US Shows the World it is a New Day in its Support for Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health/Rights

For Immediate Release

CHANGE
Contact: 

Serra Sippel
+1 202.393.5930
Mobile: +1 202.631.8808
ssippel@genderhealth.org

US Shows the World it is a New Day in its Support for Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health/Rights

Center for Health and Gender Equity Applauds Renewal of U.S. Global Leadership

NEW YORK - 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.

"This bold affirmation of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health
services and reproductive rights is a breath of fresh air for women and
girls worldwide," said Serra Sippel, executive director of the Center
for Health and Gender Equity.  "By rejecting the political games of the
past eight years that used women's health and rights as pawns, the
Obama administration has clearly proclaimed a new day."

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."

The U.S. also called for a broad international effort "to provide
comprehensive, accurate information and education on sexuality [and]
sexual and reproductive health for women, men, girls, and boys as they
age and their needs evolve."  This is particularly striking as it
breaks from the previous administration's restrictions on full
information, such as its preference for abstinence-only programming in
PEPFAR and its imposition of the Mexico City Policy, which limited
information flow between health providers and their clients.

"We congratulate the Obama administration for its sophisticated, global
perspective on these issues.  With half a million women dying each year
due to pregnancy and childbirth, and HIV growing rapidly among women
and girls, we cannot afford to delay action," Sippel urged.  "We now
look to Congress and the members of the administration to make the U.S.
commitment to effective, comprehensive, and rights-based approaches to
sexual and reproductive health a reality for women and girls around the
world."

The full U.S. statement is available here: http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/press_releases/20090331_064.html

For more information on the importance of comprehensive approaches
to sexual and reproductive health and rights and U.S. policy seehttp://www.genderhealth.org/pubs/foreignassistancereform.pdf

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The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization that seeks to ensure that U.S. international policies and programs promote sexual and reproductive health and rights through effective, evidence-based approaches to prevention and treatment of critical reproductive and sexual health concerns, and through increased funding for critical international programs and institutions.

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