UN Says Reproductive Health Is Condition For Equality Amid Global Women’s Rights Pushback


United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres believes reproductive health and rights are essential to achieve equality for women and girls around the world, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

The world agency had no official comment on the leak of a Supreme Court draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, which showed the court is preparing to strike down two rulings on abortion rights, including the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Farhan Haq, a deputy spokesperson for Guterres, said during a briefing.

“I don’t want to speculate what will happen at this point,” Haq told reporters.

Still, Haq reiterated Guterres’ long-held view that women and girls should have access to essential health services amid a “global pushback” on women’s rights.

“The secretary‑general has long believed that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation for lives of choice, empowerment and equality for the world’s women and girls,” Haq said. “And without the full participation of 50% of its population, the world would be the biggest loser.”

For now, minority women in the U.S. appear to be the ones that will mostly be impacted if the Supreme Court goes ahead with overturning Roe, according to statistics reviewed by The Associated Press.

Nationwide protests erupted on Tuesday in response to the leaked opinion.

Demonstrators holding signs protest outside of the U.S. Courthouse in response to leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, in Los Angeles, on March 3, 2022.

Ringo H.W. Chiu via Associated Press

“We’re showing up for abortion rights, saying bans off our bodies, and demanding that elected officials take action before the Court gets the chance to overturn abortion,” the Women’s March said in a statement.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she was angry, but determined to fight for Roe.

“The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades,” she said. “They have been out there plotting, carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so they could have a majority on the bench who would accomplish something that the majority of Americans do not want.”

Meanwhile, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a law Tuesday restricting abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, which is estimated to be around six weeks of pregnancy.

Oklahoma is one of 22 states where abortion could be made illegal as soon as the Supreme Court makes it possible.

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