IHP news 517: Sexual/Reproductive/Maternal

By on April 12, 2019

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

UNFPA Study: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/04/1036431

More than four in 10 women in 51 countries surveyed, feel they have no choice but to agree to their partner’s sexual demands, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, said on Wednesday, noting that they are also unable to make basic decisions about getting pregnant and accessing health care for themselves. “


“Monica Ferro, Director of UNFPA Geneva, said the figures were “worrisome” and it was essential to raise the level of consent and access to vital health services, for millions of women around the world. “Don’t forget: each one of these numbers is a person”, she added. “


World Politics Review
: The U.S. tries, and fails, to dilute a global agreement on Women’s Rights
“…This year’s [United Nations Commission on the Status of Women] meeting, which included a record number of attendees, was focused on social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure to advance gender equality. But innocuous as that agenda may sound, the forum was marred by contentious negotiations, particularly over the use of words like ‘gender,’ ‘family,’ and ‘reproductive rights’ in the commission’s final outcome document, says Rachel Vogelstein, director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. … But this year, she notes, ‘the United States expressed concern about reaffirming the Beijing Declaration.’ … [Vogelstein added,] ‘Although the United States did not prevail in its campaign to backtrack on prior international agreements at the commission, its leadership of a growing opposition to prior international agreements on women’s human rights is an ominous sign for the future'” (Waldman, 4/8).”

Paul Kagame orders release of women and girls jailed over abortion in Rwanda


““Pursuant to the powers conferred upon him by the laws … the president of the republic informed the cabinet meeting that he has exercised his prerogative of mercy and pardoned 367 persons convicted for the offences of abortion, complicity in abortion and infanticide,” read a statement published after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, when the decision was approved.


“The government has proven once again that Rwanda is a cradle of women’s rights,” said Athanase Rukundo, director of programmes at Health Development Initiative, a human rights organisation It is a positive step, taken to realize the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls in Rwanda”


Lancet (Comment) – Local trends in immunization coverage across Africa


Comment accompanying a new study in the Lancet that estimates diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine coverage across the African continent at highly localised scales.

Associated Press: U.N. population fund chief laments U.S. funding cut
“The U.N. population agency chief says she regrets the U.S. government’s decision to cut funding for programs that help ensure safe pregnancies worldwide. The United States used to provide about $70 million per year toward UNFPA programs to protect the health and lives of women and girls in developing countries. More than half of those funds were used for ‘life-saving humanitarian programs,’ said Dr. Natalia Kanem, the agency’s executive director. The Trump administration announced in 2017 it was cutting all funding to the agency. The move was seen as a gesture to American conservatives and anti-abortion activists, though UNFPA doesn’t provide abortions…” (4/10).

Devex: Minority groups excluded from global progress on SRHR, UNFPA report says
“Despite global gains in securing sexual and reproductive rights over the past 50 years, many population groups are still left behind, according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Population Fund. The ‘State of World Population 2019’ report shows that global fertility rates have roughly halved since the agency began operations in 1969. But it also highlights how reproductive rights remain inaccessible to many, including more than 200 million women worldwide who want to prevent a pregnancy but don’t have access to contraceptives. ‘The lack of this power — which influences so many other facets of life, from education to income to safety — leaves women unable to shape their own futures,’ UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said in a press release…” (Jerving, 4/10).

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