CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights 

No 9(31) 2005


table of contents:




BURNING ISSUE - Catholic World Youth Day


Catholic World Youth Day: International Youth Coalition.  The coalition was created by a group of young representatives of the organization from across the world including Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Dania, Netherlands, Ireland, German, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, United States and Caribbean. The main goal of this well organized and trained group was to rise public awareness about the devastating effect of the bishops’ ban on condoms. Twenty eight progressive young activist asked the new Pope - Benedict XVI to build culture of life through prevention, education and care for those at risk of HIV/AIDS at 20th Catholic World Youth Day.

The most important event during the campaign were:

  • Billboard action – all pilgrims had an opportunity to see the giant Condoms4Life billboards and posters, which were displayed in many Cologne subway station and other mass transport places. The main slogan was: Good Catholics Use Condoms”.
  • The day before Catholic World Youth Day, the International Youth Coalition has organized press conference. During this event, WY4ALL representatives –activist working on sexual and reproductive health and rights issue, had advocated for the Vatican authorities to lift the ban on condoms and promote a compassionate and the only position of HIVAIDS prevention.
  • Street actions – they were the most important element of the WYD4ALL campaign. Every day the young women and men wearing red T-shirts “Condoms save lives” walked through Cologne streets and distributed stickers, postcards in German, Spanish, and English with statements: Condoms prevent HIV/AIDS” and “Good Catholics Use Condoms”. Pilgrims not affiliated with the group sometimes joined in this activity. The progressive activists took up any opportunity to talk with young Catholics from all over the world, to hear their opinion about WYD4ALL action, church statement and their individual stories connected with SRHR issues.

The most important achievement of the campaign was that the international media kept the issue of HIV/AIDS prevention and the dangerous ban on condoms central to its coverage of Catholic World Youth Day. 

The World Youth Day 4 All unites Church-Youth (www.youth.we-are-church.org), YouACT (www.youACT.org), Catholics for a Free Choice (www.catholicsforchoice.org), CDD Bolivia, Homosexuals and Church (www.huk.org).

The Condoms4Life Campaign is a project of Catholics for a Free Choice.

More information: www.wyd4all.org, www.wyd4all.blogspot.org
The Condoms4Life ad and informational brochure you can find at: www.condoms4life.org

Source: Urszula Skowronska (Polish representative of the WYD4ALL campaign)






South Eastern Europe: Trafficking. Human trafficking’s new approach is prevention. The anti-trafficking strategies need to focus on prevention through empowerment if they are to be successful shows new report by Barbara Limanowska, consultant for the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bosnia Herzegovina. The report argues that ‘prevention activities are still very limited and those that exist are neither co-ordinated nor properly evaluated’. The report analyses current trends and highlights the challenges facing anti-trafficking strategies in South East Europe, concluding with the recommendation that success depends on the adoption of prevention as the new approach to trafficking. Research for this report was carried out in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia), Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and the UN Administered Province of Kosovo between January 2004 and March 2004. Project was a joint initiative of OHCHR, UNICEF and OSCE-ODIHR.

You can download a copy of the full report from: www.seerights.org


Estonians: views on abortion. According to survey made by BNS/Faktum at the beginning of August, 53 per cent of the Estonian respondents accept abortion and think that society should accept decision of women to abort. The most tolerant are women (57 per cent), respondents aged 35-54 (59 per cent) and people with higher education (64 per cent). Only 34 per cent of Estonians with elementary or basic education have tolerant attitude towards abortion. Respondents aged 55-74 also tend to be less tolerant (47 per cent). 72 per cent of single and divorced women accept termination of pregnancy, and just 48 percent of married women hold the same view. The research was based on interviews with 399 people. More information: sise@bns.ee

Source: PUSH Journal


Kyrgyzstan Men are not interested in reproductive health issues. Kyrgyzstan men, mostly living in rural areas, have no interest in reproductive health. They think that RSHR issues are their wive’s responsiblitly. The are a lot of reason for this, including the lack of clinics’ confidentiality and the fear that neighbors will find out their problems; lack of education and awareness, lack of trust towards female medical professionals, who outnumber male medical professionals. According to “Stronger Voices for Reproductive Health” project implemented by the UNFPA just about 57 per cent of men have information abut STDs and prostate problems. If they need information or advice, they mostly go to the veterinarian to get it.

Source: PUSH Journal 

Russia: the luck of providing of antiretroviral drugs. The Moskow Times (16.08.2005) informed that because of the high prices of HIV medications they not given to all HIV positive patients. Only 2,000 are receiving antiretroviral drugs, while according to WHO research there is 60,000 Russian, who urgently need it. Additionally some patients who where under treatment discontinued receiving medicines and this can led to more expensive and complicated treatment in the future. Although Russia is scheduled to receive grants in September from Global Found to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, some health providers say that those funds will not be sufficient to slow the progress of HIV/AIDS epidemic.
More: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2005/08/16/002.html 

Russia: more abortion than births. Due to economic hardships Russians often choose termination of pregnancy (often performed in unsanitary conditions) to avoid costs of raising children. Consequently abortion rates in Russia are higher than birth rates. The number of abortion last year was about 1.6 million, and 20 per cent of women who make this choice were under 18 years old. Increase in poverty, lack of employment opportunities, the insufficient health care system contributes to this phenomenon. Additionally, it also leads to high infant mortality rate, which in Russia is three to four times higher than in Finland, France, Spain, Sweden.

More: http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/08/23/abortionproblems.shtml






Safe motherhood and attaining Millennium Development Goals. According to the UNDP report, to achieve MDGs by 2015, the Maternal Mortality Rate should be fixed at 143 per 100,000. To reach this goal there is a need of fundamental change in the behavior, attitudes and knowledge of mothers. The gender equality is extreamly important in this process, too. Violence against women causes the 14 % of the maternal death; 12-15 thousands of women are dying cause of the complication connected with pregnancy and giving birth.

More: http://financialexpress-bd.com/index3.asp?cnd=8/14/2005&section_id=3&newsid=10386&spcl=no%20






Abortion in Ireland. Three women supported by Irish Family Planning Association have started debate about legal ban on abortion in Ireland. Their applications were lodged to the European Court of Human Rights. All of the women had to travel to England to terminate their pregnancy as abortion is illegal in Ireland under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act and under Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution (the Eighth Amendment in 1983). Ireland have the most restrictive ban on abortion in Europe: abortion is permitted only where necessary to save women’s life. At the same time the right to information about abortion services has been guaranteed by the referendums.. As the result women who want to terminate their pregnancy can easily get information about abortion clinics in neighbors countries. IFPA estimates that 6,000 Irish women travel to the UK to have abortion. The elements of the applications include: the ban on abortion has jeopardized the health and well-being of the applicants; the need to travel abroad for an abortion had adverse effects on each of them (both emotional and financial); the criminalization of abortion harms women by stigmatizing them and increasing feelings of guilt, and can result in difficulty in accessing necessary follow-up care.

More info: http://www.ifpa.ie/news/index.php?mr=111; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4140992.stm


Safe motherhood, poverty reduction and promotion of economic development. According to the study by the World Bank, the total cost of saving pregnant women’s lives or infant, delivery and postnatal care is only 230$. It is possible to prevent 75 per cent of pre-natal deaths, more than 50 per cent of infant deaths and 99 per cent of maternal deaths just by provision of better maternal health, nutrition and postnatal care. 99 per cent of death and disability among women 15-49 years old occur in developing countries, i.e. in Bangladesh 16.000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth per year. The study states that the majority of maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to quality family planning services, abortion and post abortion care services and used skilled care during pregnancy, childbirth and during the first month after delivery.

Source: Worldbytes


US funds, anti-AIDS policy and prostitution. American policy connected with the fighting AIDS abroad lead to resistance of DTK International, organization providing developing world with condoms and other family-planning goods. USAID was trying to demand DTK International it to sing an ‘anti-prostitution pledge’ in order to receive funds. The DKT is finding this restriction as violation of its constitutional right to free speech and harmful to the global fight against AIDS. The controversial legislation says that governments fund may not be spent on activities promoting or advocating issues connected with prostitution and sex trafficking or the organization does not have an explicit policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. This is not the first time that American foreign-development aid encounter criticisms and protests. Another controversial piece of legislation was called by its critics: Global Gag Rule, which says that government money can not be given to NGOs, which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.

Source: ISRRC








Public Hearing on abortion in the European Parliament. On 18th of October, women from Europe will testify in the European parliament about the injustice of not being able to access safe abortion in several member states. The hearing will focus on why access to abortion is an important issue for the EU. What impact it has on women and their possibilities in life. The EU has a mandate to address and protect women’s equality, and non-discrimination. Why should women's reproductive health be excluded from this agenda of the European Union? Examples from Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Lithuania, Malta and Ireland will show that women are being discriminated against on this matter throughout the EU. Organizers will welcome any NGO that wants to get involved in the process. For details contact Ylva Bergman: ylva.bergman@rfsu.se


"Engendering Bioethics: Stigmatized Bodies, Citizenship and Choice". AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality is organizing the first of three symposia in the thematic research priority on Law, Health Care and Bioethics. Questions addressed include: How are new technologies (e.g. genetics, assisted reproduction, viagra) reconstituting the sex/gender relationship? What does textual analysis of legal doctrine in the health context have to tell us about social changes in the regulation of gender and sexuality? How are new forms of governance responding to gender/sexuality issues in health ethics? You can send in your registration forms before Friday 28 October to qualify for the discounted registration fees. Further information available on: http://www.kent.ac.uk/clgs/events/bioethics.htm







World Summit: UNIFEM website.
http://www.unifem.org/news_events/currents/currents200507.html http://www.unifem.org/news_events/currents/currents200506.html#feature3

You will find there links to key documents, NGO information, and help everyone get a sense of what has been happening in the lead-up to the Summit.

Visit the UNIFEM website http://www.unifem.org – you will find there a web corner dedicated to the Summit.


Report of the United Nation Secretary General. Follow-up to celebration of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond. It includes Kofi Annan’s suggestions and recommendations encouraging governments and UN agencies to continue family-centered police http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N05/438/24/PDF/N0543824.pdf?OpenElement.


Learning to Speak MDGs.

The bookled Learning to Speak MDGs  provides a background of the origins of the MDGs, what they mean and where they came from; it analyzes the link between sexual and reproductive health and rights and development; and reviews the current level of youth participation within strategies to achieve the MDGs. Finally, this publication outlines the recommendations of the international youth forum on the goals of Education, Gender Equality, Maternal Health and HIV/AIDS

Source: Friday Facts







IPAS publications:

Woman-centered abortion care: Reference manual. By Alyson G. Hyman and Laura Castleman. English.

This manual is designed to be used by participants during individualized and group-based courses and also as a reference manual to help participants refresh and strengthen their skills. Composed of 13 modules, it brings a new perspective to abortion-care training and service delivery. Features include: a woman’s rights approach to abortion care; unique considerations for special populations, including adolescents and survivors of sexual violence; guidance for use of both manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and medical abortion technologies; and recommendations for monitoring services and making linkages to communities.

This publication is not available online.


Sparking dialogue: Initiating community conversation on safe abortion and Behavior change communication: Increasing access to safe abortion in Nepal. Ipas and PATH.  English.
Community values, attitudes and behaviors regarding abortion often drive women to seek clandestine, unsafe abortions. Sparking dialogue: Initiating community conversation on safe abortion is a step-by-step guide, coauthored by Ipas and PATH, for developing behavior change communication (BCC) strategies that can help increase women's access to safe services and thus save women's lives. BCC activities help to bring about personal and interpersonal changes, empowering people to absorb new ideas that lead to new behaviors. Sparking dialogue is accompanied by a two-page flyer from PATH, Behavior change communication: Increasing access to safe abortion in Nepal, which describes the development of a BCC strategy to increase awareness and the use of safe abortion services after the abortion law was liberalized in Nepal. Both documents are also available on a CD-ROM that includes a PowerPoint® presentation and talking points on the basic steps of developing BCC strategies.



The World's Abortion Laws 2005. An easy-to-use wall chart produced by The Center for Reproductive Rights has produced, can be ordered online at http://bookstore.reproductiverights.org/worablaw20.html for about $8 in US funds. It is available in English and Spanish. It shows a map of the world with countries colour-coded according to the severity or liberality of their abortion laws. If you are looking at the map online, Orange means abortion is only allowed to preserve a mother's life; Red includes preservation of physical health; Purple includes mental health; Blue includes socio-economic grounds; and Green is "without restriction as to reason". Country-specific details are coded within each category at the bottom of the chart.