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IPPF Embraces New Strategy as it Celebrates its 70th Birthday

IPPF, the world’s largest sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organization, is celebrating its 70th birthday by embracing a new and bold global strategy.

For media enquiries

Telephone:

+44 (0)20 2323 2323

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Email: [email protected]
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| 30 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

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| 15 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

Gaza, Palestine/IPPF Humanitarian/Samar Abu Elouf
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| 29 March 2022

Government of Japan, through its support for IPPF, will provide life-saving health care services to the most vulnerable populations in Palestine

With support from the Government of Japan, the IPPF Member Association in Palestine (PFPPA) is launching a new project in Palestine targeting the most vulnerable populations that have been severely affected by the humanitarian crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that at least 1.45 million people in Palestine are in need of healthcare-related humanitarian assistance. The escalation of the conflict in Gaza in May 2021, in addition to the long-standing severe restrictions on movement and inadequate healthcare systems, have resulted in the loss of many lives, the destruction of the healthcare system, and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together these have increased poverty levels and strained the healthcare system resulting in increased humanitarian and medical assistance needs. In 2022, it is estimated that 63% of the population living in Gaza and 23% in the West Bank will continue to need humanitarian assistance. The vulnerability of women and girls in particular is even greater, with serious and sometimes life-threatening health consequences. In this context, PFPPA will reach vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations (especially women and girls) with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) related services. This will focus on five locations: Gaza, Hebron, Halhoul, Bethlehem and Ramallah. By the end of February 2023, PFPPA aims to: Deliver quality SRHR and SGBV-related services to approximately 36,000 women and young people through PFPPA clinics in the 5 project target areas. Deliver a Minimum Initial Service Package for reproductive health in crisis situation (MISP: sexual and gender-based violence response, HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment, emergency obstetric newborn care, family planning, comprehensive abortion care, etc.) to 4,800 people through mobile clinics in project target areas in Gaza and the West Bank.  Deliver prenatal and postpartum door-to-door services to 160 women, including counselling and services to promote healthy pregnancies and prepare women for childbirth.  Deliver "birth preparedness" services to 30 women and distribute kits consisting of basic supplies for pre- and postpartum preparation, including essential newborn care. Deliver SRH and SGBV services to 2,000 women and girls through mobile apps and telecommunication projects. H.E. Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, said: “We are delighted to be working with the IPPF to improve the health of women in Palestine, who are increasingly vulnerable to the humanitarian crisis and the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak. This effort will not only contribute to the realization of Japan's emphasis on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), but will also have a direct effect on human security.” Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of IPPF, said: “With the support of the Japanese government, IPPF will be able to provide health and life-saving services to vulnerable women in Palestine. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Japanese government to stand with those affected by the conflict and the COVID-19 to ensure that no one is left behind.” Ms Ammal Awadallah, Executive Director of PFPPA, said: “PFPPA is committed to ensuring that all services provided by their team to the population, regardless of each individual's circumstances, are of high quality and are provided securely, with dignity and respect, protecting all those involved from any form of harm. Furthermore, through the generous support of the Japanese government, for which we are greatly appreciative, PFPPA will be able to deliver essential services related to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (including SGBV) to those living in marginalized and remote areas most in need of such services.” International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF):  Founded in 1952 in Bombay, India, IPPF’s founding members included Madam Shizue Kato, one of Japan's first female parliamentarians and the leader of the family planning movement. Today, IPPF is one of the world's largest international NGOs working to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights and to deliver SRH services and information to all people (especially vulnerable people) through its grassroots network of 120 Member Associations and Collaborative Partners working in 140 countries including Palestine around the world. Contact: Yuri Taniguchi, Chief Strategic Partnerships and Development Advisor (S.E.Asia), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) London Office 

Gaza, Palestine/IPPF Humanitarian/Samar Abu Elouf
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| 28 March 2022

Government of Japan, through its support for IPPF, will provide life-saving health care services to the most vulnerable populations in Palestine

With support from the Government of Japan, the IPPF Member Association in Palestine (PFPPA) is launching a new project in Palestine targeting the most vulnerable populations that have been severely affected by the humanitarian crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that at least 1.45 million people in Palestine are in need of healthcare-related humanitarian assistance. The escalation of the conflict in Gaza in May 2021, in addition to the long-standing severe restrictions on movement and inadequate healthcare systems, have resulted in the loss of many lives, the destruction of the healthcare system, and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together these have increased poverty levels and strained the healthcare system resulting in increased humanitarian and medical assistance needs. In 2022, it is estimated that 63% of the population living in Gaza and 23% in the West Bank will continue to need humanitarian assistance. The vulnerability of women and girls in particular is even greater, with serious and sometimes life-threatening health consequences. In this context, PFPPA will reach vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations (especially women and girls) with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) related services. This will focus on five locations: Gaza, Hebron, Halhoul, Bethlehem and Ramallah. By the end of February 2023, PFPPA aims to: Deliver quality SRHR and SGBV-related services to approximately 36,000 women and young people through PFPPA clinics in the 5 project target areas. Deliver a Minimum Initial Service Package for reproductive health in crisis situation (MISP: sexual and gender-based violence response, HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment, emergency obstetric newborn care, family planning, comprehensive abortion care, etc.) to 4,800 people through mobile clinics in project target areas in Gaza and the West Bank.  Deliver prenatal and postpartum door-to-door services to 160 women, including counselling and services to promote healthy pregnancies and prepare women for childbirth.  Deliver "birth preparedness" services to 30 women and distribute kits consisting of basic supplies for pre- and postpartum preparation, including essential newborn care. Deliver SRH and SGBV services to 2,000 women and girls through mobile apps and telecommunication projects. H.E. Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, said: “We are delighted to be working with the IPPF to improve the health of women in Palestine, who are increasingly vulnerable to the humanitarian crisis and the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak. This effort will not only contribute to the realization of Japan's emphasis on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), but will also have a direct effect on human security.” Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of IPPF, said: “With the support of the Japanese government, IPPF will be able to provide health and life-saving services to vulnerable women in Palestine. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Japanese government to stand with those affected by the conflict and the COVID-19 to ensure that no one is left behind.” Ms Ammal Awadallah, Executive Director of PFPPA, said: “PFPPA is committed to ensuring that all services provided by their team to the population, regardless of each individual's circumstances, are of high quality and are provided securely, with dignity and respect, protecting all those involved from any form of harm. Furthermore, through the generous support of the Japanese government, for which we are greatly appreciative, PFPPA will be able to deliver essential services related to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (including SGBV) to those living in marginalized and remote areas most in need of such services.” International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF):  Founded in 1952 in Bombay, India, IPPF’s founding members included Madam Shizue Kato, one of Japan's first female parliamentarians and the leader of the family planning movement. Today, IPPF is one of the world's largest international NGOs working to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights and to deliver SRH services and information to all people (especially vulnerable people) through its grassroots network of 120 Member Associations and Collaborative Partners working in 140 countries including Palestine around the world. Contact: Yuri Taniguchi, Chief Strategic Partnerships and Development Advisor (S.E.Asia), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) London Office 

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| 28 March 2022

Kenyan High Court makes landmark ruling on safe abortion care

In a landmark verdict today, the High Court of Malindi has ruled that safe abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers, for seeking or offering such services, is completely illegal. Specifically, the Court ruled that: Abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers seeking or offering such services is illegal. Protecting access to abortion impacts vital Constitutional values, including dignity, autonomy, equality, and bodily integrity. Criminalizing abortion under Penal Code without Constitutional statutory framework is an impairment to the enjoyment of women’s reproductive right. For years, women and girls in Kenya have faced sustained and pervasive discrimination hampering their access to seeking reproductive healthcare services; the 1963 Penal Code criminalizes all abortion care, including those allowed under the Constitution 2010, which guarantees the right to healthcare, including access to reproductive health services. The Constitution only permits safe abortion if in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is at risk/in danger. The court case in question, filed in November 2020, involved PAK, a minor 16 years of age from Kilifi County. PAK experienced complications during pregnancy and immediately sought medical care at a nearby clinic where a trained clinical officer attended to her. Upon examining her, the clinical officer determined that she had lost the pregnancy and proceeded to provide her with essential and life-saving post-abortion care. Policy officers stormed the clinic, in the midst of the treatment, stopping the medical procedure and confiscating PAK’s treatment records. They then proceeded to illegally arrest both PAK and the clinical officer. Both were taken to Ganze Police Patrol Base where PAK was not allowed to access further medical care for the next two days and was forced to sign a statement which was contrary to PAK’s description of the events. The police also forced PAK to undergo another detailed medical examination at Kilifi County Hospital to obtain evidence to prove the alleged offence of abortion. The clinical officer was detained for one week while PAK was remanded to a juvenile remand for more than a month, whilst she and her family sought to secure the cash bail for her release. The Malindi High Court has further directed the Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Kenyan Constitution. Additionally, the Court has confirmed that communication between a patient and the healthcare provider is confidential, which is guaranteed and protected under the Constitution and other enabling laws, save for where the disclosure is consented to by the patient or is in the public interest in line with the limitations as provided for in the Constitution. In its decision, the Court also ruled that PAK was recovering from medical procedure and police did not have the medical qualifications to determine and confirm that she was medically-fit to leave the clinic, regardless of her admission status at the clinic. Additionally, the Court found that PAK’s arrest was inhuman and degrading, and being a minor, she ought not to have been interrogated without legal representation. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Africa Regional Director from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news and applaud the High Court of Malindi's ruling confirming that abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers for seeking or offering such services is illegal. We are also very pleased to hear that the Court has directed Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Constitution. This is a victory for women and girls not only in Kenya, but across Africa! Access to quality abortion is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods for fear of arrests and harassment. We will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care for women and girls everywhere.” The petitioners were represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights a network of reproductive health providers whose member was the second petitioner in this case and a collaborative partner of IPPF. The advocates were Martin Onyango, Head of Legal Strategies for Africa, and Prudence Mutiso, Legal Advisor for Africa. Nelly Munyasia, Executive Director of Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK), , welcomed the court’s decision: “Many qualified reproductive healthcare practitioners continue to be arrested, detained, and prosecuted for providing legal medical care. The court’s decision confirms that prosecution against health providers cannot hold where the prosecution has not established that; the health professional in question was unqualified to conduct the procedure; the life or health of the woman was not in danger or the woman was not in need of emergency treatment,” Ms. Munyasia said. Evelyne Opondo, Senior Regional Director for Africa at Center for Reproductive Rights said: “Today’s victory is for all women, girls, and healthcare providers who have been treated as criminals for seeking and providing abortion care. The court has vindicated our position by affirming that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or to seek out an unsafe abortion is a gross violation of her rights to privacy and bodily autonomy. Further, the continued restrictive abortion laws inhibit quality improvement possible to protect women with unintended pregnancies.” Center fact sheet: “The Impact of the Misalignment Between Kenya’s Constitution and the Penal Code on Access to Reproductive Health Care”

The Kenynan flag - black, red and green horizontal stripes with a shield in the middle
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| 26 March 2022

Kenyan High Court makes landmark ruling on safe abortion care

In a landmark verdict today, the High Court of Malindi has ruled that safe abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers, for seeking or offering such services, is completely illegal. Specifically, the Court ruled that: Abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers seeking or offering such services is illegal. Protecting access to abortion impacts vital Constitutional values, including dignity, autonomy, equality, and bodily integrity. Criminalizing abortion under Penal Code without Constitutional statutory framework is an impairment to the enjoyment of women’s reproductive right. For years, women and girls in Kenya have faced sustained and pervasive discrimination hampering their access to seeking reproductive healthcare services; the 1963 Penal Code criminalizes all abortion care, including those allowed under the Constitution 2010, which guarantees the right to healthcare, including access to reproductive health services. The Constitution only permits safe abortion if in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is at risk/in danger. The court case in question, filed in November 2020, involved PAK, a minor 16 years of age from Kilifi County. PAK experienced complications during pregnancy and immediately sought medical care at a nearby clinic where a trained clinical officer attended to her. Upon examining her, the clinical officer determined that she had lost the pregnancy and proceeded to provide her with essential and life-saving post-abortion care. Policy officers stormed the clinic, in the midst of the treatment, stopping the medical procedure and confiscating PAK’s treatment records. They then proceeded to illegally arrest both PAK and the clinical officer. Both were taken to Ganze Police Patrol Base where PAK was not allowed to access further medical care for the next two days and was forced to sign a statement which was contrary to PAK’s description of the events. The police also forced PAK to undergo another detailed medical examination at Kilifi County Hospital to obtain evidence to prove the alleged offence of abortion. The clinical officer was detained for one week while PAK was remanded to a juvenile remand for more than a month, whilst she and her family sought to secure the cash bail for her release. The Malindi High Court has further directed the Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Kenyan Constitution. Additionally, the Court has confirmed that communication between a patient and the healthcare provider is confidential, which is guaranteed and protected under the Constitution and other enabling laws, save for where the disclosure is consented to by the patient or is in the public interest in line with the limitations as provided for in the Constitution. In its decision, the Court also ruled that PAK was recovering from medical procedure and police did not have the medical qualifications to determine and confirm that she was medically-fit to leave the clinic, regardless of her admission status at the clinic. Additionally, the Court found that PAK’s arrest was inhuman and degrading, and being a minor, she ought not to have been interrogated without legal representation. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Africa Regional Director from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news and applaud the High Court of Malindi's ruling confirming that abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers for seeking or offering such services is illegal. We are also very pleased to hear that the Court has directed Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Constitution. This is a victory for women and girls not only in Kenya, but across Africa! Access to quality abortion is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods for fear of arrests and harassment. We will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care for women and girls everywhere.” The petitioners were represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights a network of reproductive health providers whose member was the second petitioner in this case and a collaborative partner of IPPF. The advocates were Martin Onyango, Head of Legal Strategies for Africa, and Prudence Mutiso, Legal Advisor for Africa. Nelly Munyasia, Executive Director of Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK), , welcomed the court’s decision: “Many qualified reproductive healthcare practitioners continue to be arrested, detained, and prosecuted for providing legal medical care. The court’s decision confirms that prosecution against health providers cannot hold where the prosecution has not established that; the health professional in question was unqualified to conduct the procedure; the life or health of the woman was not in danger or the woman was not in need of emergency treatment,” Ms. Munyasia said. Evelyne Opondo, Senior Regional Director for Africa at Center for Reproductive Rights said: “Today’s victory is for all women, girls, and healthcare providers who have been treated as criminals for seeking and providing abortion care. The court has vindicated our position by affirming that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or to seek out an unsafe abortion is a gross violation of her rights to privacy and bodily autonomy. Further, the continued restrictive abortion laws inhibit quality improvement possible to protect women with unintended pregnancies.” Center fact sheet: “The Impact of the Misalignment Between Kenya’s Constitution and the Penal Code on Access to Reproductive Health Care”

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| 18 March 2022

Equalities Assessment: UK Government knew 2021 aid cuts would significantly impact women and girls

The Government’s Equalities Assessment shows that the government was well aware that the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including Violence Against Women and Girls and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, would disproportionately impact women, girls and people with protected characteristics such as those living with disabilities.  The U.K. government were also aware that the aid cuts would reduce services available to survivors of sexual violence, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are pleased to see the long-awaited equalities assessment and are hopeful that public scrutiny will encourage the Government to double down on its efforts to champion and support equality. Government commitments are especially significant for 2022, given the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including those helping to end Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes and targeted interventions aimed at reaching those left furthest behind – including people living with disabilities. “Today, the role of international aid in building a better, safer and equal world is more relevant than ever as the Ukrainian people look to governments across the globe to support them during the most severe humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in years. With the EU predicting up to 7 million displaced people and vulnerable refugee populations requiring distinct and personalised care, we ask the U.K Government to step up for the international community and return to the 0.7% aid target as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people across the globe depend on it.” Manuelle Hurwitz, Director of Programmes for IPPF, added:   "The government knew the reduction to development programmes would completely contradict its priorities of getting 40 million more girls into education by 2025 flies in the face of achieving gender equality and yet it chose to proceed with them anyway.   For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

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| 09 March 2022

Equalities Assessment: UK Government knew 2021 aid cuts would significantly impact women and girls

The Government’s Equalities Assessment shows that the government was well aware that the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including Violence Against Women and Girls and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, would disproportionately impact women, girls and people with protected characteristics such as those living with disabilities.  The U.K. government were also aware that the aid cuts would reduce services available to survivors of sexual violence, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are pleased to see the long-awaited equalities assessment and are hopeful that public scrutiny will encourage the Government to double down on its efforts to champion and support equality. Government commitments are especially significant for 2022, given the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including those helping to end Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes and targeted interventions aimed at reaching those left furthest behind – including people living with disabilities. “Today, the role of international aid in building a better, safer and equal world is more relevant than ever as the Ukrainian people look to governments across the globe to support them during the most severe humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in years. With the EU predicting up to 7 million displaced people and vulnerable refugee populations requiring distinct and personalised care, we ask the U.K Government to step up for the international community and return to the 0.7% aid target as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people across the globe depend on it.” Manuelle Hurwitz, Director of Programmes for IPPF, added:   "The government knew the reduction to development programmes would completely contradict its priorities of getting 40 million more girls into education by 2025 flies in the face of achieving gender equality and yet it chose to proceed with them anyway.   For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

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| 10 March 2022

Statement on the U.S Congress' FY22 spending bill which fails to permanently repeal the global gag rule

U.S congressional leaders have announced they have reached a final spending deal for the fiscal year 2022. This bill results from months of negotiations over funding and policy decisions, including those that impact sexual and reproductive healthcare globally. Despite the inclusion of language to permanently repeal the global gag rule passed in the House and introduced in the Senate, the final legislation fails to permanently end the harmful policy that has destroyed the lives of women and girls around the world for so many years. It also does not remove discriminatory abortion bans like the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon amendments or include much-needed new investments in sexual and reproductive healthcare and international family planning programs. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are outraged to learn that the long-awaited U.S spending bill failed to permanently repeal the global gag rule, nor did it include other areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights progress on which advocates had built strong momentum. The bill fell foul to anti-choice Congress members whose primary goal is to control the bodies and reproductive rights of women and girls they will never know, whose lives they could never imagine. “Failure to utilize this golden opportunity risks the continuation of the flip-flopping of American policy that has played with the lives of millions across the globe for nearly 40 years. Ultimately the global gag rule destroys long-term access to lifesaving contraception, maternal health and HIV/STI services and forces vulnerable women and girls to carry pregnancies to term or make the agonizing decision to get a potentially deadly unsafe abortion. It also manipulates the ability of international organizations, like IPPF, to use their own funding to provide legal, safe abortion, which unethically denies women care and imposes neo-colonial policies around the world. “While the global gag rule poses serious challenges to sustained engagement with USAID, especially at a time when anti-choice movements continue to attack the rights of people worldwide, IPPF is grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for the current rescission of the policy. We will continue to engage with U.S Government global health assistance programs when possible. We are also thankful to our relentless Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Despite the challenges, they have worked tirelessly alongside thousands of women’s rights campaigners across the United States and worldwide to advocate for vulnerable women and girls everywhere. The fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it.” Santos Siminone, Executive Director at Associação Moçambicana para Desenvolvimento da Família (AMODEFA), said: “We are deeply saddened by the failure to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. For AMODEFA, IPPF’s Member Association in Mozambique, a national provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country since 1989, the impact of the global gag rule meant a $2 million gap in funding - about 60% of our total budget. “The impact was almost instantaneous, forcing the closure of six programs across 12 districts in Mozambique. This denied nearly 390,000 clients access to contraception, STIs, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis services. Almost every local population was affected, with closures impacting adolescents, youths, women, and marginalized people. “For the people we serve, the permanent repeal of the policy would have meant an end to the violation of human rights. It would have meant dignity and that women’s lives would no longer be at risk. It would have meant an end to fear, pain, tears, and chaos, especially for black and brown women from low-income countries who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

The American flag with stars and stripes
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| 10 March 2022

Statement on the U.S Congress' FY22 spending bill which fails to permanently repeal the global gag rule

U.S congressional leaders have announced they have reached a final spending deal for the fiscal year 2022. This bill results from months of negotiations over funding and policy decisions, including those that impact sexual and reproductive healthcare globally. Despite the inclusion of language to permanently repeal the global gag rule passed in the House and introduced in the Senate, the final legislation fails to permanently end the harmful policy that has destroyed the lives of women and girls around the world for so many years. It also does not remove discriminatory abortion bans like the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon amendments or include much-needed new investments in sexual and reproductive healthcare and international family planning programs. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are outraged to learn that the long-awaited U.S spending bill failed to permanently repeal the global gag rule, nor did it include other areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights progress on which advocates had built strong momentum. The bill fell foul to anti-choice Congress members whose primary goal is to control the bodies and reproductive rights of women and girls they will never know, whose lives they could never imagine. “Failure to utilize this golden opportunity risks the continuation of the flip-flopping of American policy that has played with the lives of millions across the globe for nearly 40 years. Ultimately the global gag rule destroys long-term access to lifesaving contraception, maternal health and HIV/STI services and forces vulnerable women and girls to carry pregnancies to term or make the agonizing decision to get a potentially deadly unsafe abortion. It also manipulates the ability of international organizations, like IPPF, to use their own funding to provide legal, safe abortion, which unethically denies women care and imposes neo-colonial policies around the world. “While the global gag rule poses serious challenges to sustained engagement with USAID, especially at a time when anti-choice movements continue to attack the rights of people worldwide, IPPF is grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for the current rescission of the policy. We will continue to engage with U.S Government global health assistance programs when possible. We are also thankful to our relentless Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Despite the challenges, they have worked tirelessly alongside thousands of women’s rights campaigners across the United States and worldwide to advocate for vulnerable women and girls everywhere. The fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it.” Santos Siminone, Executive Director at Associação Moçambicana para Desenvolvimento da Família (AMODEFA), said: “We are deeply saddened by the failure to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. For AMODEFA, IPPF’s Member Association in Mozambique, a national provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country since 1989, the impact of the global gag rule meant a $2 million gap in funding - about 60% of our total budget. “The impact was almost instantaneous, forcing the closure of six programs across 12 districts in Mozambique. This denied nearly 390,000 clients access to contraception, STIs, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis services. Almost every local population was affected, with closures impacting adolescents, youths, women, and marginalized people. “For the people we serve, the permanent repeal of the policy would have meant an end to the violation of human rights. It would have meant dignity and that women’s lives would no longer be at risk. It would have meant an end to fear, pain, tears, and chaos, especially for black and brown women from low-income countries who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

The Guatemalan Flag - striped light blue either side with a white stripe in the middle and a wreath
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| 09 March 2022

Statement on the Guatemalan law on 'Protection of the Life and the Family'

On International Women's Day 2022, Guatemala's Congress passed a law which triples the prison sentences for women seeking abortion care, prohibits same-sex marriage and further bans the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education and sexual diversity in schools, saying that teaching "anything other than heterosexuality is normal" is against the law.  The "Life and Family Protection Law" was passed by an overwhelming majority of 160 - 8 in the conservative-led Congress, but still needs to be signed by Guatemala's president, Alejandro Giammattei, in order to come into force. Under the new law, women who "have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out" will face a minimum of five years in jail, but the sentences could reach a maximum of 25 years. Abortion is illegal in Guatemala except in cases where the woman's life is at risk. This law is the latest of a series of laws to attack human rights across the country, including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The initiative goes against human rights agreements, especially for women and LGBTI+ people and condemns and denies the diversity of families including mono-parental homes.  Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "It is disturbing that on International Women's Day 2022, the Guatemalan Congress passed a law that completely violates the human, sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and marginalized people. "While countries across Latin America were celebrating the lives and rights of women, Guatemala has chosen to criminalize those making the best decision for themselves and their families, while also risking imprisoning vulnerable women and girls who have experienced sexual violence or suffered pregnancy loss. By severely limiting access to safe and post-abortion care, the law will undoubtedly lead to an increase in unsafe abortions and a decrease in prenatal care, resulting in life-long disabilities for some women and a rise in maternal deaths. "At the same time, by prohibiting same-sex marriage, limiting comprehensive sexuality education and enabling the discrimination of sexual diversity, the Guatemalan government is creating a society that fosters miseducation, stigma, intolerance and homophobia and fuelling the persecution of LGBTI and non-binary people. "IPPF strongly condemns the passing of this archaic law and demands that the Guatemalan government fulfils international human rights agreements. We stand in solidarity with affected people across Guatemala and the organizations working tirelessly to ensure that all people have the freedom to make their own choices." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

The Guatemalan Flag - striped light blue either side with a white stripe in the middle and a wreath
media_center

| 09 March 2022

Statement on the Guatemalan law on 'Protection of the Life and the Family'

On International Women's Day 2022, Guatemala's Congress passed a law which triples the prison sentences for women seeking abortion care, prohibits same-sex marriage and further bans the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education and sexual diversity in schools, saying that teaching "anything other than heterosexuality is normal" is against the law.  The "Life and Family Protection Law" was passed by an overwhelming majority of 160 - 8 in the conservative-led Congress, but still needs to be signed by Guatemala's president, Alejandro Giammattei, in order to come into force. Under the new law, women who "have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out" will face a minimum of five years in jail, but the sentences could reach a maximum of 25 years. Abortion is illegal in Guatemala except in cases where the woman's life is at risk. This law is the latest of a series of laws to attack human rights across the country, including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The initiative goes against human rights agreements, especially for women and LGBTI+ people and condemns and denies the diversity of families including mono-parental homes.  Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "It is disturbing that on International Women's Day 2022, the Guatemalan Congress passed a law that completely violates the human, sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and marginalized people. "While countries across Latin America were celebrating the lives and rights of women, Guatemala has chosen to criminalize those making the best decision for themselves and their families, while also risking imprisoning vulnerable women and girls who have experienced sexual violence or suffered pregnancy loss. By severely limiting access to safe and post-abortion care, the law will undoubtedly lead to an increase in unsafe abortions and a decrease in prenatal care, resulting in life-long disabilities for some women and a rise in maternal deaths. "At the same time, by prohibiting same-sex marriage, limiting comprehensive sexuality education and enabling the discrimination of sexual diversity, the Guatemalan government is creating a society that fosters miseducation, stigma, intolerance and homophobia and fuelling the persecution of LGBTI and non-binary people. "IPPF strongly condemns the passing of this archaic law and demands that the Guatemalan government fulfils international human rights agreements. We stand in solidarity with affected people across Guatemala and the organizations working tirelessly to ensure that all people have the freedom to make their own choices." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

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| 30 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

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| 15 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

Gaza, Palestine/IPPF Humanitarian/Samar Abu Elouf
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| 29 March 2022

Government of Japan, through its support for IPPF, will provide life-saving health care services to the most vulnerable populations in Palestine

With support from the Government of Japan, the IPPF Member Association in Palestine (PFPPA) is launching a new project in Palestine targeting the most vulnerable populations that have been severely affected by the humanitarian crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that at least 1.45 million people in Palestine are in need of healthcare-related humanitarian assistance. The escalation of the conflict in Gaza in May 2021, in addition to the long-standing severe restrictions on movement and inadequate healthcare systems, have resulted in the loss of many lives, the destruction of the healthcare system, and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together these have increased poverty levels and strained the healthcare system resulting in increased humanitarian and medical assistance needs. In 2022, it is estimated that 63% of the population living in Gaza and 23% in the West Bank will continue to need humanitarian assistance. The vulnerability of women and girls in particular is even greater, with serious and sometimes life-threatening health consequences. In this context, PFPPA will reach vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations (especially women and girls) with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) related services. This will focus on five locations: Gaza, Hebron, Halhoul, Bethlehem and Ramallah. By the end of February 2023, PFPPA aims to: Deliver quality SRHR and SGBV-related services to approximately 36,000 women and young people through PFPPA clinics in the 5 project target areas. Deliver a Minimum Initial Service Package for reproductive health in crisis situation (MISP: sexual and gender-based violence response, HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment, emergency obstetric newborn care, family planning, comprehensive abortion care, etc.) to 4,800 people through mobile clinics in project target areas in Gaza and the West Bank.  Deliver prenatal and postpartum door-to-door services to 160 women, including counselling and services to promote healthy pregnancies and prepare women for childbirth.  Deliver "birth preparedness" services to 30 women and distribute kits consisting of basic supplies for pre- and postpartum preparation, including essential newborn care. Deliver SRH and SGBV services to 2,000 women and girls through mobile apps and telecommunication projects. H.E. Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, said: “We are delighted to be working with the IPPF to improve the health of women in Palestine, who are increasingly vulnerable to the humanitarian crisis and the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak. This effort will not only contribute to the realization of Japan's emphasis on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), but will also have a direct effect on human security.” Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of IPPF, said: “With the support of the Japanese government, IPPF will be able to provide health and life-saving services to vulnerable women in Palestine. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Japanese government to stand with those affected by the conflict and the COVID-19 to ensure that no one is left behind.” Ms Ammal Awadallah, Executive Director of PFPPA, said: “PFPPA is committed to ensuring that all services provided by their team to the population, regardless of each individual's circumstances, are of high quality and are provided securely, with dignity and respect, protecting all those involved from any form of harm. Furthermore, through the generous support of the Japanese government, for which we are greatly appreciative, PFPPA will be able to deliver essential services related to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (including SGBV) to those living in marginalized and remote areas most in need of such services.” International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF):  Founded in 1952 in Bombay, India, IPPF’s founding members included Madam Shizue Kato, one of Japan's first female parliamentarians and the leader of the family planning movement. Today, IPPF is one of the world's largest international NGOs working to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights and to deliver SRH services and information to all people (especially vulnerable people) through its grassroots network of 120 Member Associations and Collaborative Partners working in 140 countries including Palestine around the world. Contact: Yuri Taniguchi, Chief Strategic Partnerships and Development Advisor (S.E.Asia), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) London Office 

Gaza, Palestine/IPPF Humanitarian/Samar Abu Elouf
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| 28 March 2022

Government of Japan, through its support for IPPF, will provide life-saving health care services to the most vulnerable populations in Palestine

With support from the Government of Japan, the IPPF Member Association in Palestine (PFPPA) is launching a new project in Palestine targeting the most vulnerable populations that have been severely affected by the humanitarian crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that at least 1.45 million people in Palestine are in need of healthcare-related humanitarian assistance. The escalation of the conflict in Gaza in May 2021, in addition to the long-standing severe restrictions on movement and inadequate healthcare systems, have resulted in the loss of many lives, the destruction of the healthcare system, and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together these have increased poverty levels and strained the healthcare system resulting in increased humanitarian and medical assistance needs. In 2022, it is estimated that 63% of the population living in Gaza and 23% in the West Bank will continue to need humanitarian assistance. The vulnerability of women and girls in particular is even greater, with serious and sometimes life-threatening health consequences. In this context, PFPPA will reach vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations (especially women and girls) with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) related services. This will focus on five locations: Gaza, Hebron, Halhoul, Bethlehem and Ramallah. By the end of February 2023, PFPPA aims to: Deliver quality SRHR and SGBV-related services to approximately 36,000 women and young people through PFPPA clinics in the 5 project target areas. Deliver a Minimum Initial Service Package for reproductive health in crisis situation (MISP: sexual and gender-based violence response, HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment, emergency obstetric newborn care, family planning, comprehensive abortion care, etc.) to 4,800 people through mobile clinics in project target areas in Gaza and the West Bank.  Deliver prenatal and postpartum door-to-door services to 160 women, including counselling and services to promote healthy pregnancies and prepare women for childbirth.  Deliver "birth preparedness" services to 30 women and distribute kits consisting of basic supplies for pre- and postpartum preparation, including essential newborn care. Deliver SRH and SGBV services to 2,000 women and girls through mobile apps and telecommunication projects. H.E. Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, said: “We are delighted to be working with the IPPF to improve the health of women in Palestine, who are increasingly vulnerable to the humanitarian crisis and the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak. This effort will not only contribute to the realization of Japan's emphasis on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), but will also have a direct effect on human security.” Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of IPPF, said: “With the support of the Japanese government, IPPF will be able to provide health and life-saving services to vulnerable women in Palestine. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Japanese government to stand with those affected by the conflict and the COVID-19 to ensure that no one is left behind.” Ms Ammal Awadallah, Executive Director of PFPPA, said: “PFPPA is committed to ensuring that all services provided by their team to the population, regardless of each individual's circumstances, are of high quality and are provided securely, with dignity and respect, protecting all those involved from any form of harm. Furthermore, through the generous support of the Japanese government, for which we are greatly appreciative, PFPPA will be able to deliver essential services related to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (including SGBV) to those living in marginalized and remote areas most in need of such services.” International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF):  Founded in 1952 in Bombay, India, IPPF’s founding members included Madam Shizue Kato, one of Japan's first female parliamentarians and the leader of the family planning movement. Today, IPPF is one of the world's largest international NGOs working to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights and to deliver SRH services and information to all people (especially vulnerable people) through its grassroots network of 120 Member Associations and Collaborative Partners working in 140 countries including Palestine around the world. Contact: Yuri Taniguchi, Chief Strategic Partnerships and Development Advisor (S.E.Asia), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) London Office 

The Kenynan flag - black, red and green horizontal stripes with a shield in the middle
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| 28 March 2022

Kenyan High Court makes landmark ruling on safe abortion care

In a landmark verdict today, the High Court of Malindi has ruled that safe abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers, for seeking or offering such services, is completely illegal. Specifically, the Court ruled that: Abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers seeking or offering such services is illegal. Protecting access to abortion impacts vital Constitutional values, including dignity, autonomy, equality, and bodily integrity. Criminalizing abortion under Penal Code without Constitutional statutory framework is an impairment to the enjoyment of women’s reproductive right. For years, women and girls in Kenya have faced sustained and pervasive discrimination hampering their access to seeking reproductive healthcare services; the 1963 Penal Code criminalizes all abortion care, including those allowed under the Constitution 2010, which guarantees the right to healthcare, including access to reproductive health services. The Constitution only permits safe abortion if in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is at risk/in danger. The court case in question, filed in November 2020, involved PAK, a minor 16 years of age from Kilifi County. PAK experienced complications during pregnancy and immediately sought medical care at a nearby clinic where a trained clinical officer attended to her. Upon examining her, the clinical officer determined that she had lost the pregnancy and proceeded to provide her with essential and life-saving post-abortion care. Policy officers stormed the clinic, in the midst of the treatment, stopping the medical procedure and confiscating PAK’s treatment records. They then proceeded to illegally arrest both PAK and the clinical officer. Both were taken to Ganze Police Patrol Base where PAK was not allowed to access further medical care for the next two days and was forced to sign a statement which was contrary to PAK’s description of the events. The police also forced PAK to undergo another detailed medical examination at Kilifi County Hospital to obtain evidence to prove the alleged offence of abortion. The clinical officer was detained for one week while PAK was remanded to a juvenile remand for more than a month, whilst she and her family sought to secure the cash bail for her release. The Malindi High Court has further directed the Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Kenyan Constitution. Additionally, the Court has confirmed that communication between a patient and the healthcare provider is confidential, which is guaranteed and protected under the Constitution and other enabling laws, save for where the disclosure is consented to by the patient or is in the public interest in line with the limitations as provided for in the Constitution. In its decision, the Court also ruled that PAK was recovering from medical procedure and police did not have the medical qualifications to determine and confirm that she was medically-fit to leave the clinic, regardless of her admission status at the clinic. Additionally, the Court found that PAK’s arrest was inhuman and degrading, and being a minor, she ought not to have been interrogated without legal representation. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Africa Regional Director from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news and applaud the High Court of Malindi's ruling confirming that abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers for seeking or offering such services is illegal. We are also very pleased to hear that the Court has directed Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Constitution. This is a victory for women and girls not only in Kenya, but across Africa! Access to quality abortion is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods for fear of arrests and harassment. We will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care for women and girls everywhere.” The petitioners were represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights a network of reproductive health providers whose member was the second petitioner in this case and a collaborative partner of IPPF. The advocates were Martin Onyango, Head of Legal Strategies for Africa, and Prudence Mutiso, Legal Advisor for Africa. Nelly Munyasia, Executive Director of Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK), , welcomed the court’s decision: “Many qualified reproductive healthcare practitioners continue to be arrested, detained, and prosecuted for providing legal medical care. The court’s decision confirms that prosecution against health providers cannot hold where the prosecution has not established that; the health professional in question was unqualified to conduct the procedure; the life or health of the woman was not in danger or the woman was not in need of emergency treatment,” Ms. Munyasia said. Evelyne Opondo, Senior Regional Director for Africa at Center for Reproductive Rights said: “Today’s victory is for all women, girls, and healthcare providers who have been treated as criminals for seeking and providing abortion care. The court has vindicated our position by affirming that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or to seek out an unsafe abortion is a gross violation of her rights to privacy and bodily autonomy. Further, the continued restrictive abortion laws inhibit quality improvement possible to protect women with unintended pregnancies.” Center fact sheet: “The Impact of the Misalignment Between Kenya’s Constitution and the Penal Code on Access to Reproductive Health Care”

The Kenynan flag - black, red and green horizontal stripes with a shield in the middle
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| 26 March 2022

Kenyan High Court makes landmark ruling on safe abortion care

In a landmark verdict today, the High Court of Malindi has ruled that safe abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers, for seeking or offering such services, is completely illegal. Specifically, the Court ruled that: Abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers seeking or offering such services is illegal. Protecting access to abortion impacts vital Constitutional values, including dignity, autonomy, equality, and bodily integrity. Criminalizing abortion under Penal Code without Constitutional statutory framework is an impairment to the enjoyment of women’s reproductive right. For years, women and girls in Kenya have faced sustained and pervasive discrimination hampering their access to seeking reproductive healthcare services; the 1963 Penal Code criminalizes all abortion care, including those allowed under the Constitution 2010, which guarantees the right to healthcare, including access to reproductive health services. The Constitution only permits safe abortion if in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is at risk/in danger. The court case in question, filed in November 2020, involved PAK, a minor 16 years of age from Kilifi County. PAK experienced complications during pregnancy and immediately sought medical care at a nearby clinic where a trained clinical officer attended to her. Upon examining her, the clinical officer determined that she had lost the pregnancy and proceeded to provide her with essential and life-saving post-abortion care. Policy officers stormed the clinic, in the midst of the treatment, stopping the medical procedure and confiscating PAK’s treatment records. They then proceeded to illegally arrest both PAK and the clinical officer. Both were taken to Ganze Police Patrol Base where PAK was not allowed to access further medical care for the next two days and was forced to sign a statement which was contrary to PAK’s description of the events. The police also forced PAK to undergo another detailed medical examination at Kilifi County Hospital to obtain evidence to prove the alleged offence of abortion. The clinical officer was detained for one week while PAK was remanded to a juvenile remand for more than a month, whilst she and her family sought to secure the cash bail for her release. The Malindi High Court has further directed the Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Kenyan Constitution. Additionally, the Court has confirmed that communication between a patient and the healthcare provider is confidential, which is guaranteed and protected under the Constitution and other enabling laws, save for where the disclosure is consented to by the patient or is in the public interest in line with the limitations as provided for in the Constitution. In its decision, the Court also ruled that PAK was recovering from medical procedure and police did not have the medical qualifications to determine and confirm that she was medically-fit to leave the clinic, regardless of her admission status at the clinic. Additionally, the Court found that PAK’s arrest was inhuman and degrading, and being a minor, she ought not to have been interrogated without legal representation. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Africa Regional Director from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news and applaud the High Court of Malindi's ruling confirming that abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers for seeking or offering such services is illegal. We are also very pleased to hear that the Court has directed Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Constitution. This is a victory for women and girls not only in Kenya, but across Africa! Access to quality abortion is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods for fear of arrests and harassment. We will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care for women and girls everywhere.” The petitioners were represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights a network of reproductive health providers whose member was the second petitioner in this case and a collaborative partner of IPPF. The advocates were Martin Onyango, Head of Legal Strategies for Africa, and Prudence Mutiso, Legal Advisor for Africa. Nelly Munyasia, Executive Director of Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK), , welcomed the court’s decision: “Many qualified reproductive healthcare practitioners continue to be arrested, detained, and prosecuted for providing legal medical care. The court’s decision confirms that prosecution against health providers cannot hold where the prosecution has not established that; the health professional in question was unqualified to conduct the procedure; the life or health of the woman was not in danger or the woman was not in need of emergency treatment,” Ms. Munyasia said. Evelyne Opondo, Senior Regional Director for Africa at Center for Reproductive Rights said: “Today’s victory is for all women, girls, and healthcare providers who have been treated as criminals for seeking and providing abortion care. The court has vindicated our position by affirming that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or to seek out an unsafe abortion is a gross violation of her rights to privacy and bodily autonomy. Further, the continued restrictive abortion laws inhibit quality improvement possible to protect women with unintended pregnancies.” Center fact sheet: “The Impact of the Misalignment Between Kenya’s Constitution and the Penal Code on Access to Reproductive Health Care”

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| 18 March 2022

Equalities Assessment: UK Government knew 2021 aid cuts would significantly impact women and girls

The Government’s Equalities Assessment shows that the government was well aware that the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including Violence Against Women and Girls and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, would disproportionately impact women, girls and people with protected characteristics such as those living with disabilities.  The U.K. government were also aware that the aid cuts would reduce services available to survivors of sexual violence, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are pleased to see the long-awaited equalities assessment and are hopeful that public scrutiny will encourage the Government to double down on its efforts to champion and support equality. Government commitments are especially significant for 2022, given the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including those helping to end Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes and targeted interventions aimed at reaching those left furthest behind – including people living with disabilities. “Today, the role of international aid in building a better, safer and equal world is more relevant than ever as the Ukrainian people look to governments across the globe to support them during the most severe humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in years. With the EU predicting up to 7 million displaced people and vulnerable refugee populations requiring distinct and personalised care, we ask the U.K Government to step up for the international community and return to the 0.7% aid target as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people across the globe depend on it.” Manuelle Hurwitz, Director of Programmes for IPPF, added:   "The government knew the reduction to development programmes would completely contradict its priorities of getting 40 million more girls into education by 2025 flies in the face of achieving gender equality and yet it chose to proceed with them anyway.   For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

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| 09 March 2022

Equalities Assessment: UK Government knew 2021 aid cuts would significantly impact women and girls

The Government’s Equalities Assessment shows that the government was well aware that the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including Violence Against Women and Girls and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, would disproportionately impact women, girls and people with protected characteristics such as those living with disabilities.  The U.K. government were also aware that the aid cuts would reduce services available to survivors of sexual violence, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are pleased to see the long-awaited equalities assessment and are hopeful that public scrutiny will encourage the Government to double down on its efforts to champion and support equality. Government commitments are especially significant for 2022, given the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including those helping to end Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes and targeted interventions aimed at reaching those left furthest behind – including people living with disabilities. “Today, the role of international aid in building a better, safer and equal world is more relevant than ever as the Ukrainian people look to governments across the globe to support them during the most severe humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in years. With the EU predicting up to 7 million displaced people and vulnerable refugee populations requiring distinct and personalised care, we ask the U.K Government to step up for the international community and return to the 0.7% aid target as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people across the globe depend on it.” Manuelle Hurwitz, Director of Programmes for IPPF, added:   "The government knew the reduction to development programmes would completely contradict its priorities of getting 40 million more girls into education by 2025 flies in the face of achieving gender equality and yet it chose to proceed with them anyway.   For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

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| 10 March 2022

Statement on the U.S Congress' FY22 spending bill which fails to permanently repeal the global gag rule

U.S congressional leaders have announced they have reached a final spending deal for the fiscal year 2022. This bill results from months of negotiations over funding and policy decisions, including those that impact sexual and reproductive healthcare globally. Despite the inclusion of language to permanently repeal the global gag rule passed in the House and introduced in the Senate, the final legislation fails to permanently end the harmful policy that has destroyed the lives of women and girls around the world for so many years. It also does not remove discriminatory abortion bans like the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon amendments or include much-needed new investments in sexual and reproductive healthcare and international family planning programs. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are outraged to learn that the long-awaited U.S spending bill failed to permanently repeal the global gag rule, nor did it include other areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights progress on which advocates had built strong momentum. The bill fell foul to anti-choice Congress members whose primary goal is to control the bodies and reproductive rights of women and girls they will never know, whose lives they could never imagine. “Failure to utilize this golden opportunity risks the continuation of the flip-flopping of American policy that has played with the lives of millions across the globe for nearly 40 years. Ultimately the global gag rule destroys long-term access to lifesaving contraception, maternal health and HIV/STI services and forces vulnerable women and girls to carry pregnancies to term or make the agonizing decision to get a potentially deadly unsafe abortion. It also manipulates the ability of international organizations, like IPPF, to use their own funding to provide legal, safe abortion, which unethically denies women care and imposes neo-colonial policies around the world. “While the global gag rule poses serious challenges to sustained engagement with USAID, especially at a time when anti-choice movements continue to attack the rights of people worldwide, IPPF is grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for the current rescission of the policy. We will continue to engage with U.S Government global health assistance programs when possible. We are also thankful to our relentless Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Despite the challenges, they have worked tirelessly alongside thousands of women’s rights campaigners across the United States and worldwide to advocate for vulnerable women and girls everywhere. The fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it.” Santos Siminone, Executive Director at Associação Moçambicana para Desenvolvimento da Família (AMODEFA), said: “We are deeply saddened by the failure to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. For AMODEFA, IPPF’s Member Association in Mozambique, a national provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country since 1989, the impact of the global gag rule meant a $2 million gap in funding - about 60% of our total budget. “The impact was almost instantaneous, forcing the closure of six programs across 12 districts in Mozambique. This denied nearly 390,000 clients access to contraception, STIs, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis services. Almost every local population was affected, with closures impacting adolescents, youths, women, and marginalized people. “For the people we serve, the permanent repeal of the policy would have meant an end to the violation of human rights. It would have meant dignity and that women’s lives would no longer be at risk. It would have meant an end to fear, pain, tears, and chaos, especially for black and brown women from low-income countries who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

The American flag with stars and stripes
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| 10 March 2022

Statement on the U.S Congress' FY22 spending bill which fails to permanently repeal the global gag rule

U.S congressional leaders have announced they have reached a final spending deal for the fiscal year 2022. This bill results from months of negotiations over funding and policy decisions, including those that impact sexual and reproductive healthcare globally. Despite the inclusion of language to permanently repeal the global gag rule passed in the House and introduced in the Senate, the final legislation fails to permanently end the harmful policy that has destroyed the lives of women and girls around the world for so many years. It also does not remove discriminatory abortion bans like the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon amendments or include much-needed new investments in sexual and reproductive healthcare and international family planning programs. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are outraged to learn that the long-awaited U.S spending bill failed to permanently repeal the global gag rule, nor did it include other areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights progress on which advocates had built strong momentum. The bill fell foul to anti-choice Congress members whose primary goal is to control the bodies and reproductive rights of women and girls they will never know, whose lives they could never imagine. “Failure to utilize this golden opportunity risks the continuation of the flip-flopping of American policy that has played with the lives of millions across the globe for nearly 40 years. Ultimately the global gag rule destroys long-term access to lifesaving contraception, maternal health and HIV/STI services and forces vulnerable women and girls to carry pregnancies to term or make the agonizing decision to get a potentially deadly unsafe abortion. It also manipulates the ability of international organizations, like IPPF, to use their own funding to provide legal, safe abortion, which unethically denies women care and imposes neo-colonial policies around the world. “While the global gag rule poses serious challenges to sustained engagement with USAID, especially at a time when anti-choice movements continue to attack the rights of people worldwide, IPPF is grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for the current rescission of the policy. We will continue to engage with U.S Government global health assistance programs when possible. We are also thankful to our relentless Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Despite the challenges, they have worked tirelessly alongside thousands of women’s rights campaigners across the United States and worldwide to advocate for vulnerable women and girls everywhere. The fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it.” Santos Siminone, Executive Director at Associação Moçambicana para Desenvolvimento da Família (AMODEFA), said: “We are deeply saddened by the failure to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. For AMODEFA, IPPF’s Member Association in Mozambique, a national provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country since 1989, the impact of the global gag rule meant a $2 million gap in funding - about 60% of our total budget. “The impact was almost instantaneous, forcing the closure of six programs across 12 districts in Mozambique. This denied nearly 390,000 clients access to contraception, STIs, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis services. Almost every local population was affected, with closures impacting adolescents, youths, women, and marginalized people. “For the people we serve, the permanent repeal of the policy would have meant an end to the violation of human rights. It would have meant dignity and that women’s lives would no longer be at risk. It would have meant an end to fear, pain, tears, and chaos, especially for black and brown women from low-income countries who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

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| 09 March 2022

Statement on the Guatemalan law on 'Protection of the Life and the Family'

On International Women's Day 2022, Guatemala's Congress passed a law which triples the prison sentences for women seeking abortion care, prohibits same-sex marriage and further bans the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education and sexual diversity in schools, saying that teaching "anything other than heterosexuality is normal" is against the law.  The "Life and Family Protection Law" was passed by an overwhelming majority of 160 - 8 in the conservative-led Congress, but still needs to be signed by Guatemala's president, Alejandro Giammattei, in order to come into force. Under the new law, women who "have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out" will face a minimum of five years in jail, but the sentences could reach a maximum of 25 years. Abortion is illegal in Guatemala except in cases where the woman's life is at risk. This law is the latest of a series of laws to attack human rights across the country, including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The initiative goes against human rights agreements, especially for women and LGBTI+ people and condemns and denies the diversity of families including mono-parental homes.  Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "It is disturbing that on International Women's Day 2022, the Guatemalan Congress passed a law that completely violates the human, sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and marginalized people. "While countries across Latin America were celebrating the lives and rights of women, Guatemala has chosen to criminalize those making the best decision for themselves and their families, while also risking imprisoning vulnerable women and girls who have experienced sexual violence or suffered pregnancy loss. By severely limiting access to safe and post-abortion care, the law will undoubtedly lead to an increase in unsafe abortions and a decrease in prenatal care, resulting in life-long disabilities for some women and a rise in maternal deaths. "At the same time, by prohibiting same-sex marriage, limiting comprehensive sexuality education and enabling the discrimination of sexual diversity, the Guatemalan government is creating a society that fosters miseducation, stigma, intolerance and homophobia and fuelling the persecution of LGBTI and non-binary people. "IPPF strongly condemns the passing of this archaic law and demands that the Guatemalan government fulfils international human rights agreements. We stand in solidarity with affected people across Guatemala and the organizations working tirelessly to ensure that all people have the freedom to make their own choices." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

The Guatemalan Flag - striped light blue either side with a white stripe in the middle and a wreath
media_center

| 09 March 2022

Statement on the Guatemalan law on 'Protection of the Life and the Family'

On International Women's Day 2022, Guatemala's Congress passed a law which triples the prison sentences for women seeking abortion care, prohibits same-sex marriage and further bans the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education and sexual diversity in schools, saying that teaching "anything other than heterosexuality is normal" is against the law.  The "Life and Family Protection Law" was passed by an overwhelming majority of 160 - 8 in the conservative-led Congress, but still needs to be signed by Guatemala's president, Alejandro Giammattei, in order to come into force. Under the new law, women who "have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out" will face a minimum of five years in jail, but the sentences could reach a maximum of 25 years. Abortion is illegal in Guatemala except in cases where the woman's life is at risk. This law is the latest of a series of laws to attack human rights across the country, including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The initiative goes against human rights agreements, especially for women and LGBTI+ people and condemns and denies the diversity of families including mono-parental homes.  Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "It is disturbing that on International Women's Day 2022, the Guatemalan Congress passed a law that completely violates the human, sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and marginalized people. "While countries across Latin America were celebrating the lives and rights of women, Guatemala has chosen to criminalize those making the best decision for themselves and their families, while also risking imprisoning vulnerable women and girls who have experienced sexual violence or suffered pregnancy loss. By severely limiting access to safe and post-abortion care, the law will undoubtedly lead to an increase in unsafe abortions and a decrease in prenatal care, resulting in life-long disabilities for some women and a rise in maternal deaths. "At the same time, by prohibiting same-sex marriage, limiting comprehensive sexuality education and enabling the discrimination of sexual diversity, the Guatemalan government is creating a society that fosters miseducation, stigma, intolerance and homophobia and fuelling the persecution of LGBTI and non-binary people. "IPPF strongly condemns the passing of this archaic law and demands that the Guatemalan government fulfils international human rights agreements. We stand in solidarity with affected people across Guatemala and the organizations working tirelessly to ensure that all people have the freedom to make their own choices." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]