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Cluster 3 - Reproductive rights, reproductive health and family planning [including maternal and infant mortality, abortion, AIDS, STD and adolescents]:

India noted the lack of linkages between the many points consolidated in this cluster. Argentina suggested that the title be left as in the conceptual framework, since Argentina does not consider abortion as a family planning measure. This suggestion was later echoed by Switzerland, Brazil, Algeria, Iran and the Holy See. Switzerland supported India's suggestion that Cluster 3 lacks structure in the strategies section and that there is not visible or logical articulation between the strategies. France stated that reproductive health cannot be considered separately from general health.

Brazil suggested that morbidity rates be included and that family planning assistance be delivered in the context of family health programmes. Many countries, including Algeria, Colombia and the Holy See, raised the reference to reproductive rights of "individuals", expressing concern that this reference should be replaced by "couples" and "individuals and couples", as had been agreed to during the 1974 Bucharest Conference on Population.

Sweden suggested the use of the WHO definition of reproductive rights for the heading and stated that safe and legal abortion should be an option as a back-up to failed contraception. Sweden also stressed the needs of adolescents and the importance of sex education and breast-feeding. The Holy See said that abortion should not be mentioned in the context of family planning and that infant mortality can be related to, but not necessarily caused by, high fertility rates. Ghana, on a lighter note, queried how the abortion issue would be resolved if men could actually get pregnant. Belgium stressed the importance of recognizing the plurality of family forms and, in response to Iran, explained that there were many one-parent, unmarried or physically separated families in Belgium. The Women's Caucus stated that women have the right to decide when and how to have a child, free from coercion and with universal access to safe abortion services. [Return to start of article]