Nations Must Improve Women’s Health, SRHR To Adhere To International Human Rights Standards, Reach UHC, Opinion Pieces Say

Newsweek: The Trump Administration’s Grades for Sexual and Reproductive Rights Are In
Bergen Cooper, director of policy research at CHANGE — Center for Health and Gender Equity

“When it comes to protecting women’s human rights globally, along with sexual and reproductive rights, the U.S. government under President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence is not only failing to meet the nation’s commitments. It is actively and mercilessly cutting them back. That’s why commemorating International Human Rights Day on Tuesday is especially important. … The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Index is a tool that critically assesses the U.S. government’s global health policies and funding that impact sexual and reproductive health and rights. For most U.S. government agencies, 2018 marked the second straight year of declining scores — and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which had high marks for meeting global commitments in 2017, saw a dramatic drop in its score for 2018, declining from an A- (91.5) to a C (76). … There is no better day than International Human Rights Day to recognize that sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. And together, with a lot of hard work, perseverance, and holding our world leaders accountable — we can see them through for everyone” (12/10).

Boston Globe: End the ‘Global Gag Rule’
Shola Lawal, 2019 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow at the International Women’s Media Foundation and a research fellow at MIT’s Center for International Studies

“In a move that played out at the United Nations General Assembly in September, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the United States and 18 other states, including Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Iraq, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Yemen jointly condemned policies that promoted sexual and reproductive rights of women in the U.N.’s newly adopted Universal Health Coverage Political Declaration. … [Nigeria] President Muhammadu Buhari’s government felt compelled to align with the U.S. faction. … It is time for Africa as a whole to look inward and ask why 93 percent of our women live in countries where safe abortions are restricted. … By 2023, when countries report back on UHC, Nigeria should be clear on why Nigerian women opt for abortions, and we should be working toward providing policies and infrastructure to that effect. We should focus on dispelling cultural myths around family planning to make it more accessible. We should educate men — without whom no pregnancy would happen — about sexual and reproductive issues and strengthen legal systems that will prosecute sexual offenses effectively. And we should be clear with the United States and the other 18 U.N. nations that objected to the UHC, that Nigeria will not compromise when it comes to our women and our girls. In 2020, women deserve that and more” (12/10).

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