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UN agencies warn of consequences of restrictions on reproductive rights
June 27,2022   By:Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, June 27, 2022 -- UN Women and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on Friday warned of the consequences of restrictions on reproductive rights, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion earlier in the day.
 
UN Women, the world body's agency for gender equality and the empowerment of women, said in a statement that reproductive rights are women's rights and human rights.
 
"Reproductive rights are integral to women's rights, a fact that is upheld by international agreements and reflected in law in different parts of the world. To be able to exercise their human rights and make essential decisions, women need to be able to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to information, education and services," says the statement.
 
The ability of women to control what happens to their own bodies is also associated with the roles women are able to play in society, whether as a member of the family, the workforce, or government, it says.
 
"UN Women remains steadfast in our determination to ensure that the rights of women and girls are fully observed and enjoyed worldwide, and we look forward to continued evidence-based engagement with our partners everywhere in support of rapid progress towards universal enjoyment of universal rights," says the statement.
 
UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, warned of the global implications of new restrictions on access to abortion.
 
Whether abortion is legal or not, it happens all too often. Data show that restricting access to abortion does not prevent people from seeking abortion, it simply makes it more deadly, says the UNFPA statement.
 
As UNFPA's 2022 State of World Population report reveals, nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended, and over 60 percent of these unintended pregnancies may end in abortion. A staggering 45 percent of all abortions around the world are unsafe, making this a leading cause of maternal death, says the statement.
 
Almost all unsafe abortions currently occur in developing countries. UNFPA fears that more unsafe abortions will occur around the world if access to abortion becomes more restricted. Decisions reversing progress gained have a wider impact on the rights and choices of women and adolescents everywhere, it says.
 
The 1994 program of action of the International Conference on Population and Development, signed by 179 countries, including the United States, recognized how deadly unsafe abortions are and urged all countries to provide post-abortion care to save lives, irrespective of the legal status of abortion. The UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the goal related to maternal health, to which all UN member states have committed, are at risk of not being met if unsafe abortions continue, says the statement.
 
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in the nation nearly 50 years ago. 
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