Posts Tagged 'Health Care'

Governments Step Up for Reproductive Rights

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© 2016 Smita Sharma for Human Rights Watch

Repost from Human Rights Watch

‘She Decides’ Summit to Counter Trump’s ‘Global Gag Rule’

(Brussels) – Governments should pledge political and financial support for sexual and reproductive health to counter the United States’ “Global Gag Rule,” Human Rights Watch said today. The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden are hosting a summit in Brussels on March 2, 2017, to strengthen support for the “She Decides” funding initiative, which will support organizations affected by US restrictions and resulting cuts.

On his first full day in office, US President Donald Trump issued an expanded “Global Gag Rule,” or “Mexico City Policy,” which strips foreign nongovernmental organizations of all US health funding if they use funds from any source to offer information about abortions, provide abortions, or advocate liberalizing abortion laws. US law already prohibits using US funds for abortion in foreign family planning assistance.

“Governments, nongovernmental groups, and the private sector should stand with women and girls to protect their right to health,” said Nisha Varia, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The Trump administration’s damaging policy restricts women’s choices, pushes censorship of information about critical health options, and will reduce a wide range of health services in many countries that desperately need them.” Click to continue Reading.

Bringing LGBT Health Care to the World Health Organization

Repost from The Huffington Post

Around the world lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals face worse health outcomes than the general population. We know the problem is in part due to the barriers they face to accessing health care. But because there is relatively little health research on this population globally, the true scope of the global burden is difficult to calculate.

These barriers range from denial of care, to inadequate or substandard care, to simply an unwillingness to go to a doctor because of discrimination or, in some countries, criminal penalties. Data confirms that within the community there are higher rates of depression and substance abuse; lesbian and bisexual women are at a greater risk of obesity and breast cancer; gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; elderly LGBT individuals face additional barriers to health because of isolation; and transgender individuals have higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use, are at higher risk for heart disease and are less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals.

The World Health Organization (WHO) — the health body of the United Nations — has led efforts to reduce health disparities for women, ethnic, racial and religious minorities, those with disabilities, and others who have struggled to attain the health care they need. We think it is timely for WHO to take this same leadership role for the LGBT population. During the May 2013 WHO Executive Board meeting, the topic of what WHO should be doing on this front was scheduled to be discussed. Continue Reading

Restoring America’s Health

Capitol Hill ImageSo finally, the health care juggernaut is broken! We share the view that the new health care reform law, while not perfect, is a step forward. And after a year-plus of debate, it’s time to move on to other tasks.

One of those, of course, is the need to provide genuine equality to LGBT citizens in the U.S. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been treading water on Capitol Hill for over 15 years; there’s no justification for delaying any further this basic workplace non-discrimination bill. The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations (DPBO) bill, which would allow the families of gay federal workers to enjoy the same benefits as the families of their straight colleagues, has been marked up in both houses; it needs to be given floor time by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. And repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is long-overdue: not only does a clear majority of Americans favor its repeal, our military needs the talents of the men and women it’s booting out for reasons unrelated to workplace performance.

Enacting these pieces of legislation is, of course, the right thing to do. But it also would set the right example for other countries that are beginning to grapple with calls for LGBT equality overseas. It’s time for the U.S. to become the model it claims to be in promoting one of democracy’s genuine tenets, which is equal rights for all citizens.

For months the pundits have debated health care. But restoring America’s commitment to equality matters is equally important to the health of our country. Those who lead our movement, and those who lead our country, should recognize that there has been, and will be, no better time to move this equality agenda forward than now.

When the chips were down on health care, President Obama and the Democratic leadership of both houses sprang into action. It’s time for them to show the same sense of arm-twisting resolve in moving these bills to a vote this year. True champions of equality and fair-mindedness on either side of the aisle should have no hesitation in moving these bills forward without further delay.

Amb. (ret.) Michael Guest, Senior Advisor, The Council for Global Equality


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