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Women’s rights face a daunting new year worldwide, campaigners warn

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women’s rights face monumental challenges worldwide in 2017 with campaigners anticipating fights to maintain health clinics open, to save lots of packages stopping undesirable pregnancies and to implement legal guidelines defending women from violence.

Globally, women’s rights are within the crosshairs of rising isolationism and right-wing politics in Western Europe and the United States, the place President-elect Donald Trump has promised to unravel an array of useful insurance policies.

“There are major challenges facing women’s rights coming up, not the least of which is a global cultural understanding … that women are in essence second-class citizens,” stated Tarah Demant of Amnesty International USA.

“This is a global phenomenon,” stated Demant, senior director of Amnesty’s id and discrimination unit. “We are really worried.”

Here are a few of the largest challenges to women’s rights in 2017:

* Global entry to abortion and contraception

A menace to abortion entry is the possible reinstatement of the so-called international gag rule underneath the Trump administration.

First imposed underneath former President Ronald Reagan, the rule prohibits teams getting U.S. assist overseas from offering abortions or counseling sufferers about abortions, even when their funds for these actions come from different sources.

The rule was lifted by President Barack Obama in 2009 however might be reinstated with the stroke of a pen.

Under the gag rule, many teams turned down U.S. assist, leaving them in need of cash for health providers from most cancers screenings to flu photographs, advocates say.

The United States additionally might pull funding from the United Nations Population Fund, which supplies entry to reproductive health providers however doesn’t fund or help abortion.

* Keeping women’s organizations working globally

Women’s teams work all over the world on such issues as divorce rights, gender wage gaps and youngster marriage, typically working in hostile environments on shoestring budgets.

Several nations have enacted legal guidelines pressuring such teams by making them register as overseas brokers in the event that they get funding from worldwide donors, stated Janet Walsh, appearing director of women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch.

At the identical time, funding from U.S. authorities sources is more likely to shrink, she stated.

“I’m afraid for those who take a stand for women’s rights, that their security and their ability to register and operate as organizations will be undercut,” she stated.

* Violence towards women

One in three women has skilled bodily or sexual violence, mostly inflicted by a associate, statistics present.

An estimated one in 5 will grow to be a sufferer of rape or tried rape, based on the United Nations, and excessive charges of femicide and home abuse grip many nations.

“Violence against women is a human rights crisis. It is a health crisis. It is a cultural crisis,” stated Amnesty’s Demant.

* Loss of United States as chief in women’s rights

The U.S. authorities has in recent times performed a key position in selling and supporting women’s rights, particularly serving to draw up international improvement objectives permitted by the United Nations, certainly one of which requires gender equality by 2030.

“We fear a rollback on international agreements on women’s rights and a rollback of commitments by governments on women’s rights,” stated Francois Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC).

The IWHC intends to press governments to not cave to U.S. strain to backpedal on women’s rights, a technique used through the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush that additionally sought to undermine women’s rights, she stated.

“Governments didn’t like to be bullied,” she stated.

* Abortion rights within the United States.

Anti-abortion advocates need to repeal Roe v Wade, the 1972 Supreme Court determination making abortion authorized.

Trump could have a chance to call a number of justices to the very best courtroom and has vowed they are going to be abortion opponents.

In the meantime, state legal guidelines are chipping away at abortion rights.

Texas lawmakers permitted a regulation requiring burial of aborted fetal tissue, a measure estimated to value a whole lot of dollars per process, and Ohio signed into regulation a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.

“The number of abortions never goes down very much, regardless of the law,” stated Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. “What does go down is the safety and affordability of abortions.”

* Access to contraception within the United States

Trump has stated he would attraction some or all the Affordable Care Act, which has offered 25 million beforehand uninsured Americans with health protection.

Known as Obamacare, it pays for many contraception strategies for women.

“That funding, by enabling women to avoid unintended pregnancies, saves the federal government a ton of money that they would otherwise have to pay for medical care, pregnancy care, childcare etc.,” stated Ann Starrs, head of the Guttmacher Institute, a main reproductive rights group.

* Defunding of Planned Parenthood

Defunding Planned Parenthood, which runs about 650 women’s health facilities nationwide, was a battle cry of Trump in the course of the presidential marketing campaign and a favourite explanation for Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Planned Parenthood depends on public funding for a minimum of half its income, a lot of it from the Medicaid health insurance coverage program for the poor.

Congress additionally might cease funding Title X packages that present household planning providers to low-income women and from an array of teenybopper being pregnant prevention packages.

“To eliminate them as a provider either through Medicaid or the Title X family planning programs would leave millions of people in this country without regular health care,” stated Gretchen Borchelt, vice chairman for reproductive rights and health on the National Women’s Law Center.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, modifying by Katie Nguyen. Please credit score the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian information, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and local weather change. Visit

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