It was a far higher profile of feminists at the 2003 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre.
DAWN's decision to focus exclusively on abortion is based on their view that 'abortion is a global political issue that must be addressed and widely debated; particularly by those who are concerned both with the negative impacts of globalisation and who are committed to women's human rights.'
The need for an open public debate on abortion has become increasingly urgent in view of the unbending conservative moral position adopted by the Bush administration, reflected most notoriously in the application of the Global Gag Rule, and the position adopted by US government delegates at the 5th Asian and Pacific Population Conference (Bangkok, December 2002), one of the regional meetings to review the first ten years of the 20-year International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action.
|Why the WSF must engage
DAWN believes the global politics of abortion must be fully taken on board by the WSF. Firstly, because nothing indicates that the Bush administration or other powerful forces against abortion will give up easily on their moral conservative position. This will certainly play out in the various global negotiations currently under way or projected for the near future. Secondly, but no less importantly, access to legal and safe abortion is a non-negotiable dimension of sexual equality. The claim that abortion should be decriminalised belongs to the women’s human rights agenda. Remember that the sexual and reproductive health and rights framework was agreed upon in Cairo and Beijing by a large majority of UN member states. Thirdly, abortion must be seen as a crucial element in the contemporary debate on democracy, among other reasons because it obliges us to properly reassess the relations between religion and the State. [...]
Last but not least, the DAWN perspective is that the World Social Forum is a privileged site to expose and debate positions that within diverse religions diverge from dogmatic hegemonic stands on abortion; and to give wider visibility to the 'silenced' ethical implication of abortion, the moral reasoning behind women’s decisions to interrupt unwanted pregnancies. By keeping abortion marginal to its core agenda, the WSF is giving up on the goal of sustaining an intellectual and political environment that enhances and fully accepts all forms of diversity.
DAWN's supplement includes: global abortion data; a historical overview of the legal and religious prohibition of abortion, and the global campaign for access to legal and safe abortion; a report on the outcome of the 5th Asian and Pacific Population Conference; information on the passage through the lower house of the Uruguayan parliament of a bill to decriminalize abortion.
>>See the full text of the DAWN Supplement for the World Social Forum.
In this report we also offer links to the NGOs mentioned in the DAWN supplement, and related information on the Global Gag Rule and Bush's war against women, as well as links to previous Choike reports on the abortion issue, including the outcome of Fifth Asian Pacific Population Conference and the first step towards the decriminalization of abortion in Uruguay (in Spanish).