Reproductive Rights

Press Release: 150+ international parliamentarians in Ottawa to advance sexual and reproductive rights at IPCI Conference

Ottawa – Parliamentarians and development experts from around the world are meeting in Ottawa from October 22-23 for the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI).

The IPCI Conference, which was first hosted in Canada sixteen years ago, will bring together more than 150 parliamentarians who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development.

As secretariat to the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is the Canadian non-profit co-hosting this conference alongside the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund, and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.

At a time of global backlash against women’s reproductive choices, the rights of LGBTQI people, and young people’s access to sex-ed, the IPCI conference provides an international space where parliamentarians can strategize ways to advance progressive laws and policies, eliminate discriminatory laws and policies, and advocate for increased funding toward sexual and reproductive health and rights issues – domestically and globally.

“More and more, we’re seeing Canada demonstrate increased support for global and domestic sexual and reproductive health and rights,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Adding that, “parliamentarians in Canada and internationally have a role to play in ensuring sustained political leadership on the most stigmatized and neglected health and rights issues, namely, safe abortion care, comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed, and young people’s sexual health.”

Canadian parliamentarians have been instrumental in safeguarding access to abortion, adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, and advocating for human rights-based approaches in the development of new laws and policies domestically and internationally through Canada’s development assistance.

By the end of the two-day conference, participants will generate a forward-looking, action-oriented declaration that builds upon previous IPCI commitments and provides clear direction to further realize sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.

Action Canada is among the Canadian civil society organizations who are looking to Canada and all parliamentarians attending the conference to hold firm on their commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and to mobilize towards greater support for these issues as a community of champions.

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Media Contact
Ani Colekessian
[email protected]
613.241.4474 ext. 7

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Sandeep Prasad is available for interview before, during and after the conference.
  • Parliamentarians from Canada and other countries will be available for interviews throughout the IPCI Conference. See attachment for complete list.
  • Press passes are available for reporters on the day-of and obtained at the registration desk.
  • Visit http://ipciconference.org/pages/speakers/ for a full list of speakers and additional conference information.
  • A reception will take place on October 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, hosted by the Canadian Association of Midwives, the UNFPA, and the CAPPD for attending parliamentarians, in collaboration with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Hon. George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Geoff Regan. Midwives from several countries will be on hand to demonstrate midwifery procedures and answer questions about their work. Reporters who wish to attend must RSVP by email to [email protected]
  • Parliamentarians from the following states will attend: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Montserrat, Niger, Niger, Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom.

 

October Update: Abortion, sex-ed, human rights

Information and updates on sexual and reproductive health and rights this month:

Press Advisory: 150+ International Parliamentarians Meeting in Ottawa about Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Over 150 parliamentarians from around the world will meet in Ottawa on October 22-23, 2018 for the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI).

As secretariat to the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is the Canadian non-profit co-hosting this conference alongside the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund, and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.

Leaders from around the world who are at the frontlines of defending laws and policies on sexual and reproductive rights in their countries and globally will meet to discuss protecting these rights within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with topics that include ending maternal mortality, ensuring increasing access to contraception, ending harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

October 22-23, 2018
National Arts Centre
1 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON
www.ipciconference.org

The Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development is among the high-level decision-makers and expert speakers who also include:

  • Dr. Natalia Kanam, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, MP, Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (Canada)
  • Cong. Huilca Indira Flores, prominent Peruvian congresswoman feminist and LGBTI activist (Peru)
  • Hon. Ulrika Karlsson, MP, President of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (Sweden)
  • Rhobi Samwelly, Manager of a safe house for girls escaping female genital mutilation in Tanzania (Tanzania)

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Ani Colekessian
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
[email protected]
613-241-4474 ext.7

Ruairi Talbot
European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
[email protected]
0032(0)487358081

Lindsay Campbell
Office of the Honourable Hedy Fry
[email protected]
613-793-5392

NOTE TO EDITORS

Visit http://ipciconference.org/pages/speakers/ for a full list of speakers and additional conference information

Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director at Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, MP and Chair of the CAPPD are available for interviews. International Parliamentarians well versed on reproductive rights will also be available for interviews. Full list available upon request.

A reception will take place on October 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, hosted by the Canadian Association of Midwives, the UNFPA, and the CAPPD for attending parliamentarians, in collaboration with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Hon. George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Geoff Regan. Midwives from several countries will be on hand to demonstrate midwifery procedures and answer questions about their work. Reporters who wish to attend must RSVP by email to [email protected]

Parliamentarians from the following states will attend: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Montserrat, Niger, Niger, Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom.

                                                                       

ACTION CANADA FOR SEXUAL HEALTH & RIGHTS is a progressive, pro-choice charitable organization committed to advancing and upholding sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (CAPPD) provides a forum for the exchange of ideas on population, sexual and reproductive health, human rights and development issues.

THE INTER-AMERICAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (IAPG)is a regional alliance of parliamentarians working across party lines to advance and promote laws and policies within the framework of a broad human development agenda, which includes health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women’s empowerment.

THE UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY FORUM ON POPULATION & DEVELOPMENT (EPF) is a network of members of parliaments from across Europe who are committed to protecting the sexual and reproductive health of the world’s most vulnerable people, both at home and overseas.

 

 

 

 

Canada shows support for global reproductive rights, launches UNFPA State of World Population Report 

Ottawa, October 17, 2018 – To realize each person’s ability to exercise reproductive choice, countries must provide universal access to quality reproductive health care (including contraceptives), ensure better access to comprehensive sex-ed that is inclusive, be champions of gender equality, and adopt a human rights-based approach to health-related policies and programmes. These are among the conclusions of the 2018 State of World Population Report published today by the UNFPA, the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations.

This year’s State of World Population Report focuses on the power of choice when it comes to reproductive rights.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD), in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, are pleased to host the Canadian launch of the report in Ottawa.

This launch signals Canada’s increasing role as a global leader on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the face of concerted attempts to roll-back previously won advances on these issues at regional, national, and global levels.

“The Government of Canada has truly stepped up its efforts when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights. We see this as part of a trajectory towards sustained political and financial leadership on the most stigmatized and neglected health and rights issues. Namely safe abortion care, comprehensive sex-ed, and young people’s sexual health,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

The launch is taking place in the lead up to the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI), which was first hosted in Canada sixteen years ago. This conference will bring together more than 150 parliamentarians from around the world who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The conference provides a strategic convening space for parliamentarians, who, as legislators, are critical in the fight to advance progressive laws and policies, eliminating discriminatory laws and policies, and advocating for increases to spending on critical sexual and reproductive health and rights issues – domestically and globally.

As part of Canada’s journey towards greater support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, the 2018 State of World Population Report and the IPCI Conference are opportunities to examine concepts of choice and reproductive rights domestically and globally.

“In Canada, realizing reproductive freedom requires equalizing access to abortion, including the abortion pill, cost-covered contraception, and quality sex-ed across all provinces and territories,” adds Prasad.

Action Canada is among the Canadian civil society organizations who are looking to Canada and all parliamentarians attending the upcoming conference to hold firm on their commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and mobilize towards greater support for these issues as a community of champions.

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Media Contact
Ani Colekessian
[email protected]
613.241.4474 ext. 7

 

 

[Ottawa Event] Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights: The Foundation for Gender Equality

A free public event presented by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) in partnership with Women Deliver and the Future Planning Initiative

Part of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada’s effort to engage Canadians and bring awareness about gender equality

The rights of girls and women to bodily autonomy and full sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are in the spotlight like never before. From the #MeToo movement, to the referendum on abortion in Ireland, to new political attention in Canada– girls and women around the world are demanding and making change.

With the announcement of the Feminist International Assistance Policy in June 2017 and subsequent SRHR funding announcements, Canada has committed to leading global action in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Domestically, Canada is also making progress, but challenges remain.

The international community is now looking to Canada as a leader in this area. But are we up to the challenge?

Join us for a dynamic evening to discuss and learn about the importance of putting sexual and reproductive health and rights at the centre of the gender equality agenda—to advance the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls in Canada and around the world.

Event Programme:

6:00 – 7:00 Reception: CSO fair, refreshments and networking

7:00 – 8:30 Introductions, panels and closing remarks

8:30 – 9:30 Reception: CSO fair, refreshments and networking

Light snacks will be served, and a cash bar will be available during both receptions.

The program will include two lively panels, featuring SRHR experts from Canada and abroad as well as Canadian political representatives:

  • Gabrielle Bouchard, President, Quebec Women’s Federation
  • Aminata Bintu Wurie, Executive Coordinator, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • Katja Iversen, President/CEO of Women Deliver

Moderator: Susan Ormiston, CBC Senior Correspondent

For more information, please visit the Public Event page on our website.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: #SRHRnow

[Winnipeg Event] Rights from the Start: Advancing sexual and reproductive health in a National Pharmacare Strategy

You are cordially invited to attend Rights From the Start, Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health in a National Pharmacare Strategy, a panel discussion in honour of the Federal Provincial and Territorial Health Ministers’ Summit. While momentum builds for a National Pharmacare Strategy, a progressive coalition of health advocates are joining forces to ensure that a truly equitable pharmacare plan is implemented.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Canadian Federation of Nurses UnionsWomen’s Health Clinic, and Sexual Education Resource Centre Manitoba, among other health sector advocates, share an inclusive vision of a pharmacare strategy that supports the full realization of people’s sexual and reproductive rights.

Join us to discuss these policies and principles with Ministers of Health, nurses and other health professionals, policy makers, and advocates.

Click here to RSVP

DATE AND TIME

Thu, 28 June 2018
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM CDT

LOCATION

The Fort Garry Hotel
222 Broadway
Assiniboine Room
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0R3

Light refreshments, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

[Event] Empowering Women in Emergencies

Sexual and reproductive healthcare in emergencies saves lives – just like food, water and shelter. Activists, parliamentarians and humanitarian actors discuss best practices and remaining gaps for upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health information and services in humanitarian settings.

Annual Report 2016-2017

Whether it’s been campaigning for universal cost coverage of medical abortion, launching a cutting-edge resource for teaching sexuality education in schools, securing a major investment in global SRHR from the government Canada, offering thousands of people the health information they are looking for, or supporting sexual and reproductive rights defenders around the world to hold their governments accountable, we’ve been working tirelessly to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

Read our Annual Report to learn about the significant strides we made in 2016-2017 »

Having trouble reading the report? Click here to download in PDF

Safe zones around abortion clinics now in place

New law bans protesting against abortion within 50 metres of a clinic

Source: CBC News

A new Ontario law establishing safe zones around abortion clinics is now in place, and  Ottawa police were out on Thursday enforcing the boundaries.

The Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, which received royal assent in October last year, establishes a ban on protesting within a 50-metre radius of an abortion clinic.

The new law means women across the province can access abortion services safely and securely, free from intimidation or interference, said Ontario Attorney General and Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi.

Although abortion clinic staff have for years complained about aggressive demonstrators, Naqvi said reports of escalating violence near the Morgentaler Clinic in downtown Ottawa inspired the new law.

“We have heard instances where women have been spat on,” he said. “Those types of things are absolutely unacceptable.”

Clinics can also apply to extend the radius up to 150 metres. Whatever the zone is established to be, the legislation states that it begins at the boundaries of the property the clinic sits on — not at the clinic’s front door.

Other health facilities that offer abortion services, including hospitals and pharmacies, can apply for safe access zones as well, though they aren’t automatically included in the legislation.

Preventing harassment, intimidation

The law has been well received by groups that have long demanded better protections for women seeking abortion services.

“We’re thrilled with it,” said Darrah Teitel, a spokesperson for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

Teitel said she hopes other provinces will follow suit, and rejected critics who argue the law restricts the rights of protesters to freely express their beliefs.

“I would say the actions of harassment and intimidation and threats — and in some cases physical violence — preclude their ability to do that,” she said.

Protesters assemble outside safe zone

Demonstrators gathered on Sparks Street Thursday say there’s no proof any of them have ever acted inappropriately.

“The pro-life movement is a peaceful movement and we would never, never allow anyone to behave in that way towards any woman,” said Louise Harbour, decrying the new law as an attack on freedom of speech.

“We only believe in peaceful means to present our message,” she said.

Ottawa police were on site, marking a “physically visible” boundary to let protestors know where the new safe zone starts.

“We respect the fact that people have an opinion to promote, but we also [will be there] for the safety of the public as well as the laws we have to enforce,” said Const. Chuck Benoit.

One of the protesting groups, Campaign Life Coalition, said they already met with police to ensure they won’t be in violation of the new law.

“The 50 metres was literally paced out by the police, so that we would know exactly where we can stand with our signs,” said the coalition’s Johanne Brownrigg.

Police to issue warnings at first

Anyone violating the new rules will be risking a hefty fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to six months in prison for a first-time offence.

Police will only be issuing warnings at first, Const. Benoit said.

“They will proceed to arresting people if it continues.”

The bill also stipulates that a person cannot be convicted unless they know about the safe zone.

In order to avoid such a situation, Benoit said the police have been focusing on educating the public about the new safe zone.

“That’s a reason we will be [at the protests], to educate the people.”

Brownrigg said her group is seeking other ways to protest with the new law coming into effect.

“We might not have access to directly communicate with women as we’ve had, but we will find other ways,” Brownrigg said.

The coalition is unsure what other ways they will be pursuing, but Brownrigg said they will likely channel their efforts to lobbying the provincial government.

“If we have to invent another campaign we will.”

Brownrigg did not rule out the possibility of challenging the law in the courts, but did not comment on whether they would proceed with a legal challenge.