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Center for American Progress

Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights: A Global Perspective
Press Advisory

Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights: A Global Perspective

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On March 28, 2007, the Center for American Progress will host a discussion with two leaders at the forefront of reproductive rights efforts to learn about recent developments in this field.

In many countries around the world, women’s rights advocates are using a human rights framework to advance a progressive agenda for women’s health and rights. From the criminalization of female genital cutting in 14 countries across Africa to compensation for involuntary sterilization victims in Europe, these strategies are proving to be an effective tool in promoting reproductive and sexual rights.

One of the most exciting breakthroughs occurred last year when Colombia’s Constitutional Court declared that a total abortion ban violated international human rights norms and therefore the Colombian Constitution.

Featured Panelists:
Marianne Mollmann, Advocacy Director for the Women’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch
Monica Roa, Program Director, Women’s Link Worldwide, and lead attorney in C-355/2006, the case that liberalized Colombia’s abortion law

Moderated by:
Jessica Arons, Director of the Women’s Health & Rights Program, Center for American Progress

March 28, 2007, 2:00pm 3:15pm


Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
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Jessica Arons is the Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress. She also is a member of the Center’s Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative. Most recently, Jessica served as a staff attorney fellow with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. Prior to working at the ACLU, she practiced labor and employment law at James & Hoffman, P.C. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Elizabeth B. Lacy on the Supreme Court of Virginia. She also worked at the White House and on the 1996 Pennsylvania Democratic Coordinated Campaign prior to law school. Jessica is an honors graduate of Brown University and William and Mary School of Law. At William and Mary, Jessica was an Associate Editor of the William & Mary Law Review, Managing Editor of the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, and a Board Member of the William & Mary Public Service Fund. She has been seen on MSNBC and ABC News and heard on Clear Channel radio. She is the author of “More Than a Choice: A Progressive Vision for Reproductive Health & Rights.”

Marianne Mollmann is Advocacy Director for the Women’s Rights Division, which she joined in September 2003 as researcher for Latin America and the Caribbean. She moved to Human Rights Watch from Peru, where she worked with Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristan and other local NGOs. As co-coordinator of the Women’s Working Group of the International Network for Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Marianne was one of the organizers behind the Montreal Principles on equal access to ESC rights for women. She holds an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from Essex University.

Monica Roa is director of programmes at Women’s Link Worldwide, where she provides legal advocates with an array of strategies for working with the courts and tribunals using cross-regional comparisons and international standards. Previously, she worked with the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York; the Center for Socio-juridical Studies, Universidad de Los Andes; and as a research assistant to advisors of the Presidential Office for Social Policy and the Office of the Mayor in Bogota. Her publications include: Bodies on Trial: Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Latin American Courts and “What Role Can International Litigation Play in the Promotion and Advancement of Reproductive Rights in Latin America” (Harvard School of Public Health). She holds an LL.M. in Public Service Law from New York University and a degree in law from the Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota. Ms. Roa led the legal team that successfully argued to overturn Colombia’s absolute ban on abortion in May 2006. A native of Colombia, she resides in Bogota.