International concerns about women’s rights backsliding in Poland

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International concerns about women’s rights backsliding in Poland
Feb 9, 2018

The worsening state of SRHR in Poland has brought multiple reactions from international human rights bodies. Please below find here the most crucial observations and recommendations.

Letter of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Poland, the Commissioner refers to recent developments affecting the independence of the judiciary; women’s access to sexual and reproductive rights; the deteriorating environment for NGOs active in the area of women’s rights and assistance to victims of domestic violence; and attacks against the independence and effectiveness of the Ombudsman.

Regarding women’s rights, the Commissioner regrets that new barriers are being created to hinder women’s access to comprehensive sexuality education, emergency contraception and abortion care. He urges the authorities to repeal any retrogressive laws and to reject any legislative or policy proposals which would weaken women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Here the main fragment related to SRHR:

Continued: http://en.federa.org.pl/international-concerns-about-womens-rights-backsliding-in-poland/

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No exceptions for health and rights: Women’s movements hold the key to get the world we want

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No exceptions for health and rights: Women’s movements hold the key to get the world we want
November 26, 2017
Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO, Global Fund for Women

In today’s world, women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are being attacked and rolled back by those in positions of power. Take the Mexico City Policy, or Global Gag Rule, for instance, which has been expanded by the U.S. administration. It cuts off billions of dollars in funding for critical health services around the world like access to contraception or STD screenings.

However, women have never been known to sit and wait for change to happen. And while rollbacks threaten women’s health and rights each day, grassroots women’s groups and movements around the world are working to ensure that women and girls not only have access to critical health services that they need in their own communities, but understand their bodies, are aware of their rights and how to access them, and are safe from violence and discrimination.

Continued at source: http://www.thedailystar.net/women-action/no-exceptions-health-and-rights-womens-movements-hold-the-key-get-the-world-we-want

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Reproductive Health And Rights In An Age Of Inequality

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Reproductive Health And Rights In An Age Of Inequality
Seema Jalan, Contributor
Executive Director, Universal Access Project

10/17/2017

When I visited Uganda last year, I met a woman named Sarah*. As she relayed, from the moment she was born, Sarah’s life was shaped by inequality: She was born into poverty, with no support from her family, no access to education or health care, and no job opportunities in her rural town. As a young girl of 12, she moved to the city on her own looking for economic opportunity, where she was raped by an older man and became pregnant. Through her sheer will Sarah survived: She gave birth unattended and, with no other opportunities to provide for her child, ultimately engaged in sex work so that she and her baby daughter could survive. In Sarah’s part of town, the majority of women engage in sex work to make a living, some starting as early as age 12 or 13. They do not become sex workers because they want to; there are simply no other options to provide for themselves and their children.

Continued at source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/reproductive-health-and-rights-in-an-age-of-inequality_us_59e0bfaee4b003f928d5e5ea

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Norway to increase support for women’s health and safe abortion

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Norway to increase support for women's health and safe abortion

Press release | Date: Oct 12, 2017

'Norway is at the forefront of efforts to promote gender equality and women's health at the international level. We are among the biggest donors to efforts in this field, but there are still many unmet needs. The Government therefore proposes an increase of NOK 180 million in earmarked support for women's health and safe abortion in 2018. 'This increase comes in addition to the major increase in funding earlier this year, in connection with the SheDecides initiative,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Continued at source: Government of Norway: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/womens_health/id2574852/

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Kenya: On International Safe Abortion Day, “we learned how to love ourselves”

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On International Safe Abortion Day, “we learned how to love ourselves”

2nd October, 2017

On September 28th, 2017, many people around the world concerned with women’s rights attended events for the International Safe Abortion Day. Besides participating in a global campaign articulated by respected international and local organizations, safe2choose also decided to join a smaller discussion group in Mathare, an informal settlement of Nairobi, Kenya, to understand the daily struggles faced by local women.

The event was held in a simple school hall that was decorated with posters and signs displaying slogans such as “Stop rollbacks on our SRHR, funding saves lives“, that carried the #IResistWePersist hashtag, promoted by the Women’s Global Campaign for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR). It was an opportunity to witness first hand the incredible achievements of a local NGO, Fortress of Hope Africa (FOHA), which has also joined safe2choose’s call to action to say why safe abortion must be available to all women worldwide.

Continued: https://safe2choose.org/safe-abortion-day-love/

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Malawi: Time to Decriminalize Draconian Abortion Law

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Malawi: Time to Decriminalize Draconian Abortion Law
Sept 28, 2017

Blantyre — As the world celebrates the International Safe Abortion Day on Thursday, 28 September, we, at the Centre for Solutions Journalism (CSJ) call on the Malawi government to decriminalise abortion, provide access to safe abortion services and end stigma and discrimination towards women who choose to terminate unintended pregnancies.

By decriminalizing abortion, Malawi will be fulfilling her obligation as a signatory of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Plan of Action) whose ultimate goal is for African Governments, civil society, the private sector, and all multi-sectoral development partners to work together in order to end preventable maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent deaths, expand contraceptive use, reduce levels of unsafe abortion, end child marriage and eradicate harmful traditional practices and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

Continued at source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201709280872.html

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“Niñas, No Madres” (Girls, Not Mothers) regional campaign, Latin America

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“Niñas, No Madres” (Girls, Not Mothers) regional campaign, Latin America

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
July 28, 2017

Planned Parenthood Global, Amnesty International, Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida Mexico (GIRE) and Latin American Campaign against Unsafe Abortion (CLACAI) have joined efforts to raise awareness on forced motherhood and its impact on girls’ lives and futures across Latin America through the “Niñas, No Madres” (Girls, Not Mothers) regional campaign.  The campaign calls for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and safe, legal abortion services to end forced motherhood in girls in Latin America.

In the framework of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, the campaign launched a call to women to share on social media what was their dream when they were girls, along with a childhood photo. The response was amazing: women from all over the region lit up social media with the hashtag #NiñasNoMadres. The timelines, full of cute pictures, brought attention to the toll that forced motherhood has taken on thousands of girls in the region. More than 40 national and international media outlets published pieces about the campaign, including Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and  AJ+.

Latin America is the only region in the world where births among girls under 15 years old is on the rise. Forced motherhood in girls is an urgent public health and human rights problem.

In Guatemala, five girls under the age of 14 become pregnant every day. In Nicaragua, the number of pregnant girls aged 10-14 years old increased 47% from 2001 to 2009. In Ecuador, pregnancy among girls under the age of 15 has increased by 74% in the last decade. In Peru, every year, more than 1,100 births are to girls 12-13 years old.

Planned Parenthood Global has produced the report “Stolen Lives” in English and Spanish, which summarizes qualitative and quantitative research conducted in Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Peru to document the dire physical, mental, and social health consequences of forced pregnancy on girls living in these countries. This report was used as input for the Hemispheric Report on Sexual Violence and Child Pregnancy recently released by the Organization of American States’ Committee of Experts of the Follow-Up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI), which issues recommendations to States, including “ensuring that all pregnancies in girls are considered high risk and allowing legal termination of pregnancy.”

Join us in demanding a better future for girls in Latin America. Follow the campaign on Facebook @ninasnomadres and visit http://www.ninasnomadres.org for more information.

SOURCE: Planned Parenthood Global, email 17 July 2017

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/ninas-no-madres-girls-not-mothers-regional-campaign-latin-america/

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Zambia: Media, civil society urged to work together on reproductive health

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Media, civil society urged to work together on reproductive health

July 22, 2017
ARTHUR MWANSA, Lusaka

GOVERNMENT has called on the media and civil society organisations to co-exist to ensure information on sexual and reproductive health is made available to the public in a more accurate and relevant manner.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services director of press and media development, Isaac Chipampe also implored the media to tone down on political rhetoric and instead write more on challenges affecting people, especially on their health.

Speaking during a breakfast meeting yesterday, Mr Chipampe said sexual and reproductive health matters and the magnitude on unsafe abortion in Zambia need to be disseminated and enable the public to know.

Continued at source: Daily Mail: https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/media-civil-society-urged-to-work-together-on-reproductive-health/

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Sweden to cut aid to groups applying Trump abortion ban

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Sweden to cut aid to groups applying Trump abortion ban

Posted at: Jul 11, 2017

A Swedish government agency on Tuesday threatened to cut aid to NGOs which have suspended abortion services over fears of losing US funding due to a decree signed by President Donald Trump.

In one of his first acts as president, Trump in January reintroduced the global gag rule, enacted by Ronald Reagan in 1984, which prohibits foreign charities from using US federal funding to provide abortion services, information, counselling or referrals.

Continued at source: Tribune India: http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/sweden-to-cut-aid-to-groups-applying-trump-abortion-ban/434985.html

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Philippines: SRHR advocates call on the government to provide contraception and decriminalize abortion

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After UPR: SRHR advocates call on the government to provide contraception and decriminalize abortion
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
May 12, 2017

In Geneva on 8 May, the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review raised questions on the compliance of the Philippines government with its commitments on reproductive health and rights, including access to abortion. The Netherlands recommended that the Philippine government should take immediate steps to permit abortion when the woman’s life is in danger; when the pregnancy is a result of rape; and in cases of fetal impairment, with a view to decriminalizing abortion in the near future.

PINSAN (Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network) submitted a joint report to the session. In a press release on 9 May, they reported that there are three women dying every day from complications from unsafe abortion in the country, and that over 600,000 Filipino women induce unsafe abortion each year at the risk to their lives, health, liberty, and security.

Sweden recommended that the government ensure that Executive Order No.12, pertaining to the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (2012), is fully implemented in order to meet the need for modern family planning and to secure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. They noted that according to government estimates in 2016, there are still 7.3 million women in the Philippines who have an unmet need for modern contraceptives.

President Duterte’s Executive Order No.12, 9 January 2017, was intended to ensure strict implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law 2012 – to attain and sustain “zero unmet need for modern family planning”. In 2015, in response to an anti-abortion petition, the Supreme Court stopped the Department of Health’s (DOH) programme for the distribution and sale of contraceptive implants and barred the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from “granting any and all pending application for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices”. Then, in an August 2016 ruling, the Court denied a motion by the DOH to withdraw the order and instead remanded the case to the FDA to check if the contraceptive products had abortifacient side effects (sic). This has effectively blocking access to most birth control products.

Reproductive health advocates have warned that the Philippines stands to run out of contraceptives by 2020. Speaking at a forum organized by House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano this month, Junice Melgar of the Department of Health’s national implementing committee on the Reproductive Health Law said the court’s temporary restraining order on the certification of contraceptive products had far-reaching health implications for women. The director of the DOH’s Family Health Office told the forum: “Slowly, I think they are killing women. Last year, the registration of several products expired. This year, we expect 62% to expire. Next year, a full 90% will be expiring. And by 2020, there will be no contraceptives, nothing.”

In this light, women’s rights and SRHR advocates welcomed the Human Rights Council’s recommendations and called on the government to act urgently to address these sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.

PINSAN Statement, 9 May 2017 ; Philippine Daily Inquirer, by DJ Yap, 8 May 2017 ; Rappler, by Pia Ranada, 11 January 2017 ;  PHOTO: Members of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network display condoms to support the passage of the Reproductive Health bill during a protest outside the presidential palace in Manila on 1 October 2010. © 2010 Reuters

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/after-upr-srhr-advocates-call-on-the-government-to-provide-contraception-and-decriminalize-abortion/

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