International consensus on reproductive rights
During the 'International Conference on Population and Development' in Cairo (1994), and during the 'Forth World Conference on Women' in Bejing (1995) the General Assembly of the United Nations has stated that 'Governments and organizations are urged to strengthen their commitment to women's health, to deal with the health impact of unsafe abortion as a major public health concern, and to reduce the recourse to abortion through expanded and improved family planning services.'
information en documents: www.un.org/womenwatch/confer/
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that 'Governments have to assess the health impact of unsafe abortion, reduce the need for abortion through expanded and improved family planning services, and frame abortion laws and policies on the basis of a commitment to women's health and well-being rather than on criminal codes and punitive measures. Prevention of unwanted pregnancies must always be given the highest priority and all attempts should be made to eliminate the need for abortion. Women who wish to terminate their pregnancies should have ready access to reliable information, compassionate counselling and in parallel, services for the prevention of unwanted pregnancy and management of complications.'
source: Unsafe abortion : Global and regional estimates of incidence of a mortality due to unsafe abortion with a listing of available country data - Third edition, 1997 - Ref. WHO/RHT/MSM/97.16
In June 2002 the European Parliament has accepted a resolution on sexual and reproductive health and rights based upon the van Lancker report that calls upon all member states and accession countries to fight illegal abortion and high abortion rates. The report advises to make legal and safe abortion accessible for everybody. It also calls upon governments to not prosecute women who had an illegal abortion.
Source: van Lancker report A5-00223/2002
Women on Waves operates in this international consensus with regard sexual education, accessibility of contraceptives and safe and legal abortion.