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Camilo Jimenez

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Latest press releases

Latest press releases

A selection of stories from across the Federation

france

France

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France takes major step towards constitutional protection of abortion rights

The International Planned Parenthood Federation congratulates France on its historic vote to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution.

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Sweden flag
media center

| 17 April 2024

Sweden’s new legal gender recognition law is a vital step in the right direction

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote by the Swedish Parliament of a new law on legal gender recognition. This replaces a law initially dating from 1972 which, whilst very progressive 50 years ago, was no longer fit for purpose.  The bill adopted today, despite its limitations, contains important measures that will remove some of the obstacles that trans people currently face when they want to change a gender marker in their legal documents to reflect their gender identity. It is positive that the reform will simplify the administrative process and separate it from the process for accessing gender-affirming care. IPPF EN celebrates the adoption of the new law, and pays tribute to the commitment and determination of the trans movement and its allies in securing today’s result. Ulrika Westerlund, Member of Parliament in the Green Party and longstanding champion of trans rights in Sweden, said: “Despite the polarisation and the at times very aggressive and unbalanced debate, the parliament has demonstrated unity between six parties who stand behind this review of the Swedish Legal Gender Recognition law. Today’s vote will not give trans people self-determination of change of legal gender, but the process will be simplified, available to 16-year-olds and not require a diagnosis. We welcome this and look forward to continuing working for additional improvements further on.” “This is a significant step for trans people’s rights in Sweden. But the new legislation remains out of step with that of its Nordic neighbours and the recently-passed German gender recognition law,  fully based on self-determination, which is the gold standard. The fight goes on,” said Micah Grzywnowicz, Regional Director of IPPF EN.   Photo by Ozan Öztaskiran on Unsplash

Sweden flag
media_center

| 17 April 2024

Sweden’s new legal gender recognition law is a vital step in the right direction

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote by the Swedish Parliament of a new law on legal gender recognition. This replaces a law initially dating from 1972 which, whilst very progressive 50 years ago, was no longer fit for purpose.  The bill adopted today, despite its limitations, contains important measures that will remove some of the obstacles that trans people currently face when they want to change a gender marker in their legal documents to reflect their gender identity. It is positive that the reform will simplify the administrative process and separate it from the process for accessing gender-affirming care. IPPF EN celebrates the adoption of the new law, and pays tribute to the commitment and determination of the trans movement and its allies in securing today’s result. Ulrika Westerlund, Member of Parliament in the Green Party and longstanding champion of trans rights in Sweden, said: “Despite the polarisation and the at times very aggressive and unbalanced debate, the parliament has demonstrated unity between six parties who stand behind this review of the Swedish Legal Gender Recognition law. Today’s vote will not give trans people self-determination of change of legal gender, but the process will be simplified, available to 16-year-olds and not require a diagnosis. We welcome this and look forward to continuing working for additional improvements further on.” “This is a significant step for trans people’s rights in Sweden. But the new legislation remains out of step with that of its Nordic neighbours and the recently-passed German gender recognition law,  fully based on self-determination, which is the gold standard. The fight goes on,” said Micah Grzywnowicz, Regional Director of IPPF EN.   Photo by Ozan Öztaskiran on Unsplash

france
media center

| 28 February 2024

France takes major step towards constitutional protection of abortion rights

The International Planned Parenthood Federation congratulates France on its historic vote to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution. We are especially proud of the tremendous work and leadership of our French Member Association, Le Planning Familial.  We are now awaiting the final adoption of this constitutional reform by the French Congress, a step that must formally be instigated by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

france
media_center

| 28 February 2024

France takes major step towards constitutional protection of abortion rights

The International Planned Parenthood Federation congratulates France on its historic vote to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution. We are especially proud of the tremendous work and leadership of our French Member Association, Le Planning Familial.  We are now awaiting the final adoption of this constitutional reform by the French Congress, a step that must formally be instigated by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Safe from Harm
media center

| 07 February 2024

EU fails to criminalise rape but strengthens prevention measures and support services for survivors

Yesterday, the European Parliament and Member States reached a hard-won agreement on the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. IPPF EN welcomes this first ever binding EU legislation on combating violence against women. But we regret that, while the Directive contains positive measures, the final text is incomplete and represents a serious missed opportunity to ensure protection from all forms of gender-based violence for all people.  It is outrageous and deeply disappointing that lack of political will from national governments, notably France and Germany, has resulted in a final text that does not tackle the scourge of sexual violence, in spite of bold efforts from the European Commission and Parliament. 

Safe from Harm
media_center

| 07 February 2024

EU fails to criminalise rape but strengthens prevention measures and support services for survivors

Yesterday, the European Parliament and Member States reached a hard-won agreement on the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. IPPF EN welcomes this first ever binding EU legislation on combating violence against women. But we regret that, while the Directive contains positive measures, the final text is incomplete and represents a serious missed opportunity to ensure protection from all forms of gender-based violence for all people.  It is outrageous and deeply disappointing that lack of political will from national governments, notably France and Germany, has resulted in a final text that does not tackle the scourge of sexual violence, in spite of bold efforts from the European Commission and Parliament. 

Romanian flag
media center

| 31 August 2023

Romania: IPPF EN is appalled by the failures of the Romanian healthcare system

IPPF EN is deeply worried by recent reports of denial of healthcare in Romania that speak to a shocking wider systemic problem. Last week, the case of Alexandra, a 25-year-old mother of three, who was denied emergency obstetric care in a hospital for seven hours, has ignited protests in Romania and heavy media coverage. The cause of death was an obstetric emergency which led to sepsis, acute cardio-respiratory insufficiency and acute pulmonary edema. Alexandra endured terrible pain for hours and asked for help from those whose duty was to save her, but her pleas went unanswered. The case is being investigated by the police. Alexandra's case is one of many pointing to a crumbling healthcare system that is harming all Romanian citizens. The country’s healthcare system is rated 34 out of 35 by the Euro Health Consumer Index. Things are especially dire for groups of people who are already made vulnerable by the system, such as women, Roma people and those living in poverty. Institutionalised stigma and discrimination run deep, with patients reporting being denied care or not being given quality care due to the colour of their skin or their ability to pay. The system is broken for everyone, but it is groups already facing challenging circumstances who bear the brunt. “From 2018 until 2021, there was an 183% increase in the maternal mortality rate. It’s unconceivable for an EU Member State to have such a high maternal and infant mortality rate. And it’s devastating that so many women have lost their lives, leaving their families behind. And while women’s health paints a grim picture, the problem is more widespread touching on all areas of health. Romania is among the countries that spends the least on healthcare as a share of GDP.” said Gabriel Brumariu from SECS, IPPF’s Romanian Member Association.

Romanian flag
media_center

| 31 August 2023

Romania: IPPF EN is appalled by the failures of the Romanian healthcare system

IPPF EN is deeply worried by recent reports of denial of healthcare in Romania that speak to a shocking wider systemic problem. Last week, the case of Alexandra, a 25-year-old mother of three, who was denied emergency obstetric care in a hospital for seven hours, has ignited protests in Romania and heavy media coverage. The cause of death was an obstetric emergency which led to sepsis, acute cardio-respiratory insufficiency and acute pulmonary edema. Alexandra endured terrible pain for hours and asked for help from those whose duty was to save her, but her pleas went unanswered. The case is being investigated by the police. Alexandra's case is one of many pointing to a crumbling healthcare system that is harming all Romanian citizens. The country’s healthcare system is rated 34 out of 35 by the Euro Health Consumer Index. Things are especially dire for groups of people who are already made vulnerable by the system, such as women, Roma people and those living in poverty. Institutionalised stigma and discrimination run deep, with patients reporting being denied care or not being given quality care due to the colour of their skin or their ability to pay. The system is broken for everyone, but it is groups already facing challenging circumstances who bear the brunt. “From 2018 until 2021, there was an 183% increase in the maternal mortality rate. It’s unconceivable for an EU Member State to have such a high maternal and infant mortality rate. And it’s devastating that so many women have lost their lives, leaving their families behind. And while women’s health paints a grim picture, the problem is more widespread touching on all areas of health. Romania is among the countries that spends the least on healthcare as a share of GDP.” said Gabriel Brumariu from SECS, IPPF’s Romanian Member Association.

Abortion is Healthcare illustration
media center

| 30 June 2023

Sickening new Maltese law is step backwards that will kill women

On 28 June, Malta’s Parliament adopted a new law, known as Bill 28, intended originally to increase protection for women by allowing abortion care in exceptional cases. However, the final version of the law specifies that abortion is only allowed when a woman is at risk of dying and denies life-saving care to a person experiencing an obstetric emergency unless she is in a licenced hospital and has the consent of a panel of three specialists. This is a devastating step backwards in the only European Union country to have a total ban on abortion in all circumstances. “The new law introduces dangerous and insurmountable obstacles to saving women’s lives, given that obstetric emergencies are very fast-moving situations in which you can die without rapid medical intervention – as we have seen in Poland, Ireland and Italy when access to abortion care was withheld until it was too late,” said IPPF EN’s Irene Donadio. The adoption of Bill 28 is all the more shocking given that the government’s objective when it announced the reform in 2022 was to ensure a bare minimum of access to abortion care in cases where a woman’s life or health was at severe risk*. Pro-choice doctors and activists in Malta had supported a bill that aimed to lessen just slightly the longstanding stranglehold of the law on pregnant women**. Instead, as a result of ultraconservative anti-choice opposition to women’s reproductive freedom and safety, the protections of the initial proposal were subsequently watered down to the point that on 23 June, prochoice doctors associations and groups for women rights withdrew their support for the bill. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights echoed their concerns on 26 June, calling for the Maltese parliament to pause and reflect to avoid steps backwards. But calls to change course were not heard. “This backtracking, and the subsequent adoption this week of a bill that not only fails to protect, but actively exacerbates the existing harm done to women by Malta’s medieval abortion legislation, is a humiliating miscalculation by the ruling party. The government has handed victory to Malta’s reproductive bullies on a plate,” continued Donadio. “The terrifying result of the government’s botched political move is that women can die under their watch. People will be deterred from visiting Malta, seeing that its leaders have doubled down on denying emergency medical care to anyone suffering an obstetric emergency. The only people to gain new protections are certain doctors who are afraid to shoulder responsibility for the lives of their patients. If the government wants to make the situation less desperate, it must decriminalise abortion so that at least women can take their health and lives into their own hands, with the support of brave pro-choice doctors and networks, and without the fear of prosecution,” she added.     --- *In 2022, facing scrutiny due to the high-profile emergency evacuation from Malta of Andrea Prudente, an American tourist undergoing a life-threatening miscarriage, the government proposed to amend the law to introduce a minimum of protection for women. **The original draft bill proposed to legalise abortion in cases where a woman’s health was at grave risk. --- For more information, contact: [email protected] [email protected] Additional background and latest information via Doctors for Choice and Voice for Choice.  

Abortion is Healthcare illustration
media_center

| 30 June 2023

Sickening new Maltese law is step backwards that will kill women

On 28 June, Malta’s Parliament adopted a new law, known as Bill 28, intended originally to increase protection for women by allowing abortion care in exceptional cases. However, the final version of the law specifies that abortion is only allowed when a woman is at risk of dying and denies life-saving care to a person experiencing an obstetric emergency unless she is in a licenced hospital and has the consent of a panel of three specialists. This is a devastating step backwards in the only European Union country to have a total ban on abortion in all circumstances. “The new law introduces dangerous and insurmountable obstacles to saving women’s lives, given that obstetric emergencies are very fast-moving situations in which you can die without rapid medical intervention – as we have seen in Poland, Ireland and Italy when access to abortion care was withheld until it was too late,” said IPPF EN’s Irene Donadio. The adoption of Bill 28 is all the more shocking given that the government’s objective when it announced the reform in 2022 was to ensure a bare minimum of access to abortion care in cases where a woman’s life or health was at severe risk*. Pro-choice doctors and activists in Malta had supported a bill that aimed to lessen just slightly the longstanding stranglehold of the law on pregnant women**. Instead, as a result of ultraconservative anti-choice opposition to women’s reproductive freedom and safety, the protections of the initial proposal were subsequently watered down to the point that on 23 June, prochoice doctors associations and groups for women rights withdrew their support for the bill. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights echoed their concerns on 26 June, calling for the Maltese parliament to pause and reflect to avoid steps backwards. But calls to change course were not heard. “This backtracking, and the subsequent adoption this week of a bill that not only fails to protect, but actively exacerbates the existing harm done to women by Malta’s medieval abortion legislation, is a humiliating miscalculation by the ruling party. The government has handed victory to Malta’s reproductive bullies on a plate,” continued Donadio. “The terrifying result of the government’s botched political move is that women can die under their watch. People will be deterred from visiting Malta, seeing that its leaders have doubled down on denying emergency medical care to anyone suffering an obstetric emergency. The only people to gain new protections are certain doctors who are afraid to shoulder responsibility for the lives of their patients. If the government wants to make the situation less desperate, it must decriminalise abortion so that at least women can take their health and lives into their own hands, with the support of brave pro-choice doctors and networks, and without the fear of prosecution,” she added.     --- *In 2022, facing scrutiny due to the high-profile emergency evacuation from Malta of Andrea Prudente, an American tourist undergoing a life-threatening miscarriage, the government proposed to amend the law to introduce a minimum of protection for women. **The original draft bill proposed to legalise abortion in cases where a woman’s health was at grave risk. --- For more information, contact: [email protected] [email protected] Additional background and latest information via Doctors for Choice and Voice for Choice.  

Image activism on gender-based violence
media center

| 28 June 2023

European Parliament Committees support and strengthen EU bill on gender-based violence

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote on the draft EU Directive to combat Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence by the European Parliament's Committees for Women's Rights and Gender Equality and Justice. MEPs overwhelmingly backed the Commission’s ambitious original proposal by 71 votes to 5 with 7 abstentions. Their move ensures this vital law will go even further in protecting the rights and safety of women, girls and people affected to live free from gender-based violence. Crucially, MEPs have supported the European Commission's proposal to ensure EU-wide criminalisation of rape with a definition based on the absence of consent.* "This is a strong signal that the Parliament, as a representative of EU citizens, wants a consent-based definition of rape to be the standard throughout Europe. This is in line with the language of the Istanbul Convention, which is now 15 years old, but was only recently ratified by the EU after years of stalemate," said Camille Butin for IPPF EN. "Now we strongly urge the EU institutions to adopt ambitious and robust final wording that truly centres the objective of the Directive, which is to help combat violence against women and uphold gender equality in Europe. In particular, we call on Member States to find the political will to take effective action against rape, after they failed to back a consent-based definition in their recent preliminary position," added Butin. IPPF EN welcomes MEPs' backing today of the following vital amendments to the original draft Directive: Addition of criminalisation of sexual assault, genital mutilation of intersex people and forced sterilisation. MEPs also backed the criminalisation of female genital mutilation and various forms of online violence. Inclusion of full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, in support services for victims of sexual violence. Robust wording on including comprehensive sexuality and relationship education in gender-based violence prevention measures. This requires EU countries to increase awareness of the concept of consent, promote gender equality and challenge harmful gender stereotypes, particularly working with men and boys. Clear focus on intersectionality in wording on discrimination faced by victims of gender-based violence, including LGBTIQ people. IPPF EN regrets MEPs’ decision to replace the wording ‘women sex workers’ with ‘women in prostitution’ as sex workers themselves perceive this term as demeaning and linked with criminality. IPPF EN stands with sex workers, and rejects stigmatisation that has devastating consequences for them. The next step in this legislative process will be for the European Parliament and Council to negotiate on the basis of their preliminary positions in order to reach agreement on the final text of the Directive.  Media contact : Camille Butin, Advocacy Advisor, [email protected] --- *14 EU Member States still have laws with outdated definitions of rape based on use of force or the threat of force by the perpetrator, as opposed to absence of consent by the victim. These laws fail to meet international human rights standards, including the 2008 Istanbul Convention, to which the EU recently acceded. They ignore the realities that many survivors face in the context of rape, overlook the fact that a person can rape without using physical force or violence, and enable significant impunity for perpetrators.

Image activism on gender-based violence
media_center

| 28 June 2023

European Parliament Committees support and strengthen EU bill on gender-based violence

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote on the draft EU Directive to combat Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence by the European Parliament's Committees for Women's Rights and Gender Equality and Justice. MEPs overwhelmingly backed the Commission’s ambitious original proposal by 71 votes to 5 with 7 abstentions. Their move ensures this vital law will go even further in protecting the rights and safety of women, girls and people affected to live free from gender-based violence. Crucially, MEPs have supported the European Commission's proposal to ensure EU-wide criminalisation of rape with a definition based on the absence of consent.* "This is a strong signal that the Parliament, as a representative of EU citizens, wants a consent-based definition of rape to be the standard throughout Europe. This is in line with the language of the Istanbul Convention, which is now 15 years old, but was only recently ratified by the EU after years of stalemate," said Camille Butin for IPPF EN. "Now we strongly urge the EU institutions to adopt ambitious and robust final wording that truly centres the objective of the Directive, which is to help combat violence against women and uphold gender equality in Europe. In particular, we call on Member States to find the political will to take effective action against rape, after they failed to back a consent-based definition in their recent preliminary position," added Butin. IPPF EN welcomes MEPs' backing today of the following vital amendments to the original draft Directive: Addition of criminalisation of sexual assault, genital mutilation of intersex people and forced sterilisation. MEPs also backed the criminalisation of female genital mutilation and various forms of online violence. Inclusion of full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, in support services for victims of sexual violence. Robust wording on including comprehensive sexuality and relationship education in gender-based violence prevention measures. This requires EU countries to increase awareness of the concept of consent, promote gender equality and challenge harmful gender stereotypes, particularly working with men and boys. Clear focus on intersectionality in wording on discrimination faced by victims of gender-based violence, including LGBTIQ people. IPPF EN regrets MEPs’ decision to replace the wording ‘women sex workers’ with ‘women in prostitution’ as sex workers themselves perceive this term as demeaning and linked with criminality. IPPF EN stands with sex workers, and rejects stigmatisation that has devastating consequences for them. The next step in this legislative process will be for the European Parliament and Council to negotiate on the basis of their preliminary positions in order to reach agreement on the final text of the Directive.  Media contact : Camille Butin, Advocacy Advisor, [email protected] --- *14 EU Member States still have laws with outdated definitions of rape based on use of force or the threat of force by the perpetrator, as opposed to absence of consent by the victim. These laws fail to meet international human rights standards, including the 2008 Istanbul Convention, to which the EU recently acceded. They ignore the realities that many survivors face in the context of rape, overlook the fact that a person can rape without using physical force or violence, and enable significant impunity for perpetrators.

Sweden flag
media center

| 17 April 2024

Sweden’s new legal gender recognition law is a vital step in the right direction

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote by the Swedish Parliament of a new law on legal gender recognition. This replaces a law initially dating from 1972 which, whilst very progressive 50 years ago, was no longer fit for purpose.  The bill adopted today, despite its limitations, contains important measures that will remove some of the obstacles that trans people currently face when they want to change a gender marker in their legal documents to reflect their gender identity. It is positive that the reform will simplify the administrative process and separate it from the process for accessing gender-affirming care. IPPF EN celebrates the adoption of the new law, and pays tribute to the commitment and determination of the trans movement and its allies in securing today’s result. Ulrika Westerlund, Member of Parliament in the Green Party and longstanding champion of trans rights in Sweden, said: “Despite the polarisation and the at times very aggressive and unbalanced debate, the parliament has demonstrated unity between six parties who stand behind this review of the Swedish Legal Gender Recognition law. Today’s vote will not give trans people self-determination of change of legal gender, but the process will be simplified, available to 16-year-olds and not require a diagnosis. We welcome this and look forward to continuing working for additional improvements further on.” “This is a significant step for trans people’s rights in Sweden. But the new legislation remains out of step with that of its Nordic neighbours and the recently-passed German gender recognition law,  fully based on self-determination, which is the gold standard. The fight goes on,” said Micah Grzywnowicz, Regional Director of IPPF EN.   Photo by Ozan Öztaskiran on Unsplash

Sweden flag
media_center

| 17 April 2024

Sweden’s new legal gender recognition law is a vital step in the right direction

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote by the Swedish Parliament of a new law on legal gender recognition. This replaces a law initially dating from 1972 which, whilst very progressive 50 years ago, was no longer fit for purpose.  The bill adopted today, despite its limitations, contains important measures that will remove some of the obstacles that trans people currently face when they want to change a gender marker in their legal documents to reflect their gender identity. It is positive that the reform will simplify the administrative process and separate it from the process for accessing gender-affirming care. IPPF EN celebrates the adoption of the new law, and pays tribute to the commitment and determination of the trans movement and its allies in securing today’s result. Ulrika Westerlund, Member of Parliament in the Green Party and longstanding champion of trans rights in Sweden, said: “Despite the polarisation and the at times very aggressive and unbalanced debate, the parliament has demonstrated unity between six parties who stand behind this review of the Swedish Legal Gender Recognition law. Today’s vote will not give trans people self-determination of change of legal gender, but the process will be simplified, available to 16-year-olds and not require a diagnosis. We welcome this and look forward to continuing working for additional improvements further on.” “This is a significant step for trans people’s rights in Sweden. But the new legislation remains out of step with that of its Nordic neighbours and the recently-passed German gender recognition law,  fully based on self-determination, which is the gold standard. The fight goes on,” said Micah Grzywnowicz, Regional Director of IPPF EN.   Photo by Ozan Öztaskiran on Unsplash

france
media center

| 28 February 2024

France takes major step towards constitutional protection of abortion rights

The International Planned Parenthood Federation congratulates France on its historic vote to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution. We are especially proud of the tremendous work and leadership of our French Member Association, Le Planning Familial.  We are now awaiting the final adoption of this constitutional reform by the French Congress, a step that must formally be instigated by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

france
media_center

| 28 February 2024

France takes major step towards constitutional protection of abortion rights

The International Planned Parenthood Federation congratulates France on its historic vote to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution. We are especially proud of the tremendous work and leadership of our French Member Association, Le Planning Familial.  We are now awaiting the final adoption of this constitutional reform by the French Congress, a step that must formally be instigated by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Safe from Harm
media center

| 07 February 2024

EU fails to criminalise rape but strengthens prevention measures and support services for survivors

Yesterday, the European Parliament and Member States reached a hard-won agreement on the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. IPPF EN welcomes this first ever binding EU legislation on combating violence against women. But we regret that, while the Directive contains positive measures, the final text is incomplete and represents a serious missed opportunity to ensure protection from all forms of gender-based violence for all people.  It is outrageous and deeply disappointing that lack of political will from national governments, notably France and Germany, has resulted in a final text that does not tackle the scourge of sexual violence, in spite of bold efforts from the European Commission and Parliament. 

Safe from Harm
media_center

| 07 February 2024

EU fails to criminalise rape but strengthens prevention measures and support services for survivors

Yesterday, the European Parliament and Member States reached a hard-won agreement on the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. IPPF EN welcomes this first ever binding EU legislation on combating violence against women. But we regret that, while the Directive contains positive measures, the final text is incomplete and represents a serious missed opportunity to ensure protection from all forms of gender-based violence for all people.  It is outrageous and deeply disappointing that lack of political will from national governments, notably France and Germany, has resulted in a final text that does not tackle the scourge of sexual violence, in spite of bold efforts from the European Commission and Parliament. 

Romanian flag
media center

| 31 August 2023

Romania: IPPF EN is appalled by the failures of the Romanian healthcare system

IPPF EN is deeply worried by recent reports of denial of healthcare in Romania that speak to a shocking wider systemic problem. Last week, the case of Alexandra, a 25-year-old mother of three, who was denied emergency obstetric care in a hospital for seven hours, has ignited protests in Romania and heavy media coverage. The cause of death was an obstetric emergency which led to sepsis, acute cardio-respiratory insufficiency and acute pulmonary edema. Alexandra endured terrible pain for hours and asked for help from those whose duty was to save her, but her pleas went unanswered. The case is being investigated by the police. Alexandra's case is one of many pointing to a crumbling healthcare system that is harming all Romanian citizens. The country’s healthcare system is rated 34 out of 35 by the Euro Health Consumer Index. Things are especially dire for groups of people who are already made vulnerable by the system, such as women, Roma people and those living in poverty. Institutionalised stigma and discrimination run deep, with patients reporting being denied care or not being given quality care due to the colour of their skin or their ability to pay. The system is broken for everyone, but it is groups already facing challenging circumstances who bear the brunt. “From 2018 until 2021, there was an 183% increase in the maternal mortality rate. It’s unconceivable for an EU Member State to have such a high maternal and infant mortality rate. And it’s devastating that so many women have lost their lives, leaving their families behind. And while women’s health paints a grim picture, the problem is more widespread touching on all areas of health. Romania is among the countries that spends the least on healthcare as a share of GDP.” said Gabriel Brumariu from SECS, IPPF’s Romanian Member Association.

Romanian flag
media_center

| 31 August 2023

Romania: IPPF EN is appalled by the failures of the Romanian healthcare system

IPPF EN is deeply worried by recent reports of denial of healthcare in Romania that speak to a shocking wider systemic problem. Last week, the case of Alexandra, a 25-year-old mother of three, who was denied emergency obstetric care in a hospital for seven hours, has ignited protests in Romania and heavy media coverage. The cause of death was an obstetric emergency which led to sepsis, acute cardio-respiratory insufficiency and acute pulmonary edema. Alexandra endured terrible pain for hours and asked for help from those whose duty was to save her, but her pleas went unanswered. The case is being investigated by the police. Alexandra's case is one of many pointing to a crumbling healthcare system that is harming all Romanian citizens. The country’s healthcare system is rated 34 out of 35 by the Euro Health Consumer Index. Things are especially dire for groups of people who are already made vulnerable by the system, such as women, Roma people and those living in poverty. Institutionalised stigma and discrimination run deep, with patients reporting being denied care or not being given quality care due to the colour of their skin or their ability to pay. The system is broken for everyone, but it is groups already facing challenging circumstances who bear the brunt. “From 2018 until 2021, there was an 183% increase in the maternal mortality rate. It’s unconceivable for an EU Member State to have such a high maternal and infant mortality rate. And it’s devastating that so many women have lost their lives, leaving their families behind. And while women’s health paints a grim picture, the problem is more widespread touching on all areas of health. Romania is among the countries that spends the least on healthcare as a share of GDP.” said Gabriel Brumariu from SECS, IPPF’s Romanian Member Association.

Abortion is Healthcare illustration
media center

| 30 June 2023

Sickening new Maltese law is step backwards that will kill women

On 28 June, Malta’s Parliament adopted a new law, known as Bill 28, intended originally to increase protection for women by allowing abortion care in exceptional cases. However, the final version of the law specifies that abortion is only allowed when a woman is at risk of dying and denies life-saving care to a person experiencing an obstetric emergency unless she is in a licenced hospital and has the consent of a panel of three specialists. This is a devastating step backwards in the only European Union country to have a total ban on abortion in all circumstances. “The new law introduces dangerous and insurmountable obstacles to saving women’s lives, given that obstetric emergencies are very fast-moving situations in which you can die without rapid medical intervention – as we have seen in Poland, Ireland and Italy when access to abortion care was withheld until it was too late,” said IPPF EN’s Irene Donadio. The adoption of Bill 28 is all the more shocking given that the government’s objective when it announced the reform in 2022 was to ensure a bare minimum of access to abortion care in cases where a woman’s life or health was at severe risk*. Pro-choice doctors and activists in Malta had supported a bill that aimed to lessen just slightly the longstanding stranglehold of the law on pregnant women**. Instead, as a result of ultraconservative anti-choice opposition to women’s reproductive freedom and safety, the protections of the initial proposal were subsequently watered down to the point that on 23 June, prochoice doctors associations and groups for women rights withdrew their support for the bill. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights echoed their concerns on 26 June, calling for the Maltese parliament to pause and reflect to avoid steps backwards. But calls to change course were not heard. “This backtracking, and the subsequent adoption this week of a bill that not only fails to protect, but actively exacerbates the existing harm done to women by Malta’s medieval abortion legislation, is a humiliating miscalculation by the ruling party. The government has handed victory to Malta’s reproductive bullies on a plate,” continued Donadio. “The terrifying result of the government’s botched political move is that women can die under their watch. People will be deterred from visiting Malta, seeing that its leaders have doubled down on denying emergency medical care to anyone suffering an obstetric emergency. The only people to gain new protections are certain doctors who are afraid to shoulder responsibility for the lives of their patients. If the government wants to make the situation less desperate, it must decriminalise abortion so that at least women can take their health and lives into their own hands, with the support of brave pro-choice doctors and networks, and without the fear of prosecution,” she added.     --- *In 2022, facing scrutiny due to the high-profile emergency evacuation from Malta of Andrea Prudente, an American tourist undergoing a life-threatening miscarriage, the government proposed to amend the law to introduce a minimum of protection for women. **The original draft bill proposed to legalise abortion in cases where a woman’s health was at grave risk. --- For more information, contact: [email protected] [email protected] Additional background and latest information via Doctors for Choice and Voice for Choice.  

Abortion is Healthcare illustration
media_center

| 30 June 2023

Sickening new Maltese law is step backwards that will kill women

On 28 June, Malta’s Parliament adopted a new law, known as Bill 28, intended originally to increase protection for women by allowing abortion care in exceptional cases. However, the final version of the law specifies that abortion is only allowed when a woman is at risk of dying and denies life-saving care to a person experiencing an obstetric emergency unless she is in a licenced hospital and has the consent of a panel of three specialists. This is a devastating step backwards in the only European Union country to have a total ban on abortion in all circumstances. “The new law introduces dangerous and insurmountable obstacles to saving women’s lives, given that obstetric emergencies are very fast-moving situations in which you can die without rapid medical intervention – as we have seen in Poland, Ireland and Italy when access to abortion care was withheld until it was too late,” said IPPF EN’s Irene Donadio. The adoption of Bill 28 is all the more shocking given that the government’s objective when it announced the reform in 2022 was to ensure a bare minimum of access to abortion care in cases where a woman’s life or health was at severe risk*. Pro-choice doctors and activists in Malta had supported a bill that aimed to lessen just slightly the longstanding stranglehold of the law on pregnant women**. Instead, as a result of ultraconservative anti-choice opposition to women’s reproductive freedom and safety, the protections of the initial proposal were subsequently watered down to the point that on 23 June, prochoice doctors associations and groups for women rights withdrew their support for the bill. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights echoed their concerns on 26 June, calling for the Maltese parliament to pause and reflect to avoid steps backwards. But calls to change course were not heard. “This backtracking, and the subsequent adoption this week of a bill that not only fails to protect, but actively exacerbates the existing harm done to women by Malta’s medieval abortion legislation, is a humiliating miscalculation by the ruling party. The government has handed victory to Malta’s reproductive bullies on a plate,” continued Donadio. “The terrifying result of the government’s botched political move is that women can die under their watch. People will be deterred from visiting Malta, seeing that its leaders have doubled down on denying emergency medical care to anyone suffering an obstetric emergency. The only people to gain new protections are certain doctors who are afraid to shoulder responsibility for the lives of their patients. If the government wants to make the situation less desperate, it must decriminalise abortion so that at least women can take their health and lives into their own hands, with the support of brave pro-choice doctors and networks, and without the fear of prosecution,” she added.     --- *In 2022, facing scrutiny due to the high-profile emergency evacuation from Malta of Andrea Prudente, an American tourist undergoing a life-threatening miscarriage, the government proposed to amend the law to introduce a minimum of protection for women. **The original draft bill proposed to legalise abortion in cases where a woman’s health was at grave risk. --- For more information, contact: [email protected] [email protected] Additional background and latest information via Doctors for Choice and Voice for Choice.  

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| 28 June 2023

European Parliament Committees support and strengthen EU bill on gender-based violence

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote on the draft EU Directive to combat Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence by the European Parliament's Committees for Women's Rights and Gender Equality and Justice. MEPs overwhelmingly backed the Commission’s ambitious original proposal by 71 votes to 5 with 7 abstentions. Their move ensures this vital law will go even further in protecting the rights and safety of women, girls and people affected to live free from gender-based violence. Crucially, MEPs have supported the European Commission's proposal to ensure EU-wide criminalisation of rape with a definition based on the absence of consent.* "This is a strong signal that the Parliament, as a representative of EU citizens, wants a consent-based definition of rape to be the standard throughout Europe. This is in line with the language of the Istanbul Convention, which is now 15 years old, but was only recently ratified by the EU after years of stalemate," said Camille Butin for IPPF EN. "Now we strongly urge the EU institutions to adopt ambitious and robust final wording that truly centres the objective of the Directive, which is to help combat violence against women and uphold gender equality in Europe. In particular, we call on Member States to find the political will to take effective action against rape, after they failed to back a consent-based definition in their recent preliminary position," added Butin. IPPF EN welcomes MEPs' backing today of the following vital amendments to the original draft Directive: Addition of criminalisation of sexual assault, genital mutilation of intersex people and forced sterilisation. MEPs also backed the criminalisation of female genital mutilation and various forms of online violence. Inclusion of full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, in support services for victims of sexual violence. Robust wording on including comprehensive sexuality and relationship education in gender-based violence prevention measures. This requires EU countries to increase awareness of the concept of consent, promote gender equality and challenge harmful gender stereotypes, particularly working with men and boys. Clear focus on intersectionality in wording on discrimination faced by victims of gender-based violence, including LGBTIQ people. IPPF EN regrets MEPs’ decision to replace the wording ‘women sex workers’ with ‘women in prostitution’ as sex workers themselves perceive this term as demeaning and linked with criminality. IPPF EN stands with sex workers, and rejects stigmatisation that has devastating consequences for them. The next step in this legislative process will be for the European Parliament and Council to negotiate on the basis of their preliminary positions in order to reach agreement on the final text of the Directive.  Media contact : Camille Butin, Advocacy Advisor, [email protected] --- *14 EU Member States still have laws with outdated definitions of rape based on use of force or the threat of force by the perpetrator, as opposed to absence of consent by the victim. These laws fail to meet international human rights standards, including the 2008 Istanbul Convention, to which the EU recently acceded. They ignore the realities that many survivors face in the context of rape, overlook the fact that a person can rape without using physical force or violence, and enable significant impunity for perpetrators.

Image activism on gender-based violence
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| 28 June 2023

European Parliament Committees support and strengthen EU bill on gender-based violence

IPPF EN welcomes today’s vote on the draft EU Directive to combat Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence by the European Parliament's Committees for Women's Rights and Gender Equality and Justice. MEPs overwhelmingly backed the Commission’s ambitious original proposal by 71 votes to 5 with 7 abstentions. Their move ensures this vital law will go even further in protecting the rights and safety of women, girls and people affected to live free from gender-based violence. Crucially, MEPs have supported the European Commission's proposal to ensure EU-wide criminalisation of rape with a definition based on the absence of consent.* "This is a strong signal that the Parliament, as a representative of EU citizens, wants a consent-based definition of rape to be the standard throughout Europe. This is in line with the language of the Istanbul Convention, which is now 15 years old, but was only recently ratified by the EU after years of stalemate," said Camille Butin for IPPF EN. "Now we strongly urge the EU institutions to adopt ambitious and robust final wording that truly centres the objective of the Directive, which is to help combat violence against women and uphold gender equality in Europe. In particular, we call on Member States to find the political will to take effective action against rape, after they failed to back a consent-based definition in their recent preliminary position," added Butin. IPPF EN welcomes MEPs' backing today of the following vital amendments to the original draft Directive: Addition of criminalisation of sexual assault, genital mutilation of intersex people and forced sterilisation. MEPs also backed the criminalisation of female genital mutilation and various forms of online violence. Inclusion of full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, in support services for victims of sexual violence. Robust wording on including comprehensive sexuality and relationship education in gender-based violence prevention measures. This requires EU countries to increase awareness of the concept of consent, promote gender equality and challenge harmful gender stereotypes, particularly working with men and boys. Clear focus on intersectionality in wording on discrimination faced by victims of gender-based violence, including LGBTIQ people. IPPF EN regrets MEPs’ decision to replace the wording ‘women sex workers’ with ‘women in prostitution’ as sex workers themselves perceive this term as demeaning and linked with criminality. IPPF EN stands with sex workers, and rejects stigmatisation that has devastating consequences for them. The next step in this legislative process will be for the European Parliament and Council to negotiate on the basis of their preliminary positions in order to reach agreement on the final text of the Directive.  Media contact : Camille Butin, Advocacy Advisor, [email protected] --- *14 EU Member States still have laws with outdated definitions of rape based on use of force or the threat of force by the perpetrator, as opposed to absence of consent by the victim. These laws fail to meet international human rights standards, including the 2008 Istanbul Convention, to which the EU recently acceded. They ignore the realities that many survivors face in the context of rape, overlook the fact that a person can rape without using physical force or violence, and enable significant impunity for perpetrators.