As much of the world took a collective pause to express appreciation for the man who came to personify the struggle for human rights and racial justice in South Africa, the right-wing base that now fuels the Republican Party erupted in consternation and condemnation.
There is much we can learn from our sisters in the Global South who, rather than trying to gain access to services that all too often do not exist or fail to treat them well, are obtaining pills to induce abortion and taking them at home without seeing a health provider.
Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s health minister, reported that 77,771 legal abortions were performed in 2011, a 31 percent increase over 2010. This statistic has rattled the country’s growing anti-abortion movement, sending it into a frenzy of activity to roll back the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act passed 16 years ago.
If you work in reproductive health or public health you often hear people talking about the “unmet need for contraception” in a certain country or region. But here’s an unmet need that never gets discussed outside of small circles: second-trimester abortion.
Fundamentalist religious movements are gaining ground everywhere we look. What does it mean for human rights, and more importantly, how can we move the human rights agenda forward, effectively? A panel of experts on religion and rights examined this question at AWID 2012.
Weekly global roundup: “virginity test” doctor is acquitted in Egypt while women’s football gathers momentum; condoms may literally save South Africa; a rosier picture of sex work in Thailand; journalist threatened for exposing female genital cutting in Liberia; and a steamy drama series in Kenya tackles sexual taboos.
Sex workers deserve the basic respect and protection from violence that each nation owes its citizens. But in many settings, police abuse of sex workers receives scant public attention despite its entrenched global reality.
Who bears the brunt of the increasingly steep costs of “global weirding” as the world’s weather goes haywire? Women and their children. And who may be the key to stopping global warming, and to helping communities around the world adapt to the damage that has already been done? Yes, women too.
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.
Poor quality maternity care, abuse by health workers, and health systems that are unaccountable to pregnant women and mothers all can subvert efforts brimming over with resources and political will.