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The UNCSW proposes measures to increase Women’s Reproductive Autonomy

By Gillian Chong, Agence France-Presse

Published: 20 Mar 2019 - 11:48 AM

UNCSW looks to protect Women’s Reproductive Autonomy

UNCSW looks to protect Women’s Reproductive Autonomy

On the last day of council, the UNCSW tackled the issue of “Women’s Reproductive Autonomy”. There were five issues on the agenda: abortion, contraceptives, Artificial Reproductive Techniques (ARF), sex education and family planning, and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Countries adopted varying stances on the issue of abortion. Most countries allow abortion under certain conditions, such as when the women has been raped, or when the pregnancy affects the woman’s physical or mental health in a detrimental manner.

Countries such as the USA, India, Norway, and China supported the legalisation of abortion. Norway, while acknowledging India’s point that abortion is “not a one fit all solution”, proposed increasing accessibility to abortions and the setting up of abortion clinics, in order to reduce illegal abortion rates. The USA suggested increasing awareness of the health benefits of abortion, with the aims of increasing the acceptance of abortion and encouraging the legalisation of abortion in countries.

However, countries against abortion, such as Korea, Iran, Russia, and Argentina, argued that birth control and sex education, rather than abortion, was the solution. Korea urged the council not to overstep their mandate by attempting to legalise abortion in countries. These countries advocated increasing access to birth control, sex education and family planning, arguing for the prevention of pregnancy over abortion.

Brazil also raised the idea of rape prevention measures, and the United Mexican States suggested a whistle blowing system which would allow females to report sexual assault.

On the topic of raising awareness of ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies, countries discussed methods in which they could educate people on birth control and family planning, and increase access to contraceptives. The council suggested providing subsidised or free contraceptives to women, a proposal that was well-received in council.

Council will convene again later to finish up with the discussion about Women’s Reproductive Rights.