Displaying items 1 - 15 of 17 in total
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    Abortion And Human Rights: Examples From Latin America, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    Human Rights Watch’s experience, in particular in Latin America, has reaffirmed that women’s ability to decide if, when, how often, and with whom to have children is fundamental to their ability to make independent decisions about work, education and family life. Restrictions imposed on access to safe and legal abortion, in addition to other sexual and reproductive health services, violate women’s rights to health, to non-discrimination and equal treatment, to privacy, to be free of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to the benefits of scientific progress, among others. This article draws links between abortion and human rights while illustrating the scope for advocacy in the varying abortion contexts in Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. The authors explore entry points for activism and change as they highlight regional commonalities and contextual differences with respect to abortion. …

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    Advocating For Abortion Access: Lessons And Challenges, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    This article reflects on the lessons learnt about strategies for increasing access to abortion from an 11 country comparative policy analysis known as the Johannesburg Initiative. It reflects on the value of learning and sharing strategic thinking while remembering that opportunities for litigation, policy change, shifts in programming, or even changing public opinion are often place and time specific, so that what leads to victory in one place cannot necessarily be repeated in another. The task is to build the evidence, the legal and health system capacity, the engagement with the public and policymakers to be able to take advantage of windows of opportunity as they arise. The article also suggests that while many gains have been made in winning a broader base of support for the idea of sexual and reproductive rights internationally, there is an urgent need to reinvigorate this movement, particularly through greater leadership, organisational and strategic engagement by activists from developing countries. …

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    A Rights-Based Model: Perspectives From Health Service Providers, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    Latin America and the Caribbean have among the highest levels of unsafe abortions, and current debate rages to change the abortion-related laws and policies. In response, the International Planned Parenthood Federation – Western Hemisphere Region has established a three-pronged framework to fight unsafe abortions, based on promoting the right to increasing access and reducing need, promoted through a range of service and advocacy components. In this case study, a Uruguayan partner organization, ‘Iniciativas Sanitarias’ (IS), adapts this rights-based framework for local application, creating the harm reduction approach. Based on the rights to information, health and women’s autonomy, the IS seeks to empower women and strengthen the commitment of health professionals to provide safer abortion information and services based on the bioethical principles of autonomy, justice and patient-provider confidentiality. …

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    Campaigning For The Right To Legal And Safe Abortion In Brazil, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    This article examines the experience of mobilizing for the right to safe, legal abortion in Brazil. It focuses on exploring the strategies pursued by the feminist and women’s movements to ‘win hearts and minds’ both within these movements, and beyond them, through collective struggle, dialogue and coalition building. Tracing the trajectory of the Brazilian campaign for the legalization of abortion, Jornadas pelo Direito ao Aborto Legal e Seguro (Brazilian Journeys for Legal and Safe Abortion), the article looks at avenues of action and modes of activism. It describes how the efforts of campaigners have focused not only on engaging support from the public and the media, but also on working with the Ministry of Health and health professionals to guarantee the availability of services for abortions that are legal under current restrictions, monitoring changes in public opinion and the media, and on legislative change, which has recently become especially difficult in the wake of increased activism by the Church. …

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    From Constitutional Court Success To Reality: Issues And Challenges In The Implementation Of The New Abortion Law In Colombia, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    In Colombia on 10 May 2006, a Constitutional Court decision decreed that abortion is a constitutional right for women and should not be considered a crime in particular circumstances. In order to monitor the acceptance and take-up of this new decision, Women’s Link started a mapping exercise to identify obstacles and resources to work facing the proper implementation of the law. Many challenges were found, including: lack of information, confusion around conflicting laws, legal and moral conflicts among service providers leading to subjective decisions and lack of service provision, and the challenges of abiding by lawful requirements for access to services during armed conflict. Mapping and recording continues and women’s organisations continue the struggle to realize women’s sexual health rights through ensuring the judicial and disciplinary accountability of service providers and ensurers. …

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    Highlighting Human Rights Violations: The Mock Tribunal On Abortion Rights In Kenya, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    Fewer than 40 per cent of Kenyan women use some sort of contraception, leading to unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Nearly 50 per cent of maternal deaths are linked with unsafe abortions and national law still criminalizes those involved in the provision of an abortion, holding a possible penalty of 15 years imprisonment if found guilty. In its mandate to promote sexual and reproductive rights, including safe abortion services, the Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance of Kenya planned a Mock Tribunal with the view of informing and engaging citizens, the media, policy-makers and advocates publicly on the negative consequences of the criminalization of abortion in Kenya. Over 400 participants gathered to hear testimonies from four women who had abortions, health professionals and counsellors. …

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    IDS Gender Evidence For Action Paper: Gender Equality And The MDGs: Pathways To A Transformative Agenda

    The Millennium Declaration commits itself to gender equality as part of its broader vision of human rights and social justice, The commitment is expressed in terms of two rationales: one intrinsic, seeing gender equality as a fundamental human right, the other instrumental, recognizing the powerful contribution that women make to the eradication of poverty in all its dimensions – and indeed to development itself. This paper takes as its starting premise the intrinsic case for gender equality, that it is a matter of human rights and social justice. Its primary aim is to analyse the pace of progress on gender-related goals, targets and indicators in different regions of the developing world, to explore the factors which have contributed to this progress as well as those which have blocked it. The paper homes in on those Millennium Development Goals and objectives that have the most direct gender dimensions to illustrate the nature of the constraints that block progress on gender equality and the kinds of interventions that can help to advance it. …

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    Introduction: Putting Unsafe Abortion On The Development Agenda, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    This introductory article argues that the interlinked issues of legal reform, the provision of accessible and affordable services and the strengthening of women’s capacities to exercise agency over their own bodies make safe abortion a development issue. Within this understanding, it reviews these intersections through the multiple framings used in the articles in this IDS Bulletin. Public health arguments for safe abortion services speak to increasing concerns over the toll of maternal morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion. Rights-based approaches engage with both national struggles for citizenship rights and personal entitlements to agency. …

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    Introduction: Putting Unsafe Abortion On The Development Agenda, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    This introductory article argues that the interlinked issues of legal reform, the provision of accessible and affordable services and the strengthening of women’s capacities to exercise agency over their own bodies make safe abortion a development issue. Within this understanding, it reviews these intersections through the multiple framings used in the articles in this IDS Bulletin. Public health arguments for safe abortion services speak to increasing concerns over the toll of maternal morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion. Rights-based approaches engage with both national struggles for citizenship rights and personal entitlements to agency. …

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    Islam And Abortion: The Diversity Of Discourses And Practices, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    One in four world citizens across the globe identify themselves as Muslim, and they represent a striking diversity of values and interpretations of Islam’s tenets towards female sexual behaviour and abortion. This is characterized both in the social stigma associated with abortion, and the varying legal status abortion holds in Islamic countries, ranging from legalization to decriminalization in certain cases to full criminalization. In many places, the changing face of society and attitudes towards family size have not kept current with policies and access to contraception, resulting in an increase in the number of abortions and high levels of maternal mortality rates where abortion remains a criminal offense. This article illustrates how a range of strategies including documenting and sharing women’s experiences, advances in abortion techniques, and learning from model countries can be used by a variety of actors and organisations to advocate, on religious, human rights and political grounds, to gain greater access to safer abortion and sexual health services. …

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    Policy Analysis Of Abortion In Indonesia: The Dynamic Of State Power, Human Need And Women's Right, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    The women of Indonesia with unwanted pregnancies face stark choices: giving birth and facing social ostracism, loss of family support network, and even harsh criminal punishment; or an abortion from a clandestine provider, risking serious injury or death. The complexity of Indonesian life is multifaceted. Ruled by multiple formal and traditional legal systems, it remains embroiled in an on-going struggle to establish its identity during the process of democratization and a strengthening of Islamic values in a time when the vast majority of its population, as Muslims, feel under attack by the West’s ‘war on terror’. The campaign to bring in a new health bill including the decriminalization of abortion has been challenged, facing lack of consensus that high maternal mortality rates are primarily caused by clandestine abortions, varying reasons behind reforms to the health law, and lack of political will to see through the change because of difference of opinion. …

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    Social Consensus, Democratic Conflict The Debate On The Decriminalisation Of Abortion In Uruguay, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    Since the restoration of democracy to Uruguay in 1985, every year has seen initiatives to decriminalize abortions. Strong support and public awareness focussing on women’s rights and personal freedom by advocacy groups has bolstered public opinion in support of woman’s choice from 25 per cent to 65 per cent, between 1985 and 2007. Despite this wave of grassroots support, powerful politicians remain wedded to more conservative values, managing to defeat every decriminalization bill presented to date. But the increasing environment of democratization and support for rights and choice, buttressed by a wide range of civil society actors, including advocacy groups, CBOs, academics and politicians, may provide sufficient pressure that the government accepts the newest bill on the Defence on the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health. …

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    Thirty-Five Years Of Legal Abortion: The US Experience, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    Thirty-five years on from the abortion rights victory of Roe vs. Wade, abortion proponents in the USA continue to battle political opposition and the formidable abortion opponents that seek to overturn legal abortion in the long-run, and limit access to services in the short-run. This article outlines the many battles over national and foreign aid policies, legal changes, attacks on and limits to access that have characterized the on-going abortion debate in the USA. Beyond the political, it further illustrates how, despite the legal and human rights discourse the politicians and advocacy bodies pursue, deficient access and funding and stigma are overwhelmingly the critical barriers for the poor and ethnic populations, demonstrating that the ‘choice’ debate is not a realistic one in a context where poor mothers can neither afford to have an abortion, nor mother another child. …

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    Unsafe Abortion: A Development Issue, IDS Bulletin 39.3

    Abortion has become an ever more controversial issue, provoking strong reactions both ‘for’ and ‘against’. Language used in disputes over whether or not women should have access to safe and legal abortion indicates just how polarised debates have become: pro-choice versus pro-life; pro-abortion versus anti-choice. As the anti-abortion agenda has become coupled with other conservative agendas, such as ‘pro-abstinence’, ‘pro-chastity’ and ‘anti-contraception’, an increasingly assertive movement has evolved. The extension of these conservative forces to parts of the world where thousands of women die every year because they were unable to access safe abortion and protect themselves from HIV infection, has turned this polarized dispute into an urgent development issue. …

  • Archive Resource

    Unsafe Abortion: A Development Issue, IDS Bulletin 39.3

    Abortion has become an ever more controversial issue, provoking strong reactions both ‘for’ and ‘against’. Language used in disputes over whether or not women should have access to safe and legal abortion indicates just how polarised debates have become: pro-choice versus pro-life; pro-abortion versus anti-choice. As the anti-abortion agenda has become coupled with other conservative agendas, such as ‘pro-abstinence’, ‘pro-chastity’ and ‘anti-contraception’, an increasingly assertive movement has evolved. The extension of these conservative forces to parts of the world where thousands of women die every year because they were unable to access safe abortion and protect themselves from HIV infection, has turned this polarized dispute into an urgent development issue. …