South Africa has already set an example for the world by enacting a law that protects women’s rights, including their right to terminate a pregnancy. It now needs to make sure that women and girls can access these services, that they have information about their rights, and that they have access to other reproductive health care, such as family planning.
It will take our collective knowledge, experience, energy and expertise to hold governments accountable for their roles in violating women’s and girls’ rights to health.
In Nicaragua, after a total ban on abortion was passed, a woman with an ectopic pregnancy was allowed to languis in a hospital, waiting for her fallopian tube to rupture before a doctor agreed to operate even though there was no doubt regarding the outcome of her pregnancy. This is the world that Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) would like to bring to America with the passage of H.R. 358, the Let Women Die Act of 2011.
The human rights community understands that criminal and other restrictions on abortion are unacceptable and reflect a radical disregard for women’s lives.
Restrictions on abortions just don’t work. This is the predictable, yet bold, conclusion of a report to be presented at the United Nations on Monday by a UN-appointed independent expert on health.