180232 Strengthening reproductive rights and access to health care at the local level: Lessons learned from Mexico City and US cities

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 1:30 PM

Amy Boldosser, MIA , National Institute for Reproductive Health, New York, NY
María Luisa Sánchez Fuentes, MPA , Grupo de Informácion en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE), Mexico, DF, Mexico
MaríA. Consuelo Mejía , Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, A.C., México, D.F., Mexico
Public officials at the national and state level in the US and Mexico have fallen short in ensuring access to and addressing disparities in reproductive health. Local officials are often better poised and more motivated to embrace progressive and creative solutions to their communities' reproductive health needs, and can be held more accountable by their constituents. This model proved successful in Mexico City where, due to a unique collaboration between elected officials and advocates, the Legislative Assembly passed a bill in April 2007 that decriminalizes abortion up to 12 weeks, and guarantees medically accurate sex education and the availability of birth control, including EC, and quality abortion services free of charge in city hospitals. Despite Mexico's conservative politics and the influence of the Catholic Church, Mexico City's law is one of the most progressive in Latin America. Using the success of the Mexico City legislation as a model from the Global South, the National Institute for Reproductive Health is now working with Mexico City advocates and elected officials along with advocates from US cities, to promote creating promising reproductive health policies at the local level with elected officials in the US. This presentation will explore strategies for creating partnerships between local public officials and advocates to advance policies that improve the reproductive health of urban communities. We will provide tips for creating reproductive health policy at the local level and discuss overcoming implementation challenges and religious opposition in your locality.

Learning Objectives:
1. Develop a strategy for collaboration between advocates and local elected officials to create reproductive health policies and programs at the city or county level. 2. Identify key partners and entry points to participate in advocate-local government coalitions to implement reproductive health policies at the city or county level. 3. Discuss challenges such as funding, religious opposition, and implementation hurdles to creating reproductive health programs and policies at the city or county level.

Keywords: Reproductive Health, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I direct the Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health which is leading the collaboration between Mexico City advocates and elected officials and advocates from US cities to promote creating promising reproductive health policies at the local level with elected officials in the US.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.