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“For weeks, the smoke covers the sky,” a doctor told me last year, when we investigated how forest fires affect the health of Brazilians in the Amazon. Thousands of people in Indigenous and Ribeirinho communities living on the banks of one…
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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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President-elect Biden’s pledge to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States — and ensure that it finally does its part to tackle the climate crisis — is welcome news. So, too, is his promise to return the country to the Paris…
Weenusk First Nation member, Mike Wabano, sets up camp for caribou hunting on a frozen river near Peawanuck, December 14, 2019. As a result of warming temperatures, ice and snow cover is often thinner and more unstable.
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Warming Up at Three Times Global Rate

Darius Elias remembers childhood summers spent out on the land in Old Crow Flats, northern Yukon wetlands, where members of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation spent months harvesting food each year. But few travel to Old Crow Flats these days, as…
Weenusk First Nations members packing their sleds ahead of a hunt near Peawanuck, Ontario, December 14, 2019.
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Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record. In its latest attempt, Saudi…
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record.
News
Earlier this year, as part of our work with the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative and Human Rights Watch, we spoke to a young woman from rural Bolivar County, Mississippi. She had been planning to attend college this fall, the first in her…
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Canada Is Failing Indigenous Peoples Facing Threats to Food, Health, and Land

In some of the most remote stretches of Canada – from the provincial norths to the territories – First Nations are facing serious threats to their ways of life because of the effects of climate change. A rapidly changing environment means harvesting food…
Weenusk First Nations members packing their sleds ahead of a hunt near Peawanuck, Ontario, December 14, 2019.
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Last July, I spoke with Sky H., a 20-year–old who identifies as non-binary and grew up in a very conservative rural town in the Black Belt region of Alabama. In school, Sky received abstinence-only…
Desks in an empty classroom
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In the week and a half leading up to my daughter’s birth last July, I saw an obstetrician several times, then was hospitalized to monitor my high blood pressure. I was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia, a condition that can lead to serious, and…
U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL), co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus,  speaking at the Black Maternal Health Caucus Stakeholder Summit at the Capitol in Washington, DC on July 11, 2019.
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When Abba M. learned that a sexual partner had exposed her to the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, she did “a bunch of Googling.” The 21-year-old Alabama resident knew very little about it. Turning to her friends proved…
A billboard by the Alabama Department of Public Health in Eutaw, Greene County, raises awareness of recommended adolescent vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.
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The Florida state Senate has voted down several compassionate, common-sense amendments to Senate Bill 404, which would limit girls’ access to abortion and undermine their right to health and privacy.  It’s not too late for the senators to change their…
Florida state capitol building in Tallahassee
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What does it mean to be a human rights voter? Support candidates who want the government to adopt and enforce laws that promote and protect human rights. This means candidates who defend people from abusive systems, officials, individuals, and…
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The damage done by Hurricane Maria was far worse than Alvarez, or anyone, could have imagined. With broken roads, and hospitals overwhelmed as blackouts roiled the island, she gave birth at home a few weeks later. She relied on her doula skills and a…
People wait at the Jose de Diego Elementary School to file FEMA forms for federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
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​​As Republicans in states around the country pass sweeping abortion bans, I think about what life could be like for women and girls if these laws take effect. I don’t have to use my imagination. Women and girls across Latin America are…
Graffiti promoting legal abortion and women’s rights on a street in central Tegucigalpa, Honduras where public protests and demonstrations often take place. Vivas nos queremos (“We want to live”) is a slogan used in campaigns across Latin America.
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The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a binding rule that would stop health providers in clinics that receive federal public family planning money from providing patients with full and accurate reproductive health information and…
People rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court while the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra case remained pending, in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2018.
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Much concern has been raised, for good reason, about President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel allegedly was involved in reckless, illegal torture under the agency’s “rendition,…
Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018. © 2018 CIA handout
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Recent US policy changes hurt the fight for safe motherhood not just around the world, but in the US as well

Dozens of countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the same day as the United States, including countries as diverse as Cambodia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Brazil. But this holiday to celebrate and thank mothers is also one to mark devastating…
People gather for the Women's March in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017.
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