Roundup: US Stands Strong for Reproductive Health at UN

Emily Douglas

US makes strong statement for reproductive health at the UN; New York City speakout on women's health needs tonight; anti-choice legislation dies in Montana; sex ed reform, for the better?

US Makes Strong Statement for Reproductive Health at UN
US made a strong statement in support of sexual and reproductive health
at the United Nations Commission on Population and Development
yesterday.  Says the Center for Health and Gender Equity:

Late yesterday, the U.S. government decisively broke from its recent
past by reaffirming its "deep commitment" to "universal access to
sexual and reproductive health and the protection and promotion of
reproductive rights" at the 42nd Session of the Commission on
Population and Development, at UN headquarters in New York.  Women’s
health and human rights advocates joined with world leaders in praising
the U.S. statement.
…Advocates were particularly pleased by the U.S. renewed commitment to
life-saving, comprehensive approaches, including voluntary family
planning "that provides full information and respects the client’s
choices;" complete services during pregnancy and skilled care for
birth; and linking HIV/AIDS activities with sexual and reproductive
health, "given that 60-percent of people on PEPFAR-supported
antiretroviral treatment are women, many of whom are in their
reproductive years."

An International Women’s Health Coalition release quoted the US statement:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, our common task this week is vital.  Five years
remain in both the ICPD and the MDG mandates.  We can, this week,
commit to stronger actions to reach our common goals.  We must do
much more to provide comprehensive, accurate information and education
on sexuality, sexual and reproductive health for women, men, girls, and
boys as they age and their needs evolve. 
We must, as well, foster
equal partnerships and sharing of responsibilities in all areas of
family life, including in sexual and reproductive life, and promote
frank discourse on sexuality, including in relation to sexual health
and reproduction.  We must also acknowledge the direct link between
population rates, fertility, and the ability to reach development

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"We need to prioritize comprehensive sexual and reproductive health
services, as defined in the Programme of Action and the Key Actions for
its further implementation, in our work to strengthen health systems. 
The cluster of services agreed in the Program of Action is all
essential to save women’s lives and protect their health as well as
protect their reproductive rights."

New York City Speakout on Women’s Health Needs
Raising Women’s Voices will be hosting a speakout on women’s health care tonight in New York City, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the InterChurch Center,
475 Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights. RWV writes,

from across New York City
will speak out publicly about the problems they and their families are
experiencing with the current health system, such as:

  • Insurance premiums that are unaffordable;
  • Co-pays and deductibles that are so costly women
    can’t afford to use insurance, if they have it;
  • Limits on coverage for pre-existing medical conditions;
  • Plans that don’t cover maternity and other
    reproductive health services;
  • Lack of translators for families who do not speak

Anti-Choice Legislation Dies in Montana
parental notification legislation and a bill to define a fertilized egg
as a person have died in the Montana legislature this session, reports.  Republican lawmakers are frustrated, but Allyson Hagen, the executive director of NARAL
Pro-Choice Montana, pointed out, "I think that these bills are dead in
committee for a reason. I don’t think that they enjoy the majority
support of Montanans, and I think it’s a reminder for pro-choice
Montanans, that elections matter."


Sex Ed Reform, For the Better?

School Board members in Brookfield, Wisc., are calling for reform to
the district’s sex education, but it’s not clear whether what they want
would be better than what the school currently has.  "Calling
Elmbrook’s existing human growth and development curriculum "a
failure," School Board members joined advisory committee members in
asking for more information about a pre-packaged sex education
curriculum to replace the district’s lessons," reports Brookfield Now.  But the school committee reached no consensus on the following issues:

members disputed whether to continue to describe family structures in
an open-ended way, leaving room for single-parent homes and homes with
homosexual parents. Some members said families should be clearly
defined as having a mother, a father and children. Depka and Stewart
said they would recommend the open-ended description remain intact.

concept that didn’t get unanimity says that confusing feelings during
puberty are normal. Committee members argued whether this should
include feelings about sexual orientation. Depka and Stewart said they
might recommend leaving out feelings about sexual orientation from the

third disagreement was whether emergency contraception should be listed
as an option for rape victims. Depka and Stewart said they will
recommend keeping emergency contraception in the list.

Other News to Note
March 31: Texas Cable News: Lawmakers call for changes to sex education

March 31: Brookfield Now: Board members call sex-ed curriculum a
‘failure’: Two want to look at outside provider for curriculum

March 31: Beliefnet: No "Capitol punishment" on communion

March 31: Baptist Press: Senate Dems. urge Obama to keep health conscience rules

March 31: Solomon Star: 30 bikes to help rural family planning

March 31: Beijing Review: Only One? China debates whether to relax its current family-planning policy

March 31: Catholic Culture: US bishops weigh in on Obama’s budget, urge focus on poverty, not family planning

March 31: WRCB: Recession Affects Family Planning

April 1: China View: Minister: Chinese population would be 1.7 bln without family planning

March 31: National Pro-Life T Shirt Day April 28

March 31: Midwest Voices: This "Women’s Right" is Wrong.

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