Our new Geneva office is making reproductive rights a reality at the UN and worldwide.
The Center for Reproductive Rights works with the UN and civil society organizations at the forefront of key global advances in women’s reproductive autonomy. On November 13, 2014, we opened our newest office, in Geneva.
To celebrate, we held an event featuring Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA General Secretary and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for Ending Child Marriage, and Center President and CEO Nancy Northup. The following is an excerpt from Northup’s remarks.
The world contains a welcome diversity of language, landscape, culture and religion. But for women, wherever they live in this rich diversity, some biological facts remain constant.
One such fact is that every single woman faces life-threatening complications with every pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, 800 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications every day.
The probability that a woman will eventually die from a maternal cause varies dramatically across the globe. From as low as 1 woman in 15,000 in some countries, to as high as 1 in 15 in others.
The centrality of a woman’s reproductive capacity to her very life and life’s path is why we at the Center for Reproductive Rights work on issues ranging from access to contraception, essential obstetric care, and safe abortion, as well as preventing abuses such as child marriage and forced sterilization.
Around the globe, we work alongside local NGOs to document abuses, promote legislative and policy reform, publish legal resources, and litigate cases in national courts, as well as regional and international human rights bodies.
We have seen significant progress since 1990. Progress that all of us—NGOs, supportive governments, and UN agencies—have achieved together.
There has been a 45 percent decline in maternal deaths worldwide since 1990. In that time, 35 countries have amended their laws to expand access to safe and legal abortion, and in so doing saved women’s lives.
The UN has ensured that violations of reproductive rights–such as criminalization of abortion, discrimination and coercion in the health care settings, and lack of access to reproductive information and services–have been recognized as violations of fundamental human rights.
We are pleased to have played a part in those advancements.
But there is so much more to do.
And that is why we are here: to expand our reach at the United Nations—from UN missions to civil society organizations—and amplify the voices of women seeking reproductive health care worldwide, and to secure their rights in law.
We are excited to be here, and look forward to continuing and deepening our work here in Geneva at the UN.