Sunday, September 28, Amnesty International is taking part in the International Day to Decriminalize Abortion. The importance of access to safe, legal abortion is clearly demonstrated in Amnesty’s new report, On the Brink of Death: Violence Against Women and the Abortion Ban in El Salvador. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Teresa Vargas Valdes, Chile Country Specialist and Tarah Demant, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist
In Chile, it’s criminal to get an abortion, even when the life of the mother is at risk. Since 1991, several congressional bills have been presented in Chile in order to allow exceptions to this restrictive law, the most recent of which was in April 2012, when the Senate rejected three motions that would have decriminalized the legal interruption of pregnancy in three different contexts: when the life of the mother is at risk, rape and when the fetus is not viable.
The current total abortion ban allows for not such exceptions, and this extreme restriction on women’s reproductive health rights not only conflicts with international law, it also puts the lives of countless women and girls at risk.
What would you say if I told you that living without a source of drinking water near home is a major risk for sexual and reproductive health?
Collecting water is nearly always a woman’s task. Estimates are that women spend around 40 billion hours a year walking for water. For nearly 800 million people, this is a reality.
As you know, activism inside El Salvador (led by the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) and around the globe helped save Beatriz, the young Salvadoran mother whose life was jeopardized by the absolute ban on abortion in El Salvador.
We would like to share a note that Beatriz wrote to express her gratitude to all those who took part in this effort:
To my friends from the Colectivo Feminista and everywhere else:
I want to thank you for having supported me all the way, and without you I think I wouldn’t have been able to stand being in the hospital.
I also want to thank you for all the actions you took for my life.
This situation has been very difficult and without your support I wouldn’t have been able to get through it.
Water is a women’s issue. World Water Day, March 22, is Women’s Rights Day.
As basic economic, social and cultural rights, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are a government’s responsibility. As a women’s rights issue, WASH is a concern for us all.
There is a great deal of evidence backing this up.
Every year, 40 billion working hours are lost to water collection worldwide, mostly by women and girls. This violates their rights to employment and education by taking up time and energy; and their rights to safety and dignity by exposing them to injury, animal attack, and physical and sexual violence. Since the water they collect is usually unsafe (if it were safe, chances are they wouldn’t have to walk far to get it, because a tap would be available near home), it violates their right to health, exposing them to Neglected Tropical Diseases, diarrhea, even uterine prolapse from carrying heavy loads.
Lack of sanitation and safe drinking water violates the right to safe and adequate housing. Combined with poor hygiene, it makes people sick because they ingest fecal matter without even knowing it, creates breeding grounds for insects carrying diseases like trachoma, and contaminates water sources; water-borne illnesses impact children most, keeping more kids from school and causing trauma for the many parents whose children don’t survive these diseases, up to 2,000 each day.
By Tarah Demant, Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
Today, nearly 3,000 people will be infected with HIV. Yet, only 34% of young people in developing countries can answer five basic questions about HIV and how to prevent it.
Around the world, one woman dies every 90 seconds from complications of pregnancy or childbirth—more than 350,000 women every year. The vast majority of these deaths are preventable—child marriage, unsafe and unprotected sex, and inadequate care during pregnancy all contribute to this alarming number.
Complications during pregnancy and childbirth, gender-based violence and AIDS are among the leading causes of mortality for young people. Complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 in developing countries.