The Women's Electoral Lobby NSW is profoundly disappointed in White Ribbon Australia’s decision to retract its position statement on Women’s Reproductive Rights.
When White Ribbon Australia released the statement in February 2017 it bravely and rightly revealed the strong link between prevention of violence against women and reproductive autonomy.
Along with Marie Stopes Australia, we feel the decision to retract this statement sends a dangerous message to our community and ignores the growing evidence of strong links between reproductive coercion, family violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
The Women’s Electoral Lobby, recognises the link between woman’s reproductive rights and eliminating violence against women. Reproductive coercion from a partner is a form of violent abuse which attacks a woman’s right and capacity to make her own soundly based decisions regarding her reproductive health, contraception and pregnancy. It can involve pressuring a women to become pregnant as proof of fidelity, sabotaging access to contraception and pressuring a woman to continue or end a pregnancy.
Combatting violence against women and decriminalising abortion are amongst WEL’s top priorities. We affirm expert research that shows that legal, safe, affordable and accessible contraception and abortion, together with professional support services, are essential to countering and preventing violence and strengthening women’s autonomy.
In the words of White Ribbon Australia’s original Reproductive Rights statement (now removed from White Ribbon's website):
Sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights. Denying a woman access to contraception and abortion is a denial of basic rights to health care. It impacts on a woman achieving economic and sexual self-determination and having full access to education and employment. It is a woman’s right to choose if and when she gets pregnant. It is a woman’s right to seek an abortion.
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Media contact: Mary O’Sullivan 0419444889
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