Women Deliver: The Next Push to Get Abortion into Development Goals

Posted on | June 4, 2013 by Wendy Wright |

One of the final announcements at Women Deliver, the global conference on family planning, was the launch of a social network campaign to demand countries include reproductive and sexual health and rights in the UN’s new development goals.

These new development goals will take over when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015. UN agencies, countries, non-governmental groups and suppliers are busy now working to ensure their top issue or product is included.

I’m in Sri Lanka now, after attending Women Deliver, and met with faith-based aid groups. They, and other humanitarian groups I met at Women Deliver, highlight how their work fits in with the MDGs.

The MDGs created an international framework, not only for UN agencies and countries, but consequently nearly all humanitarian groups – they have to show how their work helps accomplish the MDGs to get attention and international funding.

So if reproductive health and rights and sexual health and rights is included in the new development goals, it will impact humanitarian work worldwide. Groups will be expected (especially by European countries, the US and UN agencies) to provide reproductive and sexual health services to get funding.

Until then, Melinda Gates’ campaign to spend over $4 billion on getting contraception to poor women, is establishing a new way to get supplies that the First World believes the Third World needs. It gins up demand for mass production of certain products, creates an efficient distribution system for that product into rural areas, and mobilizes activists to pressure governments and foundations to fund the system.

Gates’ campaign creates the procurement, distribution and funding system for contraception that could then be used to funnel abortion drugs like misoprostol and mifepristone to poor women. Many of these women suffer from malnutrition, anemia and other health problems that will increase the likelihood of experiencing complications.



Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.


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