Friday, January 17, 2014

Abortion agenda in the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights

On the 20th year after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and the year before the reckoning of the MDG achievements, civil society organizations in collaboration with government policy makers, program implementers, and development partners will gather at the Philippine International Convention Center on January 21-24, 2014 for the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights. This conference will provide an opportunity for the participants to examine the region’s performance, current good practices for diverse population segments (adolescents and youth, women of reproductive age, men, and the elderly), the roles and accountability of different stakeholders, as well as lessons learned, issues and challenges in realizing the ICPD Program of Action and in attaining the SRHR-related MDGs. This gathering will also generate new paradigms, innovative ideas and strategies that would address emerging SRHR issues and challenges beyond 2015. (Source: 7th APCRSHR)
This conference has an abortion agenda.  Check out the conference's program of activities and you will see the following key phrases:
  • Post abortion care 
  •  Women seeking safe abortion services
Here are the key abortion statements in the Conference's satellite sessions:
  • The proposed session is an attempt to bring back the attention of CSOs, Policy Makers and Community Gate Keepers towards issues such as the gap between the rich and the poor, discrimination against women, human rights, unmet need for family planning, sexuality education, unsafe abortion and others. 
  •  Organization: Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) Title: Unsafe Abortions in Asia: Not just a number. As countries start assessing and evaluating their achievements coming closer to the ICPD @20 as well as the final years of the MDGs, there is an urgent need to recognize the critical role played by unsafe abortion in maternal mortality numbers. Asia is currently poised to have the largest number of young people ever in its history and country governments as well as civil society needs to ensure that the sexual and reproductive rights of these youth are protected, respected and fulfilled. The dire situation of unsafe abortions in the region is also faced with the legal barriers that impacts on women and young people accessing abortion services. The criminalization of abortion leads thousands of women and girls to die or suffer lifelong illnesses and disabilities every year. This is a social justice and a human rights issue that the UN Special rapporteur for Health has made a statement in the General Assembly on 24th October 2011 clearly stating that "Criminal prohibition of abortion is a very clear expression of State interference with a woman’s sexual and reproductive health because it restricts a woman’s control over her body, possibly subjecting her to unnecessary health risks. Criminal prohibition also requires women to continue unplanned pregnancies and give birth when it is not their choice to do so. States are obliged to ensure that women are not denied access to necessary post-abortion medical services, irrespective of the legality of the abortion undertaken."
Note the following key abortion phrases:
  • Unsafe abortion
  • Accessing abortion services
  • Criminalization of abortion
  • Post-abortion medical services
  • Legality of the abortion
Lastly, here are some declarations featured in the Conference website:
  • 3rd Declaration, Kuala Lumpur, 2005. We note that an increasing number of countries have legalized abortion and are actively promoting safe methods of pregnancy termination. Nonetheless women throughout the region remain at risk of illness or death due to unsafe abortion. We will work to promote services to eliminate the harm caused by unsafe abortion while respecting the laws of countries. 
  • 4th Declaration, Hyderabad, India, 2007. In 1987 governments and NGOs met in Nairobi to call for an end to the 570,000 global and 332,100 Asia and Pacific annual maternal deaths caused by women’s lack of access to contraception, skilled birth assistance, safe abortion, nutrition and respect. Today we see that there are still 242,910 maternal deaths in our region annually, a small decline in comparison with our expectations. Across Asia and the Pacific large numbers of women are still denied access to contraception and safe abortion services either through their poverty, or the barriers erected against comprehensive reproductive and sexual health services. Some countries have made progress in addressing gender based violence, and some have worked hard to reduce the harm of unsafe abortion by ensuring women have access to contraception and high quality methods of safe abortion. But progress is too slow and the cost of this continuing failure is too high....As agents of change we feel that a much greater drive and acceleration of efforts is needed by all of us to save the lives of women and men living in resource poor settings. We would like to reiterate here that poverty today has moved from its earlier definition that encompassed only economic parameters. Today social poverty inhibits and constrains access to already scarce development resources by young people, by people living with HIV and AIDS, by women seeking safe abortion and all people living in vulnerable circumstances irrespective of their economic status. 
  • 5th Declaration, Beijing, China, 2009. Reproductive Health and Rights. Governments should fully recognize sexual and reproductive rights through effective education, policies and services supported by adequate budgets. To do so requires greater commitments to comprehensive family planning and health education and services. This is the most effective way to achieve the ICPD and MDG 5B targets of universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Continuing high levels of mortality surrounding pregnancy and childbirth should alert everybody to the need to include voluntary family planning, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care in efforts to strengthen primary health care services. Research by WHO and other organizations has reminded us that even in countries where abortion is legal women suffer from the risks of unsafe procedures. In many countries debates about morality of abortion eclipse the commitments made to protect the health and well-being of women. While recognizing the value of traditional health practices, governments need to ensure that medications and practices provided for reproductive and sexual health are safe and effective. In facing all these challenges governments need to ensure that poverty and lack of education are removed as barriers to services for reproductive health and safe childbearing. 
  •  6th Declaration, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2011. Looking at the persistent issues of intolerance, inequity and discrimination the Conference spent two days discussing papers on contested reproductive and sexual rights, including such controversial issues as unsafe and safe abortion and the special needs of marginalized and socially-excluded communities.
Note the following key abortion phrases:
  • Safe and unsafe abortion
  • Abortion is legal
  • Morality of abortion
Notice that one of the many of the ideas here was already incorporated in the RH law: post-abortion care.  Once they get a toe-hold here, these pro-RH advocates will push for more, such as the legalization of abortion, despite its prohibition by the Philippine Constitution.
Contraceptive Research and Development, 1984-1994: The Road from Mexico City to Cairo and Beyond
Contraceptive Research and Development, 1984-1994: The Road from Mexico City to Cairo and Beyond
Sexual and Reproductive Health: Research and Action in Support of the Millennium Development Goals: Report 2006-2007
Sexual and Reproductive Health: Research and Action in Support of the Millennium Development Goals: Report 2006-2007
Obstetric Triage and Emergency Care Protocols
Obstetric Triage and Emergency Care Protocols
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time
Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time
Abortion and Unborn Human Life, Second Edition
Abortion and Unborn Human Life, Second Edition