Women are suffering globally – we must act now

reproductive rightsFollowing the reinstatement of the Gag Rule by President Trump the members of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group and the Gender and Rights Advisory Panel of HRP, the UNDP/UNFPA/ UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special programme on human reproduction, went public. They called on the international community, individual governments, the private sector and others to protect everyone’s right to the highest attainable standards of sexual and reproductive health, and sent the statement to The Guardian. The newspaper titled it Women are suffering globally – we must act now.

The statement is on http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/STAG-STATEMENT.pdf?ua=1

The signatories of the statement are “deeply concerned at the growing opposition to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Current global trends – increasing stigmatisation of essential information and health services, continued support for harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM, increasing restrictions on contraceptive services and abortion care, and decreasing funding – threaten the provision of life-saving care needed by women and girls, especially the poorest and most marginalised.”

The statement ends with “Now, more than ever, it is critical to ensure access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and information and to guarantee that scientific evidence is developed, shared and used by decision-makers to ensure the promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health of all individuals everywhere, so that no one is left behind.”

Gudrun Haupter, Convener of the IAW Commission on Health, adds: The Global Gag rule, also known as Mexico City Policy, does not only ban abortion-related activities. The strings attached to receiving funding from USAID, the Agency for International Development, negatively impact the access to family planning, mother and child care, sexual education and the other components of SRHR. NGOs that sign the Global Gag rule memorandum also pledge not to use their own funds for any activities linked to abortion. NGOs with USAID as main source of funding have to choose between two evils.

Unfortunately the backlash is manifest in many countries. I just call to memory the recent attempt of the Polish government to get through with a quasi complete ban of abortion.

Read the whole letter in the Guardian