Why won’t the pope let women protect themselves from HIV?

Posted on June 8, 2011


Why won’t the pope let women protect themselves from HIV? | Nancy Goldstein | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.  Because it’s all about control:

For months now, their all-male team has been trying to strip all references to sexual and reproductive health and rights from the meeting’s declaration; gutting all mentions of education and prevention other than marriage and fidelity; and insisting that “families” be replaced with “the family”, as though that monolith even exists or that it provides some kind of magic shield against HIV.

Either the Holy See does not understand, or does not care that their hardline stance is not actually “pro-life” in any sense. They ask that paragraph 60 of the declaration, which addresses research and development for treating and curing HIV, delete all mention of “female-controlled prevention methods”. This despite the fact that female condoms and thevery promising looking microbicides now being developedhave no relation toabortionand represent the single greatest potential life saver for women worldwide.

Ditto for paragraph 58, which makes the all-important and entirely sensible promise that the UN will “commit to ensuring that national responses to HIV and Aids meet the specific needs of women and girls”. The Holy See, allied with the African Group and Iran, asks for the deletion of the very sentence that spells out what that really means:

“… by ensuring that women and girls can exercise their right to have control over, and decide freely and responsibly on, matters related to their sexuality in order to increase their ability to protect themselves fromHIV infection, including their sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.”

Heaven forfend

Really… does it get any more clear? Jill at Feministe got it rightControl over women’s bodies > women’s actual lives.

Wonderful Way to start the Hump Day…