Early October Inspire, the European Partnership for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) convened European and international SRHR advocates in the ancient city of Athens. The conference focused on the upcoming 25th anniversary of the International Conference for Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo (1994) and collected best practices as well as European input for the ICPD Nairobi Summit. Participants were invited to share successes by the SRHR community, and to reflect on the ongoing push-backs to SRHR from conservative and populist movements.
The Center for Reproductive Rights published it's 2019 edition of the World Abortion Laws Map.
26 countries prohibit abortion in all circumstances, 39 countries only allow abortion when the mother's live is at stake.
The Center for Reproductive Rights' new interactive website provides up-to-date information on the right to abortion across the world and includes an abortion law and policy guide, to support advocates in advancing reform, and a tool to track progress over time.
The UN Security Council adopted a weak resolution on the uptake of sexual violence in conflict. The Americans insisted on deleting any reference to sexual and reproductive health care for victims of rape and sexual violence from the text.
The Trump administration is systematically undermining the consensus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The administration wants to prevent any possible reference to abortion. With his entry into office the administration reintroduced the Mexico City Policy which prohibits American development aid to organisations which provide information on abortion or referrals to other organisations, even where abortion is allowed by law.
Late March the American association ‘International Organisation for the Family’ (IOF) and anti-choice associations ProVita and CitizenGo co-organised the 5th World Congress of Families in the Italian city of Verona.
The congress allows anti-choice associations to meet associations who are against freedom of choice with regard to relations, sexuality and family planning.
The 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place on March 11th-22nd at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Agreed Conclusions, focusing on the theme of social protection, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure were adopted after a week of long and late negotiations.
On Thursday the 28th of February in Brussels, the ‘The State of African Women’ report was presented on the eve of International Women’s Day at the federal parliament. Gina Wharton, policy advisory at IPPF European Network presented the research report by the Dutch KIT Royal Tropical Institute, a report that is part of an awareness project that goes by the title ‘Right by Her’. The research report maps the realisations as well as the gaps in the ratification and implementation of the Maputo Protocol by African states. This protocol is a legally binding instrument in which the rights of African women have been recognised by the member states of the African Union.
“Progress in SRHR requires confrontation of the barriers embedded in laws, policies, the economy, and in social norms and values (….) that prevent people from achieving sexual and reproductive health.”
This is what the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission “Accelerate progress – sexual and reproductive health and rights for all” states in no uncertain terms. The report documents the magnitude of the SRHR needs, provides a comprehensive definition of SRHR and a roadmap on how to advance universal access to SRHR.
The commission underlines that the improvement of people’s health depends on individuals’ ability to make decisions about their own sexual and reproductive lives and respecting the decisions of others. The commission’s report is the result of two years of joint collaboration of 16 respected SRHR experts from different parts of the world. Belgian Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman was one of them.
With a High-Level Panel on the European Development Days, Belgium raised attention for the unmet needs of adolescents.
June 6, Brussels. "Unsafe abortion is more accessible then contraceptives”, Young EDD leader Archane Phonsina said, in her testimony of young women’s challenges in the DR Congo. Phonsina lost one of her best friends to an unsafe abortion and is one of the leading voices for adolescents’ access to family planning and safe abortion in her country. “Simply speaking about family planning is still stigmatised and many girls will have at least two unsafe abortions in their lifetime”, she explained.
Member associations of the International Planned Parenthood Federation stand to suffer from the Global Gag Rule or Mexico City Policy. Across the world, IPPF expects to forgo $100 million in funding from the United States Government.
In 32 countries, including Belgian partner countries Burkina Faso, Burundi, Mali, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania and Flemish partner country Mozambique, IPPF member associations have indicated they will forgo funding because of their refusal to sign the Global Gag Rule.
The Trump administration has proposed to cut all support for international family planning and reproductive health in its budget proposal for 2018. This amounts to a budget of $607.5 million. The budget cut is unprecedented.