End all legal barriers to abortion, say key European politicians | Reproductive rights

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Ministers from five European countries, including Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, are among 29 politicians, health and women’s rights activists who signed an open letter calling for the removal of all legal obstacles to abortion.

The letter, signed by the Ministers of Gender and Equality of France, Canada and Norway, and the Ministers of International Development of Sweden and the Netherlands, declares that women’s right to a safe and legal abortion is eroded by disinformation and attacks on services. He calls for the reopening of abortion clinics closed during the pandemic.

The signatories say abortion should be seen as an essential health service and call for a global campaign of “factual and unbiased information” so that women and girls know their rights and understand their options.

Posted on Wednesday by the SheDecides movement, the letter calls for an end to mandatory abortion counseling, implementation of upcoming revised World Health Organization guidelines, and approval of the inducing drug mifepristone. abortion, in countries where it is not yet available.

“No woman should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term; and no woman should die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. The foundation for a just and equal world for women and girls in all their diversity is the right to decide about their own bodies. Every woman, everywhere, has the right to a safe and legal abortion, maternal and midwifery health care, comprehensive sexuality education and contraception, ”the letter said.

“But today, all over the world, women and girls are routinely denied full access to their sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms. The disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on the economic empowerment of women, and the increase in sexual and gender-based violence, make the need to ensure gender equality more urgent than ever. “

Anti-abortion campaigns are often “led by well-funded and well-organized pressure groups” around the world, the letter continues.

“Their most visible vanguard are the protesters who stand outside clinics, intimidating and harassing women and girls seeking essential health services. But they also operate behind the scenes, working with anti-abortion groups and politicians to spread disinformation and force a crippling effect on women’s rights. “

The letter adds: “By campaigning to remove legal barriers and protect abortion as an essential health service, we can prevent unsafe abortions, save women’s lives and take a further step towards achieving it. gender equality.

The SheDecides movement was started in 2017 by Lilianne Ploumen, former Dutch trade minister and letter signatory, in response to cuts to reproductive health services by the Trump administration.

In the UK, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 0808 2000 247 or visit Women’s Aid. Other international helplines can be found via www.befrienders.org



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