FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 8, 2018
[New York] – On International Women’s Day, the Global Justice Center stands with women and girls raped in conflict. As a direct result of the abortion restrictions the US puts on its foreign aid, including the Trump Administration’s expanded Gag Rule, women in conflict are regularly denied the medical care they are entitled to and need.
“Despite overwhelming evidence that access to safe abortion is essential to reducing maternal mortality and protecting women’s rights, the Trump Administration continues to put women’s lives at risk and place the US in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law,” says Stephanie Johanssen, the Global Justice Center’s EU and UN Advocacy Director.
Since 2010, the Global Justice Center has led the campaign to have abortion access be ensured as a matter of women’s rights to equal and non-discriminatory medical care under international humanitarian law. Over the past eight years the United Nations, including the Security Council, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and the European Union have all recognized that abortion is protected medical care under international humanitarian law and that abortion services cannot be denied to rape victims in conflict for any reason, including donor restrictions or national laws.
An estimated 25 million of 56 million abortions that occur each year are unsafe and 8-18% of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions. Today, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health released a new report titled, “Who Decides? We Trust Women: Abortion in the Developing World and the UK, ”which makes important recommendations on steps that need to be taken to ensure women’s rights and access to abortion. The Global Justice Center submitted written evidence and provided expert oral testimony to this report. One key recommendation is that the UK Department of International Development promote and disseminate its 2014 policy on abortion and international humanitarian law and ensure the provision of abortion services in conflict zones.
“As a result of the Global Justice Center’s work, donors and countries continue to recognize the importance of funding and taking direct measures to ensure access to abortion in conflict settings under international humanitarian law,” says Akila Radhakrishnan, Global Justice Center’s President (acting.)
“With She Decides and other initiatives, governments and activists around the world are standing up to US abortion restrictions and reaffirming that access to reproductive health care, including abortion, is central to women’s rights,” says Johanssen. “To have everyone coming together to push for the enforcement of international law to ensure women have access to healthcare on the ground is really powerful.”
For more information contact:
Stephanie Olszewski (New York), Global Justice Center