Sunday, June 13

End all legal barriers to abortion, say leading European politicians | Reproductive rights

Government ministers from five European countries, including Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, are among 29 politicians, health and women’s rights activists who have signed an open letter calling for the removal of all barriers. legal to abortion.

The letter, signed by the gender and equality ministers of France, Canada and Norway, and the international development ministers of Sweden and the Netherlands, states that women’s right to legal and safe abortion is being eroded by misinformation and attacks on services. Call for the reopening of abortion clinics closed during the pandemic.

The signatories say that abortion should be considered an essential health service and call for a global campaign “of objective and impartial information” so that women and girls know their rights and understand their options.

Released by the SheDecides movement on Wednesday, the letter calls for an end to mandatory abortion counseling, implementation of the next revised World Health Organization guidelines, and for abortion-inducing drug mifepristone to be approved for its use in countries where it is not yet available.

“No woman should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term; and no woman should die from pregnancy or childbirth. The foundation of a just and equal world for women and girls in all their diversity is the right to decide about their own bodies. All women around the world have the right to safe and legal abortion, to maternal and obstetric health care, to comprehensive sexuality education and to contraception, ”the letter reads.

“But right now, around the world, women and girls are routinely denied full access to their sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms. The disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on the economic empowerment of women and the increase in sexual and gender-based violence, makes the need to ensure gender equality more urgent than ever. “

Campaigns against abortion are often “spearheaded by well-organized and well-funded lobbyists” around the world, the letter continues.

“Their most visible vanguard are protesters standing outside clinics, intimidating and harassing women and girls seeking essential health services. But they also operate behind the scenes, working with anti-abortion groups and politicians to spread disinformation and force a chilling effect on women’s rights. “

The letter adds: “By campaigning to remove legal barriers and protect abortion as an essential health service, we can prevent unsafe abortions, save women’s lives, and take another step toward achieving gender equality.” .

The SheDecides movement was launched in 2017 by Lilianne Ploumen, a former Dutch trade minister and a signatory to the letter, in response to cuts in reproductive health services from the Trump administration.

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