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Sexual and Reproductive Rights

    July 19, 2018

    Human rights defenders have advocated long and hard for law and policies which protect sexual and reproductive rights, including safe and legal abortion services. This work is often slow, challenging, and full of setbacks, which is why every victory is so thoroughly celebrated!

     

    June 05, 2018

    By Emma Jayne Geraghty

    Emma Jayne Geraghty works for Amnesty International Canada in Toronto. She was one of thousands of Irish ex-pats who traveled home to Ireland to vote in the historic referendum on whether to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution, which bans abortion. On May 25th Ireland voted overwhelmingly to repeal the eighth amendment, paving the way for safe and legal abortion services in Ireland. Learn more>>

    May 28, 2018

    On May 26, 2018, the people of Ireland sent a powerful message to women and girls that their human rights and reproductive health matter in a historic referendum, with 66.4%  votoing YES to ending the almost total constitutional ban on abortion.

    Amnesty International advocated for a human rights compliant abortion law in Ireland since 2014 as part of the My Body, My Rights global campaign. The campaign was directed at ending the control and criminalization of sexuality and reproduction around the world.

    May 26, 2018

    Reacting to news of the victory for the “Yes” campaign in Ireland’s referendum on abortion, Colm O Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said:

    “While the final count is not yet confirmed, it has been formally announced as “Yes” result. Today’s historic referendum result is a victory for equality, for dignity, for respect and compassion. It is a victory for a future Ireland where the human rights of women and girls are respected and protected.

    “Today’s important outcome was made possible by the determination of those who campaigned tirelessly for change and by the courage of those women and girls who bravely shared their stories.

    “Through this result, the people of Ireland have demonstrated that positive change is possible and have sent a message of hope around the world.”

     

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

     

     

    May 22, 2018

    Ahead of Ireland's historic referendum on abortion, the #hometovote hashtag has unleashed a wave of solidarity and inspired Irish voters from Nairobi to Toronto to return home and campaign for a woman's right to decide. 

    When the Irish government finally announced there would be a referendum on repealing its near-total ban on abortion, Ause Abdelhaq, a young Irish expat living in Nairobi, Kenya, was thrilled. 

    No one under the age of 53 has had the chance to vote to make abortion more accessible in Ireland. The significance of what is being billed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity was clearly not lost on young Irish voters like Ause.     

    “I'm pretty sure most of East Africa knows how much it means to me at this point, because I went around yelling at everyone "Look at what my little island is doing it's going to be great!",” says Ause, who, like many Irish graduates of his generation, chose to travel abroad to seek work and life experience.

    April 23, 2018

    El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly must seize the historic opportunity to decriminalize abortion before the current legislative cycle closes at the end of April, said Amnesty International today.

    “Having wasted several opportunities to decriminalize abortion in recent weeks, El Salvador’s lawmakers must act now to pass this landmark reform, which would save the lives of countless women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “The horrendous total ban on abortion violates the right to life, health and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, impacting half of the country’s population. Failure to end this injustice would be a devastating step backwards for human rights in El Salvador.”

    El Salvador is one of the few countries in the world where abortion is currently banned under all circumstances. At least 23 women remain in prison for pregnancy-related complications in the context of the total abortion ban.

    March 14, 2018

    Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquín, a 34-year-old woman who spent 15 years in prison after suffering a stillbirth, was released from prison on Tuesday following the reduction of her 30-year sentence for “aggravated homicide” under El Salvador’s total abortion ban. In response to her release, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director, said:

    “While it’s a huge relief that Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquín’s sentence was reduced and she has now been released, the real story here remains a tragedy. The fact that Maira has spent 15 years behind bars and had almost half of her life taken from her is a harrowing illustration of everything that is wrong with the justice system in El Salvador.

    “El Salvador’s total abortion ban is causing pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families and clearly violates their human rights. El Salvador must decriminalize abortion without delay, and immediately and unconditionally release all women and girls imprisoned for having had an abortion or having suffered obstetric emergencies.”

    January 29, 2018

    DUBLIN, 29 January 2018 – Amnesty International has welcomed the government’s decision at today’s Cabinet meeting to schedule a referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The Cabinet decided wording that effectively repeals the Eighth Amendment. It adopted the Attorney General’s recommendation that an enabling clause be inserted to provide greater legal certainty for the Oireachtas to legislate for termination of pregnancy. It was agreed that the Minister for Health will prepare legislation in line with the Joint Oireachtas Committee’s recommendations on abortion access, which includes a 12-week ‘on request’ period for abortion access.

    “We are heartened at today’s government backing for legislation framed around a 12-week ‘on request’ model for abortion access, with later gestational limits in specific circumstances. This is a further sign of real political will to put women’s and girls’ bodily autonomy firmly at the centre of abortion law reform. We further welcome the Taoiseach’s personal endorsement of this legislative model as the best way to ensure effective access to this healthcare.

    December 14, 2017

    A court’s decision not to release a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars after having a miscarriage in El Salvador is an outrageous step backward for justice, Amnesty International said.

    Teodora suffered a stillbirth in 2007, after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. Police arrested her as she lay in a pool of blood. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s total ban on abortions.

    The trial was marred by irregularities. 

    “Teodora’s tragic story is a sad illustration of everything that is wrong with the justice system in El Salvador, where human rights seem to be a foreign concept,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of punishing Teodora for being a woman, authorities in El Salvador must urgently take a hard look at their outrageous anti-abortion law and take immediate steps to repeal it.”

    December 08, 2017

    A court’s decision to postpone the hearing of a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars after having a stillbirth in El Salvador is an outrageous and careless act, Amnesty International said.

    “Teodora has waited 10 years to be before the court that sent her to prison for a stillbirth in 2007, but the judges were not ready to make the decision to undo this utter injustice,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of punishing Teodora for being a woman, authorities in El Salvador must urgently take a hard look at their outrageous anti-abortion law and take immediate steps to repeal it.”

    Teodora suffered a stillbirth in 2007, after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. Police arrested her as she lay in a pool of blood. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s total ban on abortion.

    Her case was reviewed by the court today, but it decided to postpone the decision until Wednesday, December 13.

    August 22, 2017

     

    GOOD NEWS: Chile has decriminalized abortion!

    Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal has ruled in favour of decriminalizing abortion under three specific circumstances. This is an important step toward ensuring the protection of women and girls’ human rights across the country.

    A Chilean Constitutional Tribunal ruling on 21 August confirmed that the country’s constitution now allows for the decriminalization of and access to abortion under three circumstances: when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or girl, when the foetus would be unable to survive outside the womb, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape.

    August 21, 2017
      A decision by Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal today to support the decriminalization of abortion under three circumstances represents an important win for human rights and for the protection of the lives and health of women and girls across the country, Amnesty International said.   Today’s ruling confirms that Chile’s Constitution allows for the decriminalization of abortion when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, and in cases of fatal foetal impairment.   “Chile has finally moved one step closer to protecting the human rights of women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “This victory is testament to the work of millions of women across the Americas and the world who fight against draconian laws that punish women and push them to seeking clandestine and dangerous abortions, putting their health and lives at risk.”  
    August 01, 2017
      Responding to news that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s lower house of parliament voted on Monday 1 August to abolish Article 308 of the penal code, which allowed perpetrators of sexual violence to escape punishment by marrying their victim, Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle East at Amnesty International said:   “The vote to abolish this repugnant law is a long overdue step in the right direction for the Kingdom of Jordan. We now urge the parliament’s upper house and King Abdullah II to immediately approve the vote and confirm the country’s commitment to gender equality.   “While this offers a much-needed glimmer of hope for women’s rights in the region, there is still a long way to go. Other countries must immediately follow suit and abolish these absurd laws. The Lebanese government will soon be voting to abolish its own version of the law, article 522. We urge Lebanese lawmakers to make the right choice.”   Background:  
    July 19, 2017
      The Chilean Chamber of Deputies has an historic opportunity to put the country on the right side of human rights, Amnesty International said ahead of a debate today on the potential decriminalization of abortion under three circumstances.   Late last night, the Chilean Senate passed a bill to decriminalize abortion under three circumstances: when the pregnancy results from rape or incest, when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, and in cases of lethalfoetal impairment.   “Chile is finally taking a step away from the small number of countries that still expose women and girls to terrible suffering due to the cruel and draconian laws and policies that violate their human right to make free choices about their own bodies, health and lives,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “This historic vote, although limited, is a testament to the tireless work done by activists in every corner of Chile to ensure the country respects and protects women’s rights.”  
    July 07, 2017
      The sentence against a 19-year-old rape survivor to 30 years in prison on charges of “aggravated homicide” after she suffered pregnancy related complications, is a terrifying example of the need for El Salvador to urgently repeal its retrograde anti-abortion law, Amnesty International said.   “El Salvador’s anti-abortion law is causing nothing but pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families. It goes against human rights and it has no place in the country or anywhere,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. “The total ban on abortion in El Salvador violates women’s rights to life, health, privacy, due process and freedom from discrimination, violence and torture and other ill-treatment. All women and girls imprisoned for having had an abortion or experiencing obstetric emergencies should be immediately and unconditionally released, and the law must be repealed without delay.”  

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