U.S. Policy Should Support Women’s, Girls’ Reproductive Health, Rights, Opinion Piece Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: OPINION: From the Global Gag Rule to the Geneva Consensus, women’s bodies bear the brunt
Banchiamlack Dessalegn, regional director for East and Southern Africa for Marie Stopes International

“With the U.S. presidential elections just days away, it is hard to miss the growing efforts of the Trump administration to roll back reproductive rights. From the expanded Global Gag Rule, to Amy Coney Barrett’s supreme court confirmation and last week’s Geneva Consensus Declaration, with the U.S. administration asking countries to sign ‘that there is no international right to abortion,’ the fight for reproductive rights and gender equality is far from over. … Over the last four years, women have faced continuous attacks on their reproductive freedom, and while the future of the Global Gag Rule remains uncertain, U.S. policy on abortion continues to impact women around the world. Despite these attempts, every day in the countries where we work, we see defiance, solidarity and resilience, with advocates, healthcare providers, and women themselves refusing to let U.S. policy dictate abortion access. In my region, we have seen huge strides to increase access, through the political commitment and partnership between African Ministries of Health and other governmental and non-governmental partners globally. … At the end of the day, U.S. policy does not just harm access to contraception and safe abortion, but blocks women and girls’ full participation in educational, economic, and political opportunities too. Whoever wins next week, we cannot abandon long-held commitments to uphold reproductive choice, and all eyes will be on the next president to support women to access the care they need, safely and with dignity” (10/29).

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