Afternoon Roundup: Pushing the Child Marriage Act, Free Birth Control in Colombia, Colorado’s First Gay/Latina Justice!

Congress has the chance to pass historic legislation preventing child marrriage globally; web hosting company donates a whopping $500,000 to an HIV/AIDS prevention center for women; the Philippine parliament sells out poor citizens’ reproductive health access; Colorado swears in its first openly gay, Latina Supreme Court Justice.

  • So, all I can say, is go (because I’m not going to write “Who’s your daddy?” Whoops). The company is donating $500,000 to the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS to launch another center, in Phoenix, specifically geared towards preventing HIV/AIDS in women and also assisting women in domestic violence shelters who may be at risk for contracting the disease. More here
  • The Philipine parliament may have unwittingly provided the perfect example of why “Personhood Amendments,” which declare that life begins at conception, are so dangerous. While money was allotted in the health ministry’s budget for the purchase of condoms, birth control pills and more, the parliament decided to block the distribution of funds citing the government’s constitution which states: “It (the state) shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” Some of that money would have provided for free condoms to poor residents. Given this mandate, however, the health ministry will no longer provide access to contraception for Philippinos but, rather, the money will go to “pay down the country’s debt.”  As well, the health ministry will retain programs that provide maternal health care and teach “responsible parenting for the poor.” In other words, we won’t provide you the tools to make your own responsible decisions if you’re poor, we’ll only make sure we’re teaching you what we think you should know after the fact. 
  • Good news from yesterday but we missed it: Colombia has passed a new reproductive health law guaranteeing free contraception to all citizens. From vasectomies to tubal ligations and short term methods as well, the country’s new policy was signed into law by President Juan Manuel Santos. It’s part of a “liberalizing” of the country’s reproductive rights laws including a recent softening of abortion restrictions as well. A Colombian psychologist who works for a health center in an extremely poor neighborhood in area of the country that has seen rising birth rates, says the law will “advance the sexual rights of women of little means…”
  • Adrienne Germain, President of the International Women’s Health Coalition, writing on’s Women’s Rights blog, urges people to sign a petition calling on Congress to pass The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. The act would require the U.S. government “to recognize child marriage as a human rights violation, develop a comprehensive strategy to prevent child marriage and empower young girls, integrate child marriage prevention programs throughout U.S. foreign assistance, and scale-up proven programs.” On December 1, the Senate passed the act. Now it’s time for the House of Representatives to do the same!

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