From Mississippi to Mexico: Challenging 'Life Begins at Conception'

A proposed amendment in the state of Mississippi that would define the beginning of life as conception has captured news headlines from Nebraska to Memphis. However, as Alexander Sanger, Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, explains, “Legislation that defines life as beginning at conception isn’t a new tactic to deny sexual and reproductive health rights in the Western Hemisphere.” Just last month Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld a similar state proposition, allowing more than a dozen states in that country—where abortion is largely illegal—to undermine even the possibility of legalized abortion. The fear throughout Latin America, which is not unlike what many in the U.S. feel today, is that the passage of this type of law may embolden others to follow suit. While a new report from the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health establishes the denial of sexual and reproductive health services as a violation of human rights, it is clear that many countries are moving in the wrong direction.

Sanger's op-ed published in today’s NY Daily News reinvigorates the knowledge that, although the struggle to provide sexual and reproductive health services for all has been fought for well over a hundred years, our enduring commitment to the health of the most vulnerable in our world will ultimately lead to success.

UN Special Rapporteur Milestone for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights



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