10 Facts on World Population Day 2017

Fact 1:

In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme recommended that 11 July be observed by the international community as World Population Day, a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s theme is “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations.

Fact 2:

Using family planning as an umbrella often overlooks the needs of non-traditional family structures. As is obvious from the image below, the global family planning agenda remains oblivious to the fact that In many developing countries, women still face disproportionate risks to their health during pregnancy and childbirth. Many do not have control over their bodies because they lack access to contraceptives. At a time when globally the feminists have been fighting for inclusion in social agenda calling for a more inclusive approach which takes into account the needs of marginal, indigenous groups; the below image reaffirms a limited non-intersectional, upper-middle class, Caucasian approach to development which remains to be highly problematic and major deterrent to the goals it seeks to achieve.

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Fact 3:

This year’s World Population Day, 11 July, coincides with the Family Planning Summit, the second meeting of the FP2020–Family Planning 2020–initiative, which aims to expand access to voluntary family planning to 120 million additional women by 2020. The fact remains that by 2020 more than 140 million girls will become child brides (see more- http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/child-marriage-shocking-facts/1/646803.html)

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Child marriage often compromises a girl’s development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence.

Fact 4:
The Global Gag rule reinstated by the Trump Govt adversly affects the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women Worldwide

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Trump reinstated a global gag rule that bars international health organizations that receive U.S. funding from mentioning abortion as a family planning option. The recent global gag rule on abortion rights further stigmatizes the issue of the reproductive health of young women, and further makes it difficult for young women to access services.

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Fact 5:

Access to safe, voluntary contraception is a human right. It is also central to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and is a key factor in reducing poverty.
Yet around the world, some 214 million women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective Contraception methods, for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. Many of those with an unmet demand for contraceptives live in the poorest countries on earth.

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Fact 6: 

Women with unmet need for contraception account for 84% of all unintended pregnancies

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Another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions. This is partly because their access to safe abortions is highly restricted. The infographic below shows what happens when abortions are restricted or banned. The numbers in the image include women of all ages.

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Fact 7:

Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities. (see more- http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/)

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Fact 8:

Adolescents have a basic human right to complete and accurate information about their sexual and reproductive health. Strong evidence suggests that comprehensive approaches to sex education help young people to delay sex and also to have healthy, responsible and mutually protective relationships when they do become sexually active. Many examples of comprehensive programs have resulted in delayed sexual debut, reduced frequency of sex, fewer sexual partners, increased condom or contraceptive use, or reduced sexual risk-taking. Read more- https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2017/03/looming-threat-sex-education-resurgence-federal-funding-abstinence-only-programs )

Fact 9:

Worldwide about 43,000 women die each year as a result of not having access to safe and legal abortions. Restricting abortions doesn’t stop women from getting one it only makes it unsafe.

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A study into women who seek abortion pills online in the face of strict laws against terminations has found that almost 95% safely ended their pregnancy without surgical intervention.

Experts say the study underscores the safety of medical abortion, and highlights that women who go on to experience symptoms of possible complications do follow advice to seek medical help at clinics or hospitals. (see more- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/17/seeking-medical-abortions-online-is-safe-and-effective-study-finds )

Fact 10:

Fulfilling the unmet need for contraception has a major environmental emphasis too. However, a study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the average long-term carbon impact of a child born in the U.S. – along with all of its descendants – is more than 160 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh. Conversations need to move towards the impact of populations in developed countries and not only on reducing and spacing of births in the global south.(See more- http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/jul/family-planning-major-environmental-emphasis )

The population issues need to move away from only methods used for having fewer children and towards empowering people where they truly control their bodies and lives.

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See more at: http://asap-asia.org/may-28/

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Who has the Answers?

Rajvi Goradia, Youth Champion

Fact 1: Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality.

Question 1: Why must somebody who is not even ready to have a child be subject to that statistic?

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Fact 2: There are so many horrible things happening in the world. Human trafficking where girls are being sold for sex, slavery and so many other unmentionable things

Question 2 : Wouldn’t a safe abortion would be a relief for so many rape victims who have already experienced enough unsafe treatment? Do they need a daily reminder of the rape by being forced continue the pregnancy?

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Fact 3: Every woman has the right to life and every government has the duty to protect it.

Question 3 : When women are forced to have unsafe abortions, does the government take responsibility if something goes wrong?

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Fact 4: Safe abortion is one of the safest medical procedures a woman can have.

Question 4 : Abortion has been such a controversial subject but why is SAFE abortion harming anybody? How is it different from any other consensual medical procedure? Why should it not be treated like any other surgical/medical practice that occurs?

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The ASAP Youth Advocacy Institute I attended has taught me a lot of about how the procedure of Safe Abortion works. There are so many countries in which abortion rates have decreased due to advancement of technology. But it requires so much more than that; a change in mindsets, a change in laws, a change in the attitude of health practitioners.

To achieve that, awareness has to be raised in every way possible about how harmful unsafe abortions are, how we should respect a woman’s choice to know what is wrong or right for her life.

Safe abortion should not be a rare opportunity that some lucky woman who matches all the criteria gets. It should be within every woman’s birth right because that is what any human being should get.

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Fact 5: People must know how important it is to understand that at the end of the day, they are not responsible for whatever choice the woman makes. It is her life that will be affected.

Question 5 : She is a human after all, isn’t she? Or do her human rights get stripped away because of an unborn foetus?

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In conclusion, all my point is that criminalizing abortion only stops women from getting safe abortions. And it is every women’s right to access safe abortion, no matter why, where or when.

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Women’s Rights- A biophylogenetic perspective

Nitish Nadkarni, Youth Champion

Humans have always been called social animals. May it be a rush at a railway station or a queue at the ATM, humans tend to communicate with each other. Languages are different, nationalities are different and yet the only thing that actually binds us with the silken cords of phylogeny is the fact that we are humans.

And this social interaction between two Sapienic entities stems from the very need of people to interact and share and exchange information. And here comes the glitch. Information can be biased. As someone has said correctly- History is a lie that has been honed as a weapon by those who were strong enough to supress the truth. Thus all the information we receive is nothing but a mere illusion of truth; albeit a persistent one.

With access to information, we come across the basic necessity of any Sapien. That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. Rights are the very things bestowed upon us by us and you know what’s fun about it…they are unalienable. EVERY person, irrespective of whether poor or rich, black or white, male or female, always possesses a gift. The gift of choice. This choice is as fundamental as food, clothing and shelter. And you know who is deprived of these rights…woman.

Yes, the very entity which gives us an existence. And the reason? A false sense of pride amongst the testosteronized society about the competency of women in the world. Did we learn nothing from the legends? The Olympics? Are we so hellbent of destroying their status in the society that we don’t even consider them a part of the society ?

As I said, Humans are animals. But animals behave better than us. We have a larger representation of cortex than the amygdala. So, next time you see a beautiful girl, instead of staring at her like hyenas, respect her. The next time someone tries to harass her, instead of participating, try to rebel. Because if we don’t do it, we are no better than simple animals who act on basic instinct, grow, reproduce and die.

It is time that we start a revolt from within. It is time that we put the testosterone to test. It is time to convert the evil hunger in an oestrogenic anger. Shut mouths will make the shout louder. One person will make the war bigger. It is time to invoke the goddess…not in the temple, but around us. In our homes, work places and yes, in our hearts. Because it’s not who you are but what you do, that defines you.

 

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Wonder Women everywhere !

The Amazon River, is just a bit shorter than the Nile but in terms of quantity of water, it is the largest river in the world. It was the Spanish conquerors who named the river after they were soundly defeated by a tribe of female warriors there from the Icamiaba tribe, reminding them of the Amazonian women.

Greek mythology tells us the story (myth?) about a race of female warriors called the Amazons, who dwelt in the region of modern-day Ukraine. There were no men allowed to live together with them but in order to continue their race, once a year, these women would visit a nearby tribe called Gargareans. After having sexual intercourse with them, the women would return home; they would keep all baby girls that were born, but the male babies were either killed, sent to their fathers, or left in a forest to die.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/amazon-women-there-any-truth-behind-myth-180950188/

The latest brilliant superheroine movie Wonder Woman had me thrilled to bits. I went with a tentative enthusiasm, tinged with a lot of wariness that this movie would also have tokenistic and one dimensional female characters as is usually the case and it was all I could do to stop cheering in the theatre when my fears did not come true!

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It is not a perfect film (and many reviewers have rightly pointed out its lack of intersectionality and a very limited view of feminism).

https://www.bustle.com/p/wonder-womans-feminism-is-strong-as-hell-but-its-not-intersectional-62798

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/06/02/i_wish_wonder_woman_were_as_feminist_as_it_thinks_it_is.html

However, just its existence is such a breath of fresh air! I remember literally cringing at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Ms Pepper in the Iron Man series. X Men was somewhat better with Storm and Mystique and Jean Gray, but I have not seen a film named after and centered only on an empowered woman in a very, very long time ! The last Hollywood movie I saw that was even named after a woman was probably Mrs Doubtfire. And that as you may know is the name taken by Robin Williams when he is in drag pretending to be a baby sitter.

The white man in the movie is an ‘almost woke’ man. Still doing a bit of mansplaining, ‘let me protect you and tell you what to do’ stuff, but getting to the right place soon.

The actress Gal Gadot was apparently 5 months pregnant during the shooting of some scenes and had to use a green screen on her abdomen. It would have been interesting if they HAD showed her pregnant though, or choosing not to be. Hmm, a whole new movie is possible already !

http://ew.com/movies/2017/04/25/gal-gadot-wonder-woman-reshoots-pregnant/

Yes, I did have a small nagging doubt that like #femvertising maybe they are just pandering to a growing demand for women empowerment tropes or situations for the sake of the audience.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/12/femvertising-branded-feminism

But even if so, I think it opens a door that will not be easy to close again.

No matter how cheesy, but seeing the old white male War God being defeated by this fierce- -yet- kind new feminine order was a real thrill. They might as well as done some sky writing there saying “Smash the Patriarchy!”

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/05/why-wonder-woman-is-a-masterpiece-of-subversive-feminism

The young women I have the privilege of working with, across Asia, in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Iran, Indonesia, Nepal, Lebanon, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam who are speaking out against controls on women’s bodies, who are helping other women find safe options, are all wonder women too, leading the rising tide of Wonder Women, saving the world, one action at a time.

https://youtu.be/b2fS5dRgD8I

Wonder women. May we be them, may we know them, may we raise them !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMo1Ke7frxo

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Every woman on every planet should have the right to choose !!

-Rajvi Goradia, Youth Champion

It has been my strong belief that every woman present on earth or any other planet for that matter should have the right to choose what she can do with her body.

After attending the ASAP Youth Advocacy Institute and learning about the exact difference between unsafe and illegal, my desire to advocate for Safe Abortion Rights has increased all the more.

Why should any government body or a religious dictator attempt to force their beliefs on her??

Abortion is a taboo word in society which is what leads to its “unsafe” and illegal practices.

That is why women are forced to visit quacks who don’t care about sanitation, hygiene, even something as important as anaesthesia! That is why women are not be able to freely make a choice, without worrying about ‘what society might think’.

When she does make the choice, she should be able to go to any health practitioner and obtain a SAFE abortion without any unnecessary pestering or useless paperwork procedures which have nothing to do with her abortion. As a doctor, their first priority should be only and only the woman’s health and safety, which includes mental as well as physical health.

The issue not only lies in the taboo of abortion, but also in the gross misjudgment of having any kind of consensual sexual relations. Many women are forced to go through with an unwanted pregnancy because “Why did she have sex if she didn’t want to face the consequences?”

But, what if the woman used protection and did everything right on her part? Is she really supposed to live a life she never asked for or could be prepared for, just as a “punishment” for having sex?

So then she is forced to seek the termination of her pregnancy through unsafe means where the work will be finished undercover without any judgment or care. I, for one, believe that a woman deserves more than that. A human deserves more than that. No cluster of cells should be able to decide what an actual fully developed human being should go through.

A baby is so much more than just the 9 months of pregnancy that the woman has to go through. It’s an entire lifetime commitment. It is unfair to both the baby AND the mother to live a poorly led life just because she wasn’t given an option to choose whether to have an abortion or not.

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