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.

Continued: https://www.hindustantimes.com/ht-insight/gender-equality/why-abortion-should-be-a-part-of-universal-health-coverage-101653469989475.html


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.

Continued: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/nonpartisan-perspectives/sexual-and-reproductive-health-rights-srhr-in-india-part-1/


Bangladesh – RHSTEP attains massive progress towards keeping promise of improving SRHR situation

By Tithi R.Sarker
28 Dec 2021

The Reproductive Health Services Training and Education Program (RHSTEP) was evolved through a gradual government process for providing services to the womenfolk in their menstruation related health needs. The main objectives of foundation of RHSTEP also include addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of both women and men, girls and boys.

In 1983 MRTSP (Menstrual Regulation Training and Services Program) was formed as a special project of the Government of Bangladesh to improve skills of service providers through training; establishing service points in public hospitals for Menstrual Regulation (MR) and its complications management.

Continued: https://bangladeshpost.net/posts/rhstep-attains-massive-progress-towards-keeping-promise-of-improving-srhr-situation-76121


Protecting and promoting SRHR of adolescents and young adults

20 October 2021
FIGO, Committee for Contraception and Family Planning

Early and unintended pregnancies put at risk the health and lives of young women and girls. Around the world, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death and the third highest cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost for 15–19-year-old girls. Pregnant adolescents also face a higher risk of severe conditions such as eclampsia than women aged 20 to 24 years.

A health care conversation with a young person is incomplete if it does not mention sexual health, including safe, consensual, pleasurable sex, contraception and infection prevention. Yet despite this, so many young women and girls do not have access to the education or information they need to make safe and informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, including on abortions.

Continued: https://www.figo.org/news/protecting-and-promoting-srhr-adolescents-and-young-adults


Rwanda – Women’s rights are human rights: the right to autonomy and self-determination

By Brenda Mutoni
September 30, 2021

Worldwide, women enjoy 25% fewer legal rights than men. Millions of women around the world are not able to make decisions about their own bodies.

According to research published in September 2021 by UNFPA titled “My body is my own. Claiming the right to autonomy and self-determination”, just over half of women and girls in middle- and low-income countries have the right to decide for themselves whether they have sex, use contraception or seek medical care. In some sub-Saharan countries, the figure is even below 10%.

Continued: https://www.newtimes.co.rw/opinions/womes-rights-are-human-rights-right-autonomy-and-self-determination


Côte d’Ivoire – Midwives: A Critical Key to Ensuring Women and Girls’ Health Globally

5 July 2021
FIGO Advocating for Safe Abortion Project|

OBGYNs and midwives are part of an essential ecosystem of health workers that provide crucial health care in delivering women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally. In lower-middle-income countries where health care facilities outside of capitals can be few and dispersed, midwives in particular are counted on to ensure that women, girls, and newborns receive appropriate care, support and counselling. Professor Boni Serge, President of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Côte d’Ivoire (SOGOCI), shared with us the important leadership role midwives have in Côte d’Ivoire.

Midwives are critical in the fight to reduce preventable maternal deaths and disability
Data from 2016 showed that, with a population of over 20 million, there are not enough health care workers in this coastal West African country (WHO, 2016). More recent data show that while there are more than 6,000 midwives spread across the Ivorian territory, there are only just over 440 OBGYNs. In addition, there is an unequal geographical distribution of these OBGYNs, with the majority of them located in the Ivorian economic capital of Abidjan.

Continued: https://www.figo.org/news/midwives-critical-key-ensuring-women-and-girls-health-globally


Defending the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women in Panama

29 June 2021
Patricia Figuera Ochoa, Communications Officer, SPOG

In Panama, the fundamental and basic rights of women and girls – such as education, work and political participation – continue to be violated. These violations extend to rights in sexual and reproductive health, which should allow women and girls to access services such as prenatal control, contraception and, in specific cases and as permitted by Panamanian law, safe and legal abortion services. The scale of violence against women, adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality in Panama undoubtedly reflects the existence of a public health problem, which has been exacerbated dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to gynecologist and obstetrician Ruth De León, former president of the Panamanian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SPOG) and Focal Point of the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP), SPOG remains concerned about the potential risks that the pandemic poses to women. Although care services are open, restrictions could continue to be a trigger for gender-based, domestic and sexual violence, which can cause unplanned pregnancies, as well as possible induced abortions. These, when performed in unsafe environments, could result in the death of the woman or girl.

Continued: https://www.figo.org/news/defending-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-women-panama


Nigeria: Three Ideas to Bridge the SRH Access Gap for Women and Girls in Conflict Areas

26 MAY 2021
By Thelma Chioma Abeku, Nigeria Health Watch (Abuja)

Indo (not her real name) was just 15 years old when she became pregnant. Her boyfriend took her to the only general hospital in their community to terminate the pregnancy. The general hospital did not offer safe abortion services, so, the midwife advised them to formally inform their parents and make necessary arrangements to have the baby. Indo was afraid of her parents' reaction and the stigma that she would face in the community for having a child before marriage. The midwife encouraged Indo to bring her mother to the clinic so she could speak with her. But Indo and her boyfriend were still shopping for other options and since they did not have access to other credible service providers, they decided to use a local herbal concoction to terminate the pregnancy. Two days after leaving the general hospital Indo was rushed back, lifeless and bleeding profusely. It took the midwife over four hours to control the bleeding. By this time, her parents were already aware, as they had to donate blood for their daughter. Indo was transfused with two pints of blood. She stayed two weeks in the clinic before making a full recovery.

Continued: https://allafrica.com/stories/202105270074.html


Reproductive Rights Advocates Call for Biden to Curb Foreign Abortion Restrictions

5/5/2021
by MICHELLE ONELLO, Ms. Magazine

A coalition of over 140 reproductive rights and health care advocates is calling on President Biden to mitigate the harm caused by the over-implementation of U.S. foreign aid restrictions, especially the 50-year-old Helms Amendment, which has limited access to and information about abortion overseas.

In the April 29 letter, advocates highlighted
the direct harm these restrictions cause women, especially victims of
conflict-related sexual violence, and their violation of the U.S.’s human
rights obligations to ensure gender equality and non-discriminatory,
comprehensive health care. While these restrictions were enacted by Congress,
the coalition is advocating for the Biden administration to curb their impact
and support efforts currently underway to repeal them—both to fulfill his
stated policy of support for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
and to provide the same bold leadership on abortion that he has shown in other
areas such as climate change, jobs and infrastructure.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2021/05/05/reproductive-rights-biden-foreign-abortion-restrictions-helms-hyde/


Uganda – Role of morality in legal and policy development process

WEDNESDAY MARCH 10 2021
Annah Kukundakwe

President Yoweri Museveni in his speech during the NRM Liberation Day on January 26 said people should leave their religious beliefs at home and not carry them to office.

I am not sure what motivated him to take this stance, but in my case, I am motivated by the fact that the morality whip that is mainly wielded by religious leaders and members of their congregation, has proven to be untenable.

Continued: https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/oped/commentary/role-of-morality-in-legal-and-policy-development-process-3318306