TO: Members & Friends of the UN Association
This message is about a challenge facing Oklahoma women. It is also about a decision by the OKC chapter of the UN Association to raise awareness about women's reproductive health in Oklahoma and the world. You are invited to participate in a couple of related activities.
Women's health and women's rights is one of the central concerns of the United Nations. Over the years, the UN has learned that social progress in any nation depends on women who are educated and empowered.
So, it caught my attention when I saw the text of a bill that has been introduced into the Oklahoma Legislature -- SB 1433. This measure would severely limit the kind of birth control and reproductive healthcare options that are available to women in Oklahoma.
SB 1433 is a proposed "Personhood" Amendment that would re-define our understanding of the development of human life. It would severely restrict the freedom of women. It would seem to limit the treatment of life-threatening pregnancies as well as banning abortion even when the life of the mother is at risk.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has decades of real-world experience serving women who have limited options because of poverty and lack of access to healthcare services. Women in these circumstances tend to suffer from higher rates of complications from pregnancies as well as death in childbirth.
UNFPA has a stated goal of assuring "...that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.”
UNFPA seeks to promote reproductive health services including ... "...Family-planning counseling, pre-natal care, safe delivery and post-natal care, prevention and appropriate treatment of infertility, prevention of abortion and the management of the consequences of abortion, treatment of reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive health conditions; and education, counseling, as appropriate, on human sexuality, reproductive health and responsible parenthood."
It is in this context that your Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association (UNA-USA) has decided to invest a portion of our resources to raise awareness about human rights and reproductive health.
We will do this in two ways.
One, we have decided to use our Annual Spring Meeting & Dinner to showcase the life-saving work of the United Nations Population Fund. The keynote speaker for our meeting will be Jane Roberts, co-founder of 34 Million Friends of the UNFPA.
Jane Roberts is a champion of women's rights. reproductive health, and the life-saving work of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The 2008 winner of the Purpose Prize, Jane has been called "A true force for change.... Absolute proof that one person can make a difference."
Through 34 Million Friends, Jane has raised support for UNFPA's family planning and reproductive health care programs in 150 countries around the world. Funds have paid for an operating room in Bamako, Mali; emergency obstetrical care equipment in East Timor; and safe birthing kits for health centers worldwide.
She writes: "I have always felt a deep commitment to women, their lives, choices, rights and responsibilities." So, she has devoted herself to the cause of promoting women's health and improvements in infant survival through the uNFPA.
Mark your calendar for our April 27th Spring Dinner -- to be held at Oklahoma City University. We'll begin accepting reservations later this month.
Two, our chapter will have an information table at the "Take Root" Conference on Reproductive Justice at the University of Oklahoma (Norman). The 2-day conference will take place on February 24th and 25th. It will offer "Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice" through a series of panel discussions.
Panel topics include:
<> Perspectives and Priorities from Communities of Colors;
<> Religion and the Reproductive Justice Movement;
<> Speaking Up, Speaking Out: Organizing against intimate partner violence and sexual assault;
<> From Local to Global: A conversation about sustainability and environmental justice; and
Conference registration is $40 ($25 for students). We hope you'll consider attending this informative conference.
Find more information at the "Take Root" webpage ...
... The conference is resented by the OU Women’s and Gender Studies Program, in collaboration with:
<> The Center for Social Justice
<> The Student Organizer’s Collective
<> Oklahomans for Reproductive Justice
<> Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice
<> The Abortion Access Project
<> National Advocates for Pregnant Women
<> Gender and Women’s Studies at Oklahoma State University
<> Trust Women
The United Nations Population Fund defines itself as "an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity...."
I hope you will support our efforts to raise awareness about human rights, reproductive health, and the life-saving work of the UNFPA.
President, Oklahoma City Chapter
United Nations Association of the USA
405-622-2030 ... office
405-760-5322 ... mobile / text