Sexuality Policy Watch

Sexual Politics in February and early March 2017


There are many events to be reported in regard to abortion rights in February and early March 2017. The most important comes from  Brazil where potential regressions on abortion rights have been registered in recent years. A lawsuit was filed at the Supreme Court, on March 7th, by a political party (PSOL) and the feminist NGO ANIS that contests the constitutionality of criminalization of abortion enshrined in the 1940 Penal Code. The request’s core arguments is that the criminalization of abortion violates women’s rights to dignity, citizenship, non-discrimination and health, protected by the Federal Constitution, underlining that the detrimental effects of criminalization predominantly affect poor and black women.

Good news also came from Croatia where the Constitutional Court ruled against the demand tabled by conservative groups calling for the unconstitutionality of exiting legislation that allows abortion to be performed under certain circumstances.

In contrast, in Uruguay, where abortion law was positively reformed in 2012, in the province of Soriano a female judge suspended an abortion procedure already scheduled in response to a judicial request on the part of her ex-partner. The International Campaign for Women’s Rights to Safe Abortion (ICWRSA) reports on the case. To read more about Uruguayan legal standards on abortion check here.

At the global level, in response to the reinstatement of Global Gag Rule by the Trump administration, 50 governments plus 350 participants representing private donors and civil society feminist organizations gathered at the She Decides Summit in Brussels. As reported by the ICWRSA newsletter, the main outcome of the conference was a pledge of €181 million to globally support reproductive health services including abortion,  as well as a advocacy efforts to change existing legislation. To see other reports of the meeting check here and here. Right after the Summit, the Canadian government has also made a pledge of 650 million dollars to counter the Gag Rule.

Returning to Latin America, on February 5th Mexico,  City approved its Constitution. Despite the strong pressure of conservative groups, no regression in relation to abortion rights was included and the final text adopted  extremely positive language on matters pertaining to sexual rights, multiple forms of family, cultural diversity drug use and death with dignity. Gloria Careaga, member of the SPW Steering Committee, reports.

In Nepal, as reported by Human Rights Watch, positive measures have been adopted in relation to the access of transgender people to civil service jobs.

In contrast, in the US, the Trump administration made another step backwards by rescinding protections adopted during the Obama administration in regard to the right of transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Check the SPW compilation on the measure  and reactions to it.

In China, the state has once again restricted the political action of feminist groups. This time, paradoxically enough, the repression came after feminist voices publicly criticized the Trump administration. Read more here and here.

We recommend

Papers and articles

Ensuring an inclusive global health agenda for transgender people – by Rebekah Thomas, Frank Pega, Rajat Khosla, Annette Verster,Tommy Hanaa & Lale Sayc. Published by the Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Missing Frameworks in the Gender Equality Movement in Indonesia? – Priliantina Bebasari – Institute of Development Studies (IDS) –

Black, queer, feminist, erased from history: Meet the most important legal scholar you’ve likely never heard ofSalon

Queering Islamophobia – The Homonationalism of the Muslim Ban – Aqdas Aftab – Bitch Media

Women’s Resistance in Kashmir – Essar Batool – AWID

Turkish women for and against more power for Erdogan rally in Istanbul – Public Radio International

Rachel Dolezal: ‘I’m not going to stoop and apologise and grovel’ – The Guardian

Albanian rap and hyper-masculinity – openDemocracy

It is devastating’: abuse survivor quits Vatican child protection bodyThe Guardian

Publications and resources

UN Human Rights Council report on Fundamentalism, Extremism and Cultural Rights

Access to misoprostol through community-based advocacy in Kenya and Tanzania – Francine Coeytaux, Leila Hessini, Nondo Ejano, Albert Obbuyi, Monica Oguttu, Joachim Osur and Kristen Shuken

Abortion incidence and unintended pregnancy in Nepal – by Mahesh Puri, Susheela Singh, Aparna Sundaram, Rubina Hussain, Anand Tamang, Marjorie Crowell

Uganda’s Abortion Rate Has Decreased Since 2003, but Unsafe Procedures Resulting in Complications Remain Common – Guttmacher Institute

New insights on global sex education in our digital era Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Defending LGBT rights in South Asia: Stories of Survival and Justice – UNDP, Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) and APCOM

Annual Report 2016: International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion

Safe Abortion Information HotlinesInternational Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion

TGEU publishes revised legal gender recognition toolkit


News, Journal Articles and Videos: Brazil, India, Senegal, USA, Ethiopia, Africa – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion’s 10 February newsletter

Abortion Stories: making women’s lives visible: USA, UK, Ireland, Pakistan – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion’s 17 February newsletter

Journal Articles and Reports: Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, School-related Gender-based Violence, Post-Abortion Contraception, and Contraception in Europe – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion’s 28 February newsletter

The Editorial: Self-Care and Sexuality – In Plainspeak

In Plainspeak March issue: Marriage and Sexuality

Ilga’s February 17 to 23 issue

Check it out

Call for proposal: Astrea’s Intersex Human Rights Fund – deadline: March 15, 2017

Call for Applications for the 9th Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR) Sexuality Institute – deadline: March 12, 2017

Sexuality and Art

Loss in art: Ren Hang

Grada Kilomba: decolonizing thinking, performing knowledge

When Japan Had a Third Gender – New York Times

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