“Women are mobilizing…”

Women are mobilizingWomen are mobilizing…   Women from across Civil Society and across the globe are mobilizing to thank UNAIDS for their investments in women and girls and to let them know that there is still so much to be done. We urgently need to have global leadership, partnership and accountability that includes women from grassroots upwards to shape, guide and influence the policies and interventions that impact our lives. We can not go backwards and must have systems in place that protect our gains and continue to move us forward.

Please find the sign-on letter below to UNAIDS.
Anyone who wishes to sign on can email kristenldegraaf <at> gmail.com  with your name, country and organization (if applicable) by 24 Feb. Please share widely. Thank you everyone!
Brightest Wishes,  Ebony Johnson

Women have spoken: #WhatWomenWant is renewed leadership, investment, and partnership

We are at an historic moment rich with opportunity, yet we are challenged with ambiguity, contradiction, and uncertainty that threaten to reverse the gains made in terms of our rights, our health, and our equality.  The connections we make, the work we undertake, the experiences we bring, the vision we shape, and the future we build together is more critical than ever to achieve a world where women in all our diversity and across our lifecycle lead and realize our dreams.   Achieving our rights and health, and living with dignity, depends on achieving justice, safety, and equality for all.

The most effective solutions for women and girls must include us, our voices, our visions, and our guidance.

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Trumped Again! Fight the Gag Rule!

Fight the Gag RuleTrumped again: reinstating the global gag rule

This unilateral action must not be allowed to derail women’s right to sexual and reproductive health
By Sarah Hawkes and Kent Buse

There was nothing unexpected about President Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City policy (known as the global gag rule) in the first days of his presidency. Trump’s administration is the latest in a line of American presidencies that have played fast and loose with sexual and reproductive health and rights. After the 1973 historic Roe v Wade ruling upholding the rights of American women to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy,1 Senator Jesse Helms supported an amendment to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act to ensure that no US funds could be used to pay for abortions “as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”2

Variations on the Helms amendment have shuffled back and forth across the American legislature in the ensuing four decades, but the Mexico City policy, enacted under President Reagan in 1984, proved to be the most contentious because it restricted US funding to foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provide voluntary abortion services, even if those services do not use American funds directly for abortions.3 This policy was overturned by President Clinton (1993), reinstated by President G W Bush (2001), rescinded again under President Obama (2009), and re-established by President Trump.

Trump’s version, however, goes further and requires implementation of a plan “to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”3 In other words, it potentially restricts American funding not only to foreign NGOs but to all other recipients that enable the provision of safe abortion services; this could include governments as well as the United Nations system.

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