Media Statement

A year on from Trump, Marie Stopes International Australia
is fighting to keep reproductive rights on the agenda

EMBARGOED UNTIL AEDT, 21st November 2017

Melbourne, Tuesday 21st November, 2017: In the wake of the Trump election win and the re-enactment of the Mexico City Policy, Marie Stopes International Australia is working to raise awareness about the critical importance of reproductive choice.

With support from local actors and celebrities including Heather Maltman, Jane Caro and Nelly Thomas, the #mychoice campaign encourages supporters to share this video with a statement why reproductive choice is important to them.

The #mychoice campaign highlights the stark difference between Australia and developing countries in access to contraception methods that we often take for granted.

  • 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions want to access modern methods of contraception but can’t.
  • Approximately 43% of pregnancies in developing regions are unintended.
  • About 13% of global maternal mortality is due to unsafe abortion.

Women everywhere need access to reproductive health education, services and most importantly – choice.

Funding and support for reproductive health is at a critical point, with the impact of the Mexico City Policy (MCP) starting to take hold. The MCP, which was re-enacted among the first decisions of the Trump administration, is designed to restrict funding and access to comprehensive reproductive health services. As a result of the MCP, Marie Stopes International will lose US$30 million in USAID funding each year.

The impact in developing countries will be severe. In Cambodia, half of MSI’s funding has been lost, which will result in an estimated 12,000 unintended pregnancies and an additional 5,100 unsafe abortions each year. In Madagascar, where approximately 38% of women using modern methods of family planning are getting them from MSI, over 400,000 women will no longer receive services.

Discussing the campaign, Batya Atlas, Senior Manager, External Relations for Marie Stopes International Australia, said: “The #mychoice campaign shows how important reproductive choice is for all women. I think sometimes we forget how lucky most Australia women are and what the consequences could be if we didn’t have access to condoms or the pill or an IUD. Or if we didn’t know contraception existed. Or if, like so many women in developing countries, our partners or fathers wouldn’t let us use it. Most striking is the fact that if I had been born somewhere like Papua New Guinea, my chance of dying while giving birth would be about 100 times greater than it is in Australia. Being able to avoid an unwanted pregnancy could be the difference between life and death.”

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

For interviews and further information please contact:

Email: kaushi.kogar@mariestopesinternational.org.au

Tel: 03 9658 7556 or 0447 127 103 (out of hours)

About Marie Stopes International Australia (MSIA)

Marie Stopes International Australia (MSIA) is a non-profit social enterprise providing increased access to quality reproductive health services in the Asia-Pacific region. MSIA has tax deductible status, an Independent Board of Directors and is part of the Marie Stopes International global partnership.

Over the last 41 years, Marie Stopes International (MSI) has provided life-changing sexual and reproductive healthcare to over 100 million people worldwide. In 2016, MSI delivered family planning, contraception, safe abortion and sexual health services to over 20 million women and men across 37 countries.