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Ireland: The right to decide about reproduction belongs to all women

May 23, 2018

The World Association for Sexual Health urges all citizens and organisations in Ireland to support the freedom to decide about their own bodies, reproduction and family planning and go to vote on May 25th.

The citizens of the Republic of Ireland will vote on May 25th whether to amend the constitution regarding the conditions when women can have abortion. Currently in Ireland abortion is legal only when the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy, including suicide. If a simple majority votes “yes” the constitution will be amended, which would make it possible to create laws in the future that allow for other conditions for abortion in safe conditions.

The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) calls for amending the constitution in Ireland in order to enable full right to abortion to all women in their own discretion. The Declaration of Sexual Rights (2014)  states that everyone has the right to sexual autonomy and bodily integrity (article 3), which encompasses the freedom to decide about one’s body and reproduction.

Furthermore, the Declaration of Sexual Rights states explicitly that everyone must have full access to sexual health information and services including pregnancy termination (article 12). National laws must grant women the power to decide about their own body and reproduction regardless of any cultural or religious objections.

Sexual rights are human rights, and the freedoms they define belong to every individual. Someone’s freedom of conscience, religion or cultural belief does not affect the other’s right to make decisions about their own body, reproduction or family planning.

WAS is an international organization, with more than one hundred member organizations across the globe, that promotes and advocates for sexual health and sexual rights throughout the lifespan and across the world by advancing sexuality research, comprehensive sexuality education, and clinical care and services for everyone.

 

WAS statement about limitations of abortion rights in Poland

 

WAS statement about limitations of abortion rights in Poland

4th April 2018

Alarming news reports are coming from Poland this week about the right and access to abortion. Right to abortion is being challenged at the national Parliament. At the initiative of the Catholic Church, the Members of Parliament are asked to discuss and vote a new bill that will restrict and prohibit the already limited situations for which abortion is authorized in Poland. The procedure is authorized only if the life of the fetus is at risk or if there is a grave threat to the health of the mother or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. This is one of the most limiting abortion laws in Europe. In Poland abortion was legalized in 1956, and until 1993, Poland had one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe. It is estimated that at least one in four Polish women have had an abortion.

Members of Parliament from the governing Law and Justice Party are making a renewed attempt to outlaw these laws, even when there are negative prognoses for the fetus. The latest legislation project would allow procedures in cases where the mother’s life is at risk or the pregnancy resulted from a crime, but would ban abortions of fetuses with congenital disorders. This new attack would be in contradiction with Poland’s obligations under international human rights law. On Friday March 23rd thousands of women and men demonstrated against this restrictive proposal.

The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) denounces the attacks against women’s rights and reaffirms its support for the sexual and reproductive rights of women. Article 12 of the WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights (2014) states that everyone has the right to make reproductive decisions on their own terms, and this right includes unobstructed access to sexual health services, including safe abortions.

Beyond the clear violation of human rights recognized by international statutes concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, WAS considers that obstacles to safe abortion will result in an increase of illegal and unsafe abortions, causing serious harm to women. Unsafe abortion is one of the major causes of maternal mortality in many countries.

WAS is an international organization, with more than one hundred member organizations across the globe, that promotes and advocates for sexual health and sexual rights throughout the lifespan and across the world by advancing sexuality research, comprehensive sexuality education, and clinical care and services for everyone.

 

WAS statement about limitations of abortion rights in Brazil (PEC 181)

 

WAS statement about limitations of abortion rights in Brazil (PEC 181)

11th December 2017

In Brazil, abortion is only permissible in cases of rape, when a pregnancy threatens the woman’s life, and in the case of very serious brain damage of the fetus (anencephaly). Consequently, around one million abortions are performed illegally each year, with many of these under unsafe conditions. The Brazilian Ministry of Health reported that at least 181,000 women were treated in 2015 for complications of illegal abortion, of which 59 women died.

Reports indicate that 60% of complicated abortions occur in women under 20 years of age, because they do not have access to contraception or legal abortion. Clandestine abortions cause 1 in 8 maternal deaths and between 10 to 50% are complicated by incomplete abortion, infection, hemorrhage, perforation of the uterus, sterility and psychological traumas.

Despite acknowledging the risks and high rates of complications, the federal government is planning to make all abortions illegal. The bill – PEC 181 – will, if approved, remove all exceptions for a legal abortion. This measure is part of a constitutional amendment.

Several Brazilian organizations are currently challenging PEC 181 and the limitations it imposes on women’s sexual and reproductive rights.

The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) denounces the bill, PEC 181, and reaffirms its support for the sexual and reproductive rights of women. Article 12 of the WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights (2014) states that everyone has the right to make reproductive decisions on their own terms, and this right includes unobstructed access to sexual health services, including safe abortions.

Beyond the clear violation of human rights recognized by international statutes concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, WAS considers that obstacles to safe abortion will result in an increase of illegal and unsafe abortions, causing serious harm to women. Unsafe abortion is one of the major causes of maternal mortality in Brazil.

WAS is an international organization, with more than one hundred member organizations across the globe, that promotes and advocates for sexual health and sexual rights throughout the lifespan and across the world by advancing sexuality research, comprehensive sexuality education, and clinical care and services for everyone.

Blueprint for trans people health published

WAS participated in consultation for creating the Blueprint for the Provision of Comprehensive Care for Trans People and Trans Communities in Asia and the Pacific. The document can be found here.

More information is available from the website of the Health Policy Project, which is the main author of the document.

Abstract

The Blueprint for the Provision of Comprehensive Care for Trans People and Trans Communities in Asia and the Pacific (the Blueprint) is a document with far-reaching potential and applications in trans health and human rights in the region. The purpose of the Blueprint is to strengthen and enhance the policy-related, clinical, and public health responses for trans people in Asia and the Pacific. The primary audience for the Blueprint is health providers, policymakers and governments. The information within the Blueprint could also serve donors, bi- and multilateral organizations and trans and other civil society organizations.

The Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the USAID-funded Health Policy Project (HPP) collaboratively developed the Blueprint. This document is the third in a series of regional trans health Blueprints, and builds on what was produced in Latin America and the Caribbean by the Pan American Health Organization, the Regional Office of the World Health Organization for the Americas.