Following community backlash, White Ribbon Australia have reversed the decision. WWDA remain concerned that White Ribbon need to ‘consult with stakeholders’ on an issue of fundamental human rights.

Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is disturbed and disappointed by White Ribbon Australia’s decision to withdraw its position statement on Women’s Reproductive Rights.

The White Ribbon Australia Position Statement on Women’s Reproductive Rights was released in February 2017 and provided a strong statement to the Australian community that women’s sexual and reproductive rights, like all basic human rights, are NOT optional.

WWDA believe women and girls with and without disability have the right to make free and informed choices about their bodies, sexual health, reproductive health, relationships and parenting, including when and if to seek an abortion.

WWDA’s position is consistent with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) who in their General recommendation 35 on gender-based violence against women (2017) stated that:

“Violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, such as forced sterilizations, forced abortion, forced pregnancy, criminalisation of abortion, denial or delay of safe abortion and post-abortion care, forced continuation of pregnancy, abuse and mistreatment of women and girls seeking sexual and reproductive health information, goods and services, are forms of gender-based violence that, depending on the circumstances, may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

We join with Marie Stopes Australia in condemning this move and strongly urge White Ribbon Australia to reconsider their decision.

Further Information:

WWDA Position Statement on Sexual and Reproductive Rights: http://wwda.org.au/papers/toolkit/position-statements/

CEDAW General Recommendation 35: https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/cedaw/pages/gr35.aspx