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Ensuring women's access to safe abortion: essential strategies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Ipas, 2005.  pApproved by world leaders in September 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) articulate a series of time-bound, quantitative targets for ending poverty, improving health and promoting gender equality. The MDGs lack, however, any mention of human rights or reproductive and sexual health. In particular, the MDG framework does not include the critical issue of abortion, despite the fact that unsafe abortion leads to the unnecessary and completely preventable deaths of women and is a persistent problem rooted in poverty, gender inequity and the failure to implement human rights. Over the past decade, the international community has committed itself in a series of political and legal agreements to promoting and fulfilling women’s and men’s sexual and reproductive rights. Governments at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994 agreed to a definition of reproductive health that includes abortion in circumstances where it is legal under national legislation. The MDGs echo elements of the ICPD consensus, but none specifically address its core commitment to ensure universal reproductive-health services. At the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, sexual rights were acknowledged as integral to human rights and women’s empowerment, and countries were encouraged to review restrictive abortion laws. (excerpt)