Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface
22 May 2020
Preface, by Marge Berer
Today’s newsletter includes five statements – by the Campaign, an international group of CSOs, and IAWG, IPPF and Ipas – all in response to demands by the US government on the UN and the World Health Organization to omit any language or policy related to abortion and sexual and reproductive health from the Covid-19 response. This issue was not at all the focus of the World Health Assembly (WHA) on 18-19 May, however, as Trump hoped them to be. Instead, the other issues raised in his three letters to the heads of WHO and the UN – got all the attention, as well as a few more.
U.N. rejects U.S. claim it is using coronavirus to promote abortion
Michelle Nichols, Reuters
May 21, 2020
NEW YORK — The United Nations rejected on Thursday an accusation by the United States that the world body was using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to promote access to abortion through its humanitarian response to the deadly global outbreak.
The U.N. is seeking some $6.7 billion for its coronavirus response plan and has so far received $1 billion, of which $172.9 million was given by the United States. A Reuters tally shows the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has infected some 5 million people globally and caused almost 327,000 deaths.
(Podcast, 13 minutes) How The US Went From Advocate to Obstructionist
March 6, 2020
This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in one of the most consequential abortion cases in decades. Meanwhile, next week brings world leaders to the United Nations — if coronavirus doesn’t intervene — to mark 25 years since reproductive rights were enshrined in international law. It happened in 1995 at the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Since then, the US has exchanged its role as a prominent advocate for women’s rights for one that aims to obstruct international agreements that uphold them. Jessica Glenza, who covers health for The Guardian, has the story of how the Trump administration is seeking to re-write international norms about “women’s health,” “women’s rights,” and “gender equality” by seeking to erase those very words. She speaks with Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Sigrid Kaag, minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, about what the changes mean for human rights and health outcomes around the world.
Trump’s anti-woman push puts America in the pantheon of human rights offenders
By Editorial Board
September 27, 2019
CAN YOU judge a nation by the company it keeps?
President Trump’s administration spearheaded a declaration at the United Nations this week calling for the elimination of allegedly “ambiguous” expressions in the body’s documents — primarily, “sexual and reproductive health.” These terms are often used to promote pro-abortion policies, the officials claimed, and “there is no international right to an abortion.” Joining the land of the free? Some of the least-free nations on the planet, from Russia to Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and 12 more.
This, evidently, is what the anti-globalist “America First” philosophy the president hawked at this week’s U.N. General Assembly looks like: This country standing not only among but also in front of a pantheon of human rights offenders.
25 Years of Progress on Women’s Health Is in Danger
Because of course it is.
Words: Serra Sippel
Pictures: UN Women
Date: September 25th, 2019
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and without missing a beat the Trump Administration has pounced on yet another opportunity to renege on US global commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on universal health coverage, which took place on September 23, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary Alex Azar of the US Department of Health and Human Services sent a joint letter to governments asking that they join the US in rejecting longstanding global commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality.
Bowing to U.S. demands, U.N. waters down resolution on sexual violence in conflict
Apr 23, 2019
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.S. threat to veto U.N. Security Council action on sexual violence in conflict was averted on Tuesday after a long-agreed phrase was removed because President Donald Trump’s administration sees it as code for abortion, diplomats said.
Amal Clooney and Nadia Murad listen to Denis Mukwege speaking at the United Nations Security Council during a meeting about sexual violence in conflict in New York, New York, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A German-drafted resolution was adopted after a reference was cut referring to the need for U.N. bodies and donors to give timely “sexual and reproductive health” assistance to survivors of sexual violence in conflict.
UN waters down rape resolution to appease US's hardline abortion stance
Measure on sexual violence in conflict passes after Trump administration threatened to veto document over references to reproductive health
Tue 23 Apr 2019
The UN has backed a resolution on combatting rape in conflict but excluded references in the text to sexual and reproductive health, after vehement opposition from the US.
The resolution passed by the security council on Tuesday after a three-hour debate and a weekend of fierce negotiations on the language among member states that threatened to derail the process.
Right to abortion: Minister to take Brussels Declaration to UN
Friday, 15 February 2019
The Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Rudy Demotte, is due from 10 to 14 March to go to New York.
The trip is with a view to taking the Brussels Declaration, which in particular is calling for legalizing abortion (in French-speaking Belgium called IVG), at the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women, said his department on Thursday.
Self-managed Abortion Highlights Need to Decriminalize Abortion Worldwide
Most of the world's decades-old abortion laws don't reflect the advent of the abortion pill, and they permit the punishment of people who end their own pregnancies and nonmedical providers.
Nov 12, 2018
Patty Skuster, Kinga Jelinska & Susan Yanow
In countries with a range of laws regulating abortion, there is growing evidence that people are safely self-managing their abortions outside a clinical context—sourcing and using misoprostol alone or in combination with mifepristone, on their own and with the help of family and friends, or with community-based support.
Recognizing the potential of abortion pills to expand access to safe abortion, feminist collectives across the world have mobilized to create reliable resources about self-managed abortion. Activists run telephone hotlines, email help desks, and groups to provide information about self-management. Women often obtain the medicines through online services, community distribution networks, or pharmacies.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE – General comment No. 36 (2018) on article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on the right to life, 30 October 2018 (CCPR/C/GC/36)
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Nov 2, 2018
This document contains 70 paragraphs on the meaning of the right to life, one of which (para.8) is about abortion. Paragraph 8 calls for a right to safe abortion, and prohibits any restriction that might lead to an unsafe abortion or risk of death from unsafe abortion. It calls on states to reform their laws, and not to apply criminal sanctions against women and girls undergoing abortion or against medical service providers assisting them in doing so, since taking such measures compel women and girls to resort to unsafe abortion.
The first two paragraphs quoted below from the document define the right to life, followed by paragraph 8 on abortion, para.60 on children, and para 61 against discrimination. References to para.8 are also included.