Illinois action blog

Friday, October 28, 2011

Reproductive Rights are Human Rights

Did you hear that? That was the sound of Planned Parenthood giving the United Nations a giant high five. This past Monday, the UN released a report telling the world what we’ve been saying all along – that restrictions on abortion and contraception are not only dangerous to women’s health, but also a violation of basic human rights.

Based on years of legal analysis and discussions with human rights experts and written by Anand Grover, a UN-appointed authority on public health, the report calls out backwards anti-woman policies enacted under the name of “public morality”:

“When criminal laws and legal restrictions used to regulate public health are neither evidence-based nor proportionate, States should refrain from using them to regulate sexual and reproductive health, as they not only violate the right to health of affected individuals, but also contradict their own public health justification.”

To put it simply – laws banning abortion don’t actually succeed in banning abortion. What they do succeed in doing is forcing women into unhealthy and unsafe situations that jeopardize their well-being, their families and even their lives (ahem, Mississippi). For policy that’s essentially ineffective in what it tries to do, a ban on abortion carries a heavy price. And don’t even get us started on the twisted logic behind restricting contraception, education and sexual health services, an action that achieves nothing more than the disempowerment of the women it claims to protect.


Unfortunately, this situation is currently the reality for a quarter of the world’s female population. Abortion is forbidden in all cases in eight nations and severely restricted or punished in many more. Access to contraceptive services and sex education are, for many women and girls around the globe, difficult or impossible to obtain. And disturbingly, several lawmakers right here in the US are doing their best to bring this reality home.

Here’s hoping that all member states of the United Nations – the US included – heed the warnings and recommendations of this report. Planned Parenthood calls upon lawmakers across the country and the world to work on building a future in which women are respected, trusted, and given the rights they deserve. 
Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, human rights

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