|CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive
No 2 (24) 2005
table of contents:
Women’s organisations around the world, including organizations and
networks from CEE/CIS region are preparing for their participation in the
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Session or so called Beijing +10
which will take place in New York from 28th
of February till 11th of
March. Women’s organizations have a lot of hopes associated with the
meeting, regarding diversity of issues including reproductive rights and
economic situation of women.
the meeting which will take place in
other associated events are planned around the world. One of them being
the Global Week of Action-Beijing and Beyond,
a project designed to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Beijing
Fourth World Conference on Women. All organizations are invited to join
women around the world in endorsing Beijing and
Beyond during the week of March 1-8, 2005. Beijing
and Beyond will be taken on locally, nationally, regionally and
globally during the time that the 2005 (CSW) session in New York is
reviewing government implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA)
as part of the official "Beijing +10" review.
As an endorser, you simply agree to initiate or collaborate on at least
one action during the Week of Action. The organizers will send you
message soon giving you information about how to send us details about
your events so we can post them in a calendar on our soon-to-be-launched
To become an endorsing organization, please
are increasingly deciding to donate their eggs to infertile women from
other, wealthier countries including the
. Women donors can earn up to £150
for donating their eggs, which for many women is an equivalent of a
monthly wage. As far as
women are concerned this gives them access to eggs quicker then if the
relied of egg donation in their own country. While the Romanian donor
women are motivated not only by the financial gain but also by the ability
to help women who cannot otherwise have a children, the phenomenon is
causing some ethical questions, including concerns that it may lead to
exploitation of Romanian women for their eggs. For full text article go
: Maternal Mortality.
During the last
decade the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with
the Kazakh government, attempted to reduce the level of maternal mortality
. Unfortunately this did not lead to any significant improvements.
had been a some decline in
's maternal mortality rate over the past few years (60.9 in 2000, 48.6 in
2001, and 51.8 in 2002), but the figures are still a concern.
to a UN country report, the main factors contributing to maternal
mortality are the poor health and poor nutrition of women. This leads to
complications during pregnancy and births. Sixty percent of Kazakh
deliveries were with complications. Kazakh government believes that 40
percent of all maternal deaths could been prevented by improving access to
year UNICEF will provide some means to help the government to have better
standards for women coming to maternity wards.
need to retrain most of the country's gynecologists and nutritionists has
been singled out as one of the tasks which need to be undertaken to
improve the situation. Placing greater emphasis on prevention should be
one of the elements of this retraining.
to a study by two American researchers the number of Russians with
HIV/AIDS is probably at least three times the official figure of 300,000.
The researchers claim that many doctors are bribed not to classify the
patient's illness as one of the illnesses that carry a stigma.
study says that if authorities want to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS they
need to be more aggressive with drug therapy, prevention and education.
According to the authors of the study due to the fact that the epidemic is
impacting predominantly young people inaction on the behalf of the leaders
of the country the consequences will be devastating to the society, to
family formation, to the labour force, and
the growth of the Gross Domestic Product. The fact that over 80 percent
Russian HIV/AIDS victims are under 30 years makes it very different to the
HIV/AIDS epidemic in North America and
, where great majority of the victims are over 30.
and Women and Reproductive Health.
between use of Chemicals in every day product and women's health including
reproductive health is the focus of the involvement of women's NGOs from
including new CEE EU states. These groups are lobbing for the adopting of
Authorization and Evaluation of Chemicals) by the EU parliament and
the Council of Ministers which represents the member states. In addition,
women's groups have advocated for a strengthening of the current draft.
For more information on the impact of chemicals on women's health go to
and Condoms: A Global disagreement.
Catholic bishops' conference publicly acknowledging use of condoms in
the fight to
prevent HIV/AIDS open a global feud among the seniors of the Catholic
Church. After a meeting with the Health Minister Elena Salgad on
Tuesday, 18 January, the bishops' conference secretary general P. Juan
Antonio Martínez Camino told reporters that condoms are part of the
integral global prevention of AIDS. Soon after this statement was
made, Spanish Catholic Church issued a statement emphasizing the fact
that the bishop’s statement “must be understood in the context of
Catholic doctrine, which holds that use of condoms is immoral sexual
conduct.” This was a consequence by the pressure exercised by the
itself. This however did not lead to the silencing of the issue.
Very soon Catholic Bishops in
and Catholic Bishops in
expressed made a statement that while 37 years ago Catholic Church
prohibited its followers from using condoms to avoid pregnancy, using of
condos to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS is justified. This statement
however is very much against the teaching of the Pope John Paul II would.
The most remarkable element of the debate was a recent statement made by
bishop Georges Cottier who stated that condoms should be considered to
be justifiable if used to prevent spread of AIDS in poor countries. Let
us hope that this debate will lead to the changes in the teaching of the
Catholic Church which still remains both: extremely influential in many
countries and effectively blind to the nature of the HIV epidemics.
to fight HIV/AIDS.
French President Jacques Chirac's
during his speech at World Economic Forum in
, proposed to introduce a global tax on international financial
transactions to raise $10 billion annually to fight HIV/AIDS. Many
politicians and investors reacted very coolly to this proposal. Chirac
also proposed that a small tax be added to the cost of every airline
ticket (three billion of airline tickets are sold each year). Chirac
said that the funding could be raised without hampering markets and
could be used to provide antiretroviral treatment to more HIV-positive
people in developing countries, support HIV prevention campaigns and
contribute to research on an HIV/AIDS vaccine. He called on leaders from
to debate his proposals at the G8 summit in
in July. The Bush administration reacted with "deep skepticism"
about Chirac's proposal. Tony Blair also said it is important to
"be clear" that the "overall purpose is to raise the aid
". Multibillionaire Bill Gates, who founded of Microsoft questioned
how long Chirac's plan might take to be implemented and that during this
time millions of lives will be lost.
Turning a Blind Eye to HIV/AIDS epidemic.
has been argued that while being very willing to help those affected by
the December 2004 tsunami the world has turned a blind eye to the
HIV/AIDS. While each month 191,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa die from
AIDS-related diseases many Europeans and Americans to some extend
believe that people suffering in
are somehow to blame for their illness or that their situation is so bad
that they cannot be helped. This is despite the fact that the majority
of new HIV infections are among married, monogamous women. Source:
not Addressed Adequately.
to the Survey released by World Economic Forum businesses worldwide are
falling behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS and leaving a "black
hole" in health care and education. According to the survey of
nearly 9,000 corporate leaders in 104 countries, more than 70% have no
HIV/AIDS strategy. Only 7%
have formal written policies. This is despite that approximately 14,000
people contract HIV each day and that this may cripple economies and
decimate work forces in the future. To see the full text of the report
go to: http://www.weforum.org/site/homepublic.nsf/Content/Global+Health+Initiative%5CGHI+Global+Business+Survey
World Economic Forum
Administration Pledges for
detail polemics on if Bushes Admistraiotion has or has not met its
pledges for global HIV/AIDS go to http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=27842
and Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Stopes International has
draft letter to the EU ministers requesting to add sexual and
reproductive health supplies and services to their emergency packages
when dealing with disasters such as the Tsunami. ASTRA has signed this
letter. The letter pointed to the fact that local health care
infrastructure has literally been washed away in many of the affected
communities, creating huge problems for women in particular. This
includes women who are pregnant or facing complications of pregnancy,
including trauma-induced miscarriages. The letter also pointed out that
children, and girls in particular, are very vulnerable targets for
violence and trafficking and need special attention in the development
of humanitarian aid.
Researchers at the
are expected to announce a licensing deal with Norwegian biotech company
SpermaTech aimed at developing a male contraceptive pill using a new
technique that immobilizes sperm and in theory prevents them from
fertilizing an egg. The researchers believe that "turning off"
sperm's tails might prevent them from fertilizing an egg. Researchers
and SpermaTech will now test the theory on humans and conduct other lab
work to create a male pill. Unfortunately process could take up to 10
years. The resulting contraceptive, however, is likely to have few side
effects, be easy to take and would be a reversible form of contraception.
The existence of alternative methods of birth control is exceedingly
important, particularly methods that men can use and where the
responsibility for contraception becomes a shared responsibility of the
couple, rather then exclusively responsibility of the woman.
Reproductive health specialists say that a male birth control pill could
lead to a new era of sexual relations and bring new issues of trust and
power but could also bring a potential increase in sexually transmitted
diseases if men stop using condoms.
Rights on the Agenda
impact of Abstinence-only Sex Education.
in many countries of our region quality sex education is often replaced by
pseudo-education focusing on abstinence as a form of prevention against
unwanted pregnancy and STDs, more evidence is available indication that
this is not the most effective method.
For example a research conducted in US state of
, and funded by Texas Department of Health shows that abstinence-only sex
education programs have had "little impact" on
teenagers' behavior. Five abstinence-only sex education programs at more
than 24 schools across
were examined. The study found that 23% of ninth-grade girls reported
having had sexual intercourse before they received abstinence education, a
percentage below the national average. However, the study found that 28%
of the same girls reported having had sexual intercourse after receiving
abstinence education, a percentage that is "closer to that of their
peers across the state". In addition, the study found that the
percentage of ninth-grade boys reporting having had sexual intercourse
remained unchanged before and after abstinence education. The percentage
of 10th grade boys reporting sexual activity "jumped" from 24%
to 39% after participating in abstinence education.
Portugal: Abortion Referendum.
's opposition Socialists have promised to hold a referendum to make its
strict abortion laws more liberal. The referendum will take place if the
Socialist will wing the coming elections. In
abortion is banned except in case of danger to the life or health of the
mother, a malformed fetus or rape. A referendum on the issue was held in
1998. The referendum was characterized by low voter turnout, but still it
narrowly defeated a proposal to allow abortion on demand up to 10 weeks of
pregnancy. The country’s Family Planning Association has estimated
to 40,000 illegal abortions are performed in the country.
abortion of female fetuses. The
Chinese government is taking measures to strengthen current laws banning
selective abortion of female fetuses in order to correct the country's
imbalance in the ratio of boys to girls. This imbalance is partly due to
the country's one-child-per-family policy. According to the latest Chinese
government’s statistics, 119 boys are born in the country for every 100
girls. In the rest of the world 106 boys are born for every 100 girls.
Sex-selective abortion is already banned in
but still it continues to take place. According to some demographers,
correcting the imbalance in China's male-to-female ratio will be difficult
due to cultural reasons, where in some social groups and geographic
localities boys are seen as more ‘valuable’ then girls. Inheritance
laws also make boys more valuable to their families than girls. Source:
of the Disabled and Abortion. United Nation diplomats are drafting an
international treaty on the rights of the disabled debated a possibility
of banning the abortion of fetuses with disabilities.
debate of diplomats on the issue was extremly emotional. It resulted in
diplomats deferring action on the ban because it was too controversial.
United Nations (news - websites) has been writing a treaty addressing the
rights of the world's 600 million disabled since 2001. It is possible that
it will be completed by the end of 2006 and ratified by enough governments
to take force in 2009 at the latest.
United Nations (Reuters)
Conference: 'Demographic challenges for social
of Europe Conference on 'Demographic challenges for social cohesion', will
take place in
, 7 -8 April 2005. The Conference will provide a timely occasion to
exchange ideas, experiences and good practices on the issue of demographic
challenges for social cohesion. For more details and to access conference
documentation please go to. http://www.coe.int/Population
. If you would like to register for this Conference, please send
application form (available at the above websites) to the organizers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women's Health Rights.
A conference “Health Rights,
Women’s Lives: Challenges and Strategies for
. 10th International Women and Health Meeting will
be held in 21 – 25 of September
. The aim of the conference will be address the issue of women’s health
as a fundamental right. It will provide forum for discussion issues and
the challenges that they pose for working towards operationalizing health,
it will also enable diverse range of participants to network, strategize.
More information of the conference will be available in next issues of
Commission's 2005 Public Health programme announced a call for proposals.
The deadline for applications is 14 April 2005 and details can be found
opportunity exists to host the Secretariat for the Sexual
Violence Research Initiatives. SVRI aims to create a
network of experienced and committed researchers, policymakers, activists
and donors who will work together to make progress towards redressing the
many gaps in knowledge on sexual violence. Institutions in low- and
middle-income countries are particularly invited to apply. Deadline
for proposals: 17:00 CET, 21 February 2005. More
Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP) website
has a new look, and renovations are now complete. Visit www.protectchoice.org
to see newly updated content, images and
This flyer examines the global abortion situation within the
eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) framework and reveals how the
elimination of unsafe abortion can help achieve the MDGs while promoting
social and economic justice, human rights and public health. The
publication is available in English and Spanish and you can access it at:
women’s access to safe abortion: Essential strategies for achieving the
Millennium Development Goals. By Hessini, Leila. January 2005.
ICPD commitments for abortion care in
The unfinished agenda. Relying on results from an
extensive survey of key stakeholders in Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua
and Uruguay, this report concludes that political, economic and social
forces-especially conservative religious forces-in Latin America have
significantly impeded the implementation of the holistic reproductive and
health rights recommendations that were made at the International
Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo ten years ago.