 2017

A row has broken out in Uganda over proposals to extend sex education to 10-year-olds and give some 15-year-olds access to family planning services.

The Ministry of Health has refused to endorse the guidelines, which were designed to tackle the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate, objecting that they are morally wrong and would encourage promiscuity and abortions.

Activists condemned the decision as a “failure of leadership”.

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Malaysia: Getting the message across


Getting the message across

Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017

WHEN parents find out that their 17-year-old school-going daughter is pregnant, the reaction would most probably be anger followed by murderous rage, more anger and then a feeling of failure before they finally settle down to decide how to deal with the situation and the stigma that comes with it.

Abortion may be one option they would consider. Some might finally accept the circumstances and try to marry the girl off. In other situations, relatives or others may be brought in to take care of the girl until the baby is born, and it would most probably be given up for adoption.

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The Great Coalition for Equality and Choice joins forces in Poland


The Great Coalition for Equality and Choice joins forces in Poland
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
May 9, 2017

The Great Coalition for Equality and Choice, consisting of over 80 non-governmental organizations from all over Poland, has been established as a reaction to an offensive by anti-women groups. These threatening actions include regular draft bills directly attacking the life and health of women, restricting access to emergency contraception, frightening doctors in their workplaces, shocking anti-abortion campaigns, fighting against comprehensive sexuality education, as well as the systemic weakening of the protection of women against domestic violence. These actions call for active and organized resistance on the part of civil society.

We draw our strength from the 200 year old tradition of female political and civic activities. We have the knowledge and practical NGO experience, as well as the social energy of the pro-women’s rights protests of 2016 and 2017.

The Coalition’s goal is the comprehensive fight for women’s human rights: quick threat identification, coordination of legal activities, and building social awareness. The group demand sexuality education, good standards of perinatal care, the fullness of reproductive rights, and the total elimination of violence against women. In the coming weeks, we will shape the actions of the Coalition.

The current legal regulations on the termination of pregnancy do not work in practice. Almost every attempt to obtain a legal abortion encounters resistance from gynaecologists or hospitals directors. In 2015 the Constitutional Tribunal released doctors from the duty to refer the patient to another specialist who is able to perform the service. Now, entire public health care facilities, or even provinces, are entitled to claim “conscientious objection”. Desperate women head to foreign clinics, even when theoretically they have a right to a legal abortion in Poland. We will persist in trying to liberalize the law. We want 21st century Polish women to be able to have the same standards as other European women. Only ideology stands in the way.

The actions of anti-abortion activists penetrates deeper and deeper into the everyday lives of citizens. There is systematic pressure on hospitals performing abortions on medical grounds. The local authorities fail to react to anti-abortion propaganda in public spaces – for instance setting up large boards with photos of bloody remains of developed fetuses captioned “This is how children are being murdered in Polish hospitals”. Frequently, the image of Hitler is placed nearby, with a caption equating termination of pregnancy with the Holocaust, i.e. as the legacy of Nazism. Such campaigns are also openly directed at children. Dolls named “Little John” that are supposed to symbolize potential abortion victims are handed out in schools. Anti-abortion art competitions for children are also organized.

In hospitals, despite many complaints from women giving birth, there is no reaction to the so-called “defenders of life” visiting maternity wards. At the same time, standards of perinatal care are being disregarded, which in recent months has led to more deaths of women, reported as tragic accidents or medical errors. But that is not all. The lack of education and awareness in sexual health results in a rapid increase in sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, gonorrhoea, and until recently thought to have already been eliminated, syphilis. Furthermore, the typically female cancer screening programmes are being discontinued.

SOURCE: Federation for Women and Family Planning, 18 April 2017, in CEE Bulletin No.5 (164) 2017



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Kenya: Having sex education is the only way out


Having sex education is the only way out

Friday March 3 2017


Non-governmental health organisations in Kenya are alarmed at a decision made thousands of kilometres away that is bound to have devastating consequences on their operations. Recently, US President Donald Trump reinstated a government policy prohibiting granting of American foreign aid to NGOs in developing countries that offer abortion-related services.

This means that any Kenyan and other international organisations that have been receiving US funds for health programmes will now be required to certify that it does not provide abortion services, which include counselling, referrals, information or advocate the liberalisation of abortion laws, even with non-US funds. If a provider fails to sign the ‘global gag rule’, they lose the US funding, donated contraceptives and leadership and technical expertise.

Continued at source: Daily Nation:

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A New ‘Pum Pum Palitix’: Carnival and the Sex Education the Caribbean Needs


A New ‘Pum Pum Palitix’: Carnival and the Sex Education the Caribbean Needs

Mar 1, 2017
Bianca Campbell & Samantha Daley

Carnival is about body positivity and resistance. But we need that freedom of physical expression all year long—and in school curricula and the broader culture.

Bright colors, glorious headpieces, glitter. Steel drums and xylophones. As people with Caribbean roots, we feel our chests swell with pride and our hips begin to sway immediately when we think of Carnival (which ended yesterday) and the ancestral rhythms of island cultures from Trinidad to Jamaica.

The costumes are sexy, sassy, and everything we aspired to be as Caribbean-American preteens. We fawned over Carnival outfits like many tweens do for their future prom gowns. The feathers, the strings, and the beads became our markers of someone no longer a child, but a grown individual who could finally do grown things: show off your body, stay up late, drink, wine the night away, and of course have sex. Without a doubt, Carnival is about ownership of our bodies, about an annual recommitment to our sexuality and broader sense of liberation.

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Kenya: More civic education is necessary to protect women in abortion web


More civic education is necessary to protect women in abortion web

Monday January 30 2017

Eyebrows will be raised regarding your religious affiliation if, as a private medical practitioner, you advertise your health facility as a centre offering comprehensive abortion care.

This is because of the stigma associated with abortion.

Unsafe abortion is the leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity.

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Source, The Nation:

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Sensibilisation Santé Sexualité (Awareness Health Sexuality in Gabon)


Jan 13, 2017, by Safe Abortion

In Gabon, demographics is a sensitive political issue, due to its small population. 52% of the Gabonese population is under the age of 25. Because of sexual permissiveness, premarital and early relationships are common. Pregnancies are most often early, unwanted and too close together, leading to frequent abortions, STIs and increased infertility.

Long banned, modern contraception was only liberalised in the year 2000. Lack of access to information and counselling on birth spacing has meant that abortions practised in poor conditions were for many women the only available method of family planning. Here are some data from the 2012 Gabon Demographic and Health Survey:

– Maternal mortality stands at 316 deaths per 100,000 live births, mainly due to illegal abortions;

– 28% of girls aged 15-19 have already had a child or have been pregnant. By age 19, more than half have already proven their fertility;

– Modern contraceptive methods are used by barely 14.3% of the population. One in four women would like to limit their fertility but do not have access to the relevant information or services;

– 45% of girls in secondary schools have already had an illegal abortion;

– 64% of women say they would like to have more children (linked to secondary infertility following unsafe abortions);

– 56% of women report having experienced domestic violence (emotional, physical or sexual).

Why this project?

Port Gentil is the economic capital of Gabon, an oil and timber town of around 170,000 people. I have been living here for more than 17 years. As a practising gynaecologist, I am only too aware of the situation of women here. I’m tired of seeing young girls get pregnant too early; young women who are infertile from having too many abortions; women with multiple children who are again pregnant by chance, not by choice; not to mention the scourge of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

With a view to promoting sustainable development within our community, I have founded an association whose goal is to promote a healthy, responsible and fulfilling sexuality, the benefits of family planning and its positive impact on the whole society in terms of improving the overall health of the community:

– reducing maternal mortality and morbidity

– reducing infant mortality

– improving living standards by choosing the size of one’s family

– encouraging safe sexual practices, and

– empowering women above all.

Our activities

Our Centre aims to have a welcoming atmosphere, offering listening and counselling without prejudice or restrictions to young people in search of information about their emotional and sexual lives.

– We organise conferences/discussions in schools, business and communities (religious or others).

– We carry out campaigns in schools to raise awareness on different themes such as HIV, or sexual violence.

– We encourage local television and radio stations to cover our activities, so as to convey our prevention messages to as many people as possible.

– We are training sexual health educators (volunteers and young peer volunteers).

– We have set up a “Youth Counselling Centre” offering a warm welcome, a receptive ear and free and confidential advice to youth.

– We would like one day to become a truly integrated family planning centre as well as a centre for studies on sexual health in collaboration with various local and international partners.

SOURCE: Information sheet 2016; PHOTO

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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China’s lack of sex education is putting millions of young people at risk


By James Griffiths, Nanlin Fang and Serenitie Wang, CNN
Wed November 30, 2016

Lack of formal sex education is linked to a spike in HIV infections
New apps hope to fill the gap and promote safe sex

(CNN)When Xiao Niao was in high school, her teacher gathered all the girls in her class and told them if they were raped they should take the morning after pill.

That was the limit of her formal sex education. For millions of young Chinese people, it's more than they ever got.

As China marks World AIDS Day Thursday, the effects of that missing knowledge is more evident than ever, with growing numbers of HIV infections and staggeringly high abortion rates.

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