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GJC in the News

The whole world is watching for Biden's plan to protect abortion rights

Excerpt of The Hill Op-Ed authored by GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan and Ipas President Anu Kumar.

The first year of Joe Biden’s presidency came to a close just days before the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, which has served as the foundation for Americans’ right to abortion ever since. Yet, it could be the last anniversary we ever celebrate.

In the next six months, the Supreme Court is set to rule in a case aimed directly at dismantling the constitutional protections established by Roe. Given the realities of a conservative Supreme Court and gridlock in Congress, executive branch leadership and support of abortion is critical. The time is now for the Biden administration and federal agencies to take every measure necessary to protect abortion access. But it shouldn’t stop at creative domestic approaches — an international perspective is also needed.

In the early days of his term, President Biden rescinded a policy known as the “global gag rule.” This policy restricted foreign non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. global health funds from using their own resources to engage in abortion-related work. While rescinding this policy is to be commended, it is also a low bar that every other Democratic president has cleared in the first days of their presidencies since the policy was first enacted in 1985 by the Reagan administration. To demonstrate a real commitment to protecting sexual and reproductive rights around the world, the Biden administration must dismantle structural policies that allowed the global gag rule to exist in the first place.

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The U.S. Can’t Be a Global Leader on Democracy While Banning Abortion at Home

Excerpt of Ms. Magazine Op-Ed co-authored by GJC Legal Advisor Elena Sarver.

Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in a case that could set off a new era of abortion bans across much of the country. It also marked the start of President Biden’s Democracy Summit, a high-level conference bringing together world leaders, civil society and the private sector to discuss challenges and opportunities facing democracy internationally. One of the stated themes of this first of two planned summits is a focus on human rights.

The proximity of these two moments is more than mere coincidence. Yes, the U.S. faces an unprecedented crisis for the right to abortion. But we must also recognize the numerous links between democracy and reproductive rights. A most basic and fundamental freedom in a democracy is the ability to control decision-making around one’s own reproduction. When this freedom is removed, it threatens the ability of half of the country’s population to participate equally in society. So, if the U.S. hopes to credibly host a marquee event to promote its return to global democratic leadership, it must contend with cracks in that facade here at home.

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Crimes Against Humanity: Little Progress on Treaty as UN Legal Committee Concludes its Work

Excerpt of Just Security Op-Ed co-authored by GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

The United Nations General Assembly’s legal committee again missed the opportunity to take action this year on the draft text of a new treaty on crimes against humanity proposed by the International Law Commission. The failure, in the form of a vote Nov. 18 on a draft resolution that simply took note of the draft articles, leaves a critical gap in the legal architecture for preventing and punishing mass atrocity crimes. The result deprives a range of victims and survivors the effective protection and justice they deserve.

As this series has demonstrated, it is imperative to adopt such a treaty for a host of reasons. Even amid substantive disagreements on what the new treaty should include, those cannot be debated and resolved until there is forward momentum and a concrete schedule for such discussions. However, despite overwhelming support from States to establish such a process this year, a few States that appear vehemently opposed to the project stalled concrete progress yet again.

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UN Recognition of the Myanmar Junta Will Hurt the World Body’s Moral Credibility

Excerpt of PassBlue Op-Ed from GJC partners Women's League of Burma.

Nine months ago, Myanmar witnessed the demise of what was still the beginning of a slow transition to a democracy. In the early morning hours of Feb. 1, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and his fellow generals seized power in a well-orchestrated coup d’état. Soon after, the junta began rolling out a campaign of repression and violence. If history is any indicator of what to expect, the worst is yet to come.

While we prepare for this dangerous, uncertain future, diplomats at the United Nations are weighing a decision with massive implications for international action against the coup. The junta is demanding recognition as Myanmar’s official representative, despite its illegitimacy and crimes against its own people. The United States and China reportedly reached a deal that silenced Myanmar’s current representative, Kyaw Moe Tun, during September’s high-level addresses to the UN General Assembly. Yet the question of military recognition appears far from settled. The UN body tasked with decisions on official representation, the Credentials Committee, is set to meet on Dec. 1. The committee consists of the US, China and Russia as well as six other countries.

Here’s what we know: The people of Myanmar are tired of diplomatic compromises. They are urgently demanding that the UN reject the military junta in all forms. This is a regime that stole the November 2020 general election in which the National League for Democracy won a resounding landslide. Its bloody, illegal rule must not be rewarded by leading human-rights bodies like the UN.

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Mississippi abortion ban tees up Supreme Court to overturn Roe

Excerpt of Courthouse News article mentioning a legal brief by the Global Justice Center.

Proponents of the abortion right say bans like that of Mississippi will not prevent the practice but instead just make it less safe. An amicus brief from Human Rights Watch, the Global Justice Center and Amnesty International says unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. 

“The lesson for this case is clear: If an abortion ban like H.B. 1510 is upheld, more women in Mississippi are likely to die,” the brief states. 

If the court were to overturn Roe, abortion providers say low-income and minority women would be impacted the most. 

“You just shouldn't be able to have access to an abortion only based off on where you live or how much money you make and what access you have, but right now in the United States, that's what's going on,” Brewer said. 

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