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07.16.06 - Geneva - Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights urged the United States to uphold the legal pledge it made under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), an international human rights treaty established in 1966 by members of the United Nations. The Center called on the United States to take action to protect the lives of women everywhere by guaranteeing full access to reproductive healthcare services, instead of imposing barriers.
The demands of the Center for Reproductive Rights come as the United Nations Human Rights Committee is set to review U.S. compliance with the ICCPR this week in Geneva. A delegation from the Center arrived in Switzerland today to monitor the two-day session and the U.S. response to its "shadow report," which outlines numerous U.S. violations of the ICCPR in the area of reproductive rights.
"The U.S. government has broken its promise to protect women's reproductive rights. Now is the time for the U.S. to take the lead in guaranteeing reproductive rights by adopting policies and enacting laws that help rather than harm women," said Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Over the past year, a team of lawyers from the Center analyzed U.S. policies and statistics on reproductive health and discovered the following:
* Constitutional protections for women's health are in jeopardy. Congress and state legislatures have deliberately passed laws that endanger women's health and disregard their constitutional rights by restricting or prohibiting abortion even when deemed medically necessary. Such laws include the first-ever federal abortion ban outlawing some of the safest procedures as early as 12 weeks of pregnancy.
* The U.S. government promotes deceptive information about reproductive health and denies men and women the facts they need to make responsible decisions about sex and contraception. For example, the U.S. funds campaigns to replace comprehensive sex education with "abstinence-only-until marriage" programs that distort and suppress information about contraception, while promoting harmful gender stereotypes.
* Federal and state health policies result in wide and tragic racial disparities in reproductive health: 41% of Latinas lack any health insurance; African-American women are more than four times more likely than whites to die in childbirth; and rates of infant mortality among African-American infants are higher than in 50 other countries.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee has asked the U.S. to address issues raised in the Center's report, including the federal government's global promotion of deceptive and restrictive information about reproductive health. On July 28, the Committee is expected to issue recommendations to the U.S., which the Center will comment on that same day.
* Read the Center's full report > >