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March 16, 2016

NAPW launches campaign website for U.N. session on drugs

This April, the United Nations is holding a General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on global drug policies, and NAPW is leading an international effort to address how those policies are hurting women and families. NAPW has launched a campaign website and prepared a Declaration Calling for Global Drug Policies that Support Women, Children, and Families.

The declaration lays out the many harms that punitive drug policies cause women. And it's a long list: the loss of parental rights and family ties; the boom in the incarceration of women, especially for minor drug offenses; environmental devastation due to policies that destroy opium and coca crops; worsening state and gender-based violence; and, especially in the United States, using drug war propaganda to establish legal precedent for controlling and punishing all pregnant women.

The declaration calls on the world's leaders to: include a gender analysis in all global drug conventions; approach problematic drug use as a health issue; limit incarceration only for those persons deemed a significant and genuine public safety risk; and ensure that women have access to scientifically sound drug treatment that meets their specific medical needs and roles in their families and social networks.

Please have your organization sign the declaration if it hasn't already, and please help spread the word. The declaration is available in all of the U.N.'s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) as well as others including Hindi and Kiswahili To date, more than 60 organizations advocating for women's, reproductive and human rights on every continent have signed on to the declaration to push global policymakers to end the decades-long drug war.

For those of you in the New York area, please join NAPW on March 22 for a forum, "No More Drug War: Safety for Women and Families." This forum, organized by NAPW as part of our UNGASS Women 2016 efforts, will feature NAPW's Farah Diaz-Tello, Andrea James of Families for Justice and Healing, RH Reality Check's Laura Huss and Kassandra Frederique, director of the Drug Policy Alliance's New York policy office.

The event will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m., downstairs at the Salvation Army building at 221 E. 52nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd avenues).

NAPW in the media and on the road

As NAPW continues to work on numerous cases, we are also speaking out and building bridges. Earlier this month, The New York Times published NAPW Executive Director Lynn Paltrow's letter to the editor explaining that so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" not only fail to share accurate information about abortion but also don't provide comprehensive information about birth and pregnancy loss.

NAPW also made sure our messages were heard at the U.S. Supreme Court not only through our amicus brief, but also by our staff who braved the cold and the rain to be in D.C. for the oral argument in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. That's the Texas case that will determine whether abortion restrictions that have shuttered clinics across the state will stand. NAPW Senior Staff Attorney Farah Diaz-Tello got the last word in a Washington Post story about intrepid activists: "I'm here to tell the Supreme Court that women aren't asking them for anything. ... If they want to restrict women's reproductive rights, they're going to have to take them."