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Act Now for Global Sexual And Reproductive Health

Written By: Jennifer Redner
October 20, 2010

 

The International Women’s Health Coalition and our colleagues around the world know that information about and access to contraception and safe abortion services is fundamental to a woman’s right to control her body, to self-determination, and to maintain her health.  But more must be done to ensure that women have access to the sexual and reproductive health information and services they need to make informed decisions.

In April 2010, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY-11) introduced the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act to ensure a more comprehensive U.S. approach to addressing the range of the sexual and reproductive health needs of individuals.  For example, this first-of-its-kind bill would modify U.S. foreign assistance to support the provision of a broad constellation of sexual and reproductive health services: family planning, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV,   maternal health care, and access to safe abortion where permitted by local law.   It also would promote linkages between sexual and reproductive health services, child health, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases.

Currently, the United States is the top donor in sexual and reproductive health services. While the U.S. has achieved remarkable successes in this area, according to Rep. Clarke, the bill would ”  establish[ing] an integrated, progressive model for delivering more efficient and effective sexual and reproductive health services across the globe.”

Providing the full menu of services that women and young people need is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.  Please write your Representative TODAY – show your support for a comprehensive approach to women and young people’s health:

Dear [NAME],

In the 21st century, no woman or girl should die or suffer the traumas of an unsafe abortion, die while giving birth, or lack access to sexual and reproductive health information and services they need to make healthy and informed decisions about their own lives.

The Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act (HR 5121), introduced by Rep. Clarke (D-NY) would take a major step forward in achieving these goals by, for example, combining family planning services with testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and with maternal health care.  It also would promote linkages between sexual and reproductive health services, child health, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases.   The bill would also seek to reduce unsafe abortions, which account for 13% of maternal deaths worldwide, by ensuring access to contraception and safe abortion services where permitted by local law.

I care deeply about ensuring that United States foreign assistance supports the rights of women and young people to access the tools, information, and services they need to live healthy, productive and just lives. I urge you to cosponsor and support efforts to move the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act forward. Your support is critical to ensuring the most effective use of U.S. foreign assistance dollars and that the health and rights of women and young people are realized.

Sincerely,

[NAME]

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