Sexual/reproductive rights & health

The practice of men marrying underage girls - which has been an accepted social norm for centuries but has been linked in recent years to the spread of HIV - was recently declared illegal in Swaziland.

When rape is used as a weapon of war in places like Congo or Bosnia, thousands of women and girls can become pregnant, but a piece of 39-year-old U.S. legislation means that few if any aid groups are allowed to provide or even discuss abortion services with them.

There's a 38 year-old Congolese woman named Josephine who has probably never heard of U.S. Representative and Senatorial candidate Todd Akin. But, if she had, Josephine would know all too well how wrong Akin was when he said that a woman's body can "shut the whole thing down" and prevent a pregnancy if she experiences a "legitimate rape." When Josephine was 29, she, like many of the estimated 1.8 million other women and girls who were raped during the Congo's series of conflicts, became pregnant. Akin's comments will never affect Josephine, so she has little reason to care. But she cares very much about the U.S. legislative efforts to restrict abortion access, because that decades-long campaign, of which Akin is only an example, has changed her life permanently.

Bella is  34 years old.  Without her knowledge or consent, she became the victim of forced  sterilisation at the age of 12 when her parents took her to hospital for what they told her was  an operation to have her appendix removed.  Nine years later, during a routine pelvic examination,  Bella was told it was her uterus, not her appendix that had been removed.Thirteen years on from her discovery, Bella’s grief and anger are still raw. 

Activists have welcomed a ban on female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in the new constitution of Somalia – a country where 96 percent of women undergo one of the more extreme forms of the practice – but warn that translating the law into action will require more than just a legal declaration. 

Pursuant to a month of heated discussions, Turkish government stated that they will not amend the existing laws on abortion in Turkey and restricted their changes to the subject of making caesar sections more difficult to implement. Social media whirled about a few days, press immediately forgot about the issue, but the snake never slept.

Nine Ivorian women aged 46 to 91 years were convicted of female genital mutilation and complicity of female circumcision, at Katiola, a town 400 km from Abidjan. In February they had excised thirty girls in a ritual ceremony. At the end of this first trial for excision, they got a one-year sentence and a fine of 50,000 CFA francs (75 Euros). However, these women will not serve their prison sentences because of their age, according to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

WLUML has joined numerous rights groups, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, DAWN, the International Women's Health Coalition and RESURJ in supporting the following statement "Rights must be at the centre of the Family Planning Summit", to be presented to the organizers of the DFID/Gates Family Planning Summit which will be held in London on 11 July 2012.

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TO THE POLICIES OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY THAT TARGET GENDER EQUALITY, WOMEN'S BODIES, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, AND SEXUALITY, OUR RESPONSE IS A RESOUNDING "NO!"

We demand that the process to ban abortion be ceased IMMEDIATELY!

Banning abortion or further limiting the duration and conditions under which it can be performed;

Un collectif d’associations turques a lancé sur internet la pétition « Say no Abortion ban », « Dites non à l’interdiction de l’avortement ».

En Turquie, l’avortement est légal depuis 1983 jusqu’à 10 semaines de grossesse. Déplorant que le taux de fécondité soit passé de 3,14 enfants par femme en 1980 à 2,11 en 2009, le Premier ministre turc Erdogan incite les couples à avoir « au moins trois enfants ».

Moroccan activists have stepped up pressure to scrap laws that allow rapists to marry their victims - after a 16-year-old girl killed herself.

Amina Filali swallowed rat poison after being severely beaten during a forced marriage to her rapist.

An online petition has been started - and protests are planned for Saturday against a law branded by campaigners as an "embarrassment".

The penal code allows the "kidnapper" of a minor to marry her to escape jail.

'Dishonour'

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