Canada – Joly raises abortion, sexual violence in closing UN speech

'We will fight for your full meaningful participation in all walks of life,' said Joly

Dylan Robertson · The Canadian Press
Sep 26, 2022

As the United Nations General Assembly comes to a close, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly is urging countries to uphold women's rights and abortion access while rooting out sexual violence.

In a speech today in New York, Joly said Canada's priorities in international relations include being a champion for women's rights around the world.


Canada’s Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly raises abortion, sexual violence in closing UN speech

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press
Sep 26, 2022

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly urged countries to uphold women’s rights and abortion access while rooting out sexual violence in a Monday speech to the United Nations General Assembly as the global gathering draws to a close.

Joly summarized Canada’s priorities and concerns in foreign
relations. That includes being part of “a global coalition in support of
equality” that will “defend against the growing attacks on women's rights and
freedoms,” according to drafted remarks in French.


Ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for youth and adolescents in Myanmar through innovation amid COVID-19 pandemic and political crisis

7 Sep 2022 

YANGON, Myanmar— “There is social stigma existing in our community to speak about sexual and reproductive health especially concerning adolescents and youth. People are too shy to talk about it. Since we have grown up under this shadow, we don’t even know that young people have the right to access sexual and reproductive health information,” said Thura, 15, a local youth from Yangon.

Young people in Myanmar face different social and cultural barriers to get right information about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Without having access to sexual and reproductive health information including family planning, young people tend to experience consequences such as unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion, leading to other life-threatening complications. According to 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census, the fertility rate of females aged 15-19 was 33 births per 1,000 women. Comparing to urban areas, the teenage fertility is higher in rural areas of states and regions. The data highlights the needs to enhance protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people in remote places and in areas undergoing humanitarian crisis.


UK under international pressure over deletion of abortion commitments

Exclusive: open letter sent to Liz Truss after removal of commitment to repeal laws threatening women and girls’ rights from global pact

Lizzy Davies
Fri 22 Jul 2022

The UK government is coming under growing pressure from European countries and human rights groups to explain why commitments to abortion and sexual health rights have been removed from an official statement on gender equality.

Norway and Denmark have approached the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) “to protest against the substantive changes” that were made to a paper that resulted from a UK-hosted conference on freedom of religion and belief, opened by Liz Truss earlier this month, the Guardian has learned.


Abortion deleted from UK Government-organised international human rights statement

July 19th, 2022
Humanists UK

A UK Government-organised multinational statement committing to the fundamental rights of women and girls has been amended to remove references to ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ and ‘bodily autonomy’. The statement was issued by the UK as part of an intergovernmental conference it hosted in London on 5-6 July. A total of 22 countries signed the joint statement before it was amended. One – anti-abortion Malta – has first signed since. Humanists UK has expressed serious alarm at the changes. It is asking the UK Government for a full explanation, and if possible, a reversal.


Renewed hope for sexual and reproductive health and rights in East Africa

Time is up for policy makers to stop putting the health and lives of women and girls at risk based on implicit biases and subjective opinions

by ESTHER AOKO, Star Blogs
24 June 2022

As sexual and reproductive health and rights continue to be sidelined the world over, detrimental health outcomes like alarming rates of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions continue to be reported in Kenya.

The Ministry of Health recently reported over 45,700 cases of teenage pregnancies in January and February of this year alone. Additionally, over 26,000 women and girls in Kenya die every year from unsafe abortion.


US anti-abortion group targets Ukrainian refugees

Heartbeat International is appealing for money to fund its anti-abortion network in Ukraine and eastern Europe

Diana Cariboni
20 June 2022

US anti-abortion group Heartbeat International is taking advantage of Russia’s war in Ukraine to fundraise for ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ targeting refugees, openDemocracy has learnt.

Reproductive health experts fear the group could use its centres in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Romania to gain access to vulnerable people and persuade them to continue with unwanted pregnancies.


Europe – Right to safe and legal abortion must be safeguarded, MEPs demand

MEPs condemn the backsliding in women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide including in the US and some EU countries, calling for safe access to abortion.

Comunicado de imprensa
June 3, 2022

Following a plenary debate on Wednesday, MEPs adopted a resolution on Thursday by 364 votes in favour, 154 against and 37 abstentions reminding the United States Supreme Court that it is vital to uphold the landmark case of Roe v Wade (1973), which protects the right to abortion in the US Constitution.

They urge US President Biden and his administration to ensure access to safe and legal abortion. MEPs reiterate their call on the Government of Texas to swiftly repeal Senate Bill 8 and call on several other US states with similar laws to bring their legislation in line with internationally protected women’s human rights.


India – Why abortion should be a part of Universal Health Coverage

Debanjana Choudhuri, Vithika Yadav
May 25, 2022
By Hindustan Times

Access to abortion is an unconditional human right and should be entitled as a basic health care service delivered as a part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC is a commitment to equity and focuses on ensuring a level of quality care that helps people achieve their desired health outcomes.

While on the surface it looks easy,
pro-choice, abortion, and autonomy over women’s body face barriers in the
generational prejudice against women, existing taboos, and pedagogical approach
towards a division of labour. These various components of disparities have led
to the gross neglect of women’s health, and the most overlooked is the Sexual
and Reproductive Health Right (SRHR), which is essential to the fulfillment of
universal health coverage and is included in the Sustainable Development Goals,
which commit countries to providing universal access to sexual and reproductive
health services by 2030.


India – Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in India [Part 1]

April 28, 2022
Aashraya Seth

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are critical to people’s health and well-being, as well as economic development and global prosperity. Governments have committed to investment in SRHR through international accords. However, progress has been impeded by a lack of political will, insufficient resources, continued discrimination against women and girls, and a refusal to address sexuality issues openly and thoroughly. Underprivileged women, especially from developing countries are affected by unintended pregnancies which lead to maternal death and disability, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, gender-based violence and other problems related to reproductive system and sexual behaviour. The inclusion of SRHR in SDGs and its enshrinement in international policy instruments obligates countries to ensure its fulfilment and mandate the recognition of sexual and reproductive health within the framework of human rights.

India, being signatory to the declaration on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and home to one-sixth of all humanity is obligated to ensure implementation of policies and laws that look after the sexual and reproductive health rights. The national laws and policies relevant to SRHR in India leave much scope for action in this direction and exhibit huge gaps. There have been extreme violations of autonomy and sexual and reproductive rights especially of women belonging to marginalised communities.