Working Towards Reproductive Rights in Nicaragua

In 2006, Nicaragua criminalized all abortions including pregnancies resulting from rape/incest or even when the woman’s life is in danger.  It is one of only three countries in the western hemisphere to have such a strict ban on abortion, the other two are Chile and El Salvador.

This ban in Nicaragua is disappointing on a number of levels. Besides the obvious obstruction of human rights, it is enacted by a political party originally supported by feminists and secular leaders. In fact, the Sandista’s party planned to encourage comprehensive sex education in order to combat unplanned pregnancies from a prevention standpoint. Unfortunately, the church’s influence can be seen in the official education policy that emphasizes abstinence and morality rather than birth control and self-respect.

Currently, President Daniel Ortega returned to power after seeking out support from the Catholic Church. Promptly after his election win he threw his weight behind the ban on therapeutic abortions leading to its passage. [Read more...]

Time to Implement the AU’s Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa

The heads of state of the African Union met in Libya for the 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. Agriculture and its relation to economic growth and security was at center stage for the conference. Prior to the conference, a group of women’s rights advocates met to discuss the status of women in Africa.

Tumuslime discussed aspects of the history of women’s status in Africa and stressed the necessity of the AU to effectively address these issues, especially regarding agricultural production and food security. In many African countries women are responsible for the production of 80 percent or more of the food supply, yet women’s decision-making authority falls far short of their overall economic contribution to society.
“The women have always been there and they starve in order to feed their husbands. They starve in order to feed their children, and they starve in order to look after the sick, to look out for the HIV people in the hospitals. Without women, I don’t think, we would be anywhere,” Tumuslime stated in her address. (VOA, June 18)

[Read more...]