Running The Obstacle Course To Sexual And Reproductive Health: Lessons From Latin America

Hardcover | May 1, 2006

byBonnie Shepard

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These four multi-disciplinary studies focus on sexual and reproductive health advocacy and programs in Latin America. Based on original research and the author's 25 years of experience working in the region, the text illuminates the political, cultural, and organizational dynamics that pose an obstacle course to sexual and reproductive health--dynamics that veterans of the "culture wars" in many other regions of the world will recognize. One groundbreaking study of advocacy in Colombia and Chile for the legalization of abortion and divorce discusses the "double discourse" system that keeps repressive laws in place and punishes public opposition to political norms that are based on religious doctrine. Another study of Latin American NGO regional and national advocacy networks examines the roots of difficulties they experience in unified decision making, often resulting in failure to take decisive political action. The book then offers two program case studies--one in Peru and one in Chile--focusing on issues of citizen participation and respect for rights in health systems and in schools. The Peruvian study brings to life a four-city experiment to foster community participation of women's organizations in health services. The Chilean study focuses on a highly participatory and successful sex education program in public schools and the ways in which political controversies affected the program, eventually contributing to its demise. The book's holistic approach, written from the point of view of an outsider/participant, makes a unique contribution to the study of social change in general, and to worldwide efforts to mainstream human rights, social justice, and gender equality in sexualand reproductive health programs and policies.

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From the Publisher

These four multi-disciplinary studies focus on sexual and reproductive health advocacy and programs in Latin America. Based on original research and the author's 25 years of experience working in the region, the text illuminates the political, cultural, and organizational dynamics that pose an obstacle course to sexual and reproductive...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:215 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.98 inPublished:May 1, 2006Publisher:Praeger PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0275970663

ISBN - 13:9780275970666

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"For close to 30 years, Shepard worked for the Ford Foundation and other funding agencies supervising Latin American projects concerned with women's rights, population control, and reproductive health. Recently she took time off to evaluate the success of the various programs and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with which she has had contact. The result is a series of case studies of projects, groups, and coalitions, primarily in Chile, Colombia, and Peru. In the strongest chapter, Shepard gives a nuanced yet admirably clear exposition of the Latin American/Roman Catholic tradition of "double discourse." Abortion is branded as unspeakable as well as illegal, so feminist NGOs are constrained from agitating for legalization, especially since their funding comes increasingly from their governments. Yet except for periodic crackdowns, clandestine abortion clinics function more or less with impunity, at least in affluent neighborhoods. The result is safe access to abortion for privileged women, but dangerous conditions for the poor. This is not a book for those not already conversant in the terminology of NGOs and feminist health rights activism and familiar with the alphabet soup of UN declarations and international funding agencies. For specialists, however, the book is engrossing and thought-provoking. Recommended. Faculty and professionals."-Choice