Puebla, Mexico - September 28, 2020: With green scarves, members of feminist collectives demonstrate in the streets of the Historic Center of Puebla to demand the legalization of abortion.

Sex Equality in #SeptiembreVerde: Examining the Mexican Supreme Court’s Abortion Decriminalization Decision

By Joelle Boxer

Earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a ruling decriminalizing abortion nationwide, setting a powerful example in the global trend of abortion law liberalization, including on the grounds of sex equality.

Hailed as “incredible” by reproductive justice advocates, the decision will be most impactful in the 20 Mexican states where local laws still criminalize abortion, potentially removing access barriers for more than 42 million women.

This article will explain the origins of the case, what the decision holds, and what it says about sex equality.

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New York NY USA-July 8, 2023 Advertising for the Warner Bros. Pictures Barbie film in Times Square in New York.

Barbie’s Utopia and (the Absence of) Social Rights

By Alma Beltrán y Puga

Is Barbie feminist? Is Greta Gerwig’s script based on ideas of gender equality? The movie is certainly appreciated for promoting a global discussion on feminist ideas and gender roles. But answering these questions is complicated. Barbie opens in a version of a feminist utopia: a world where women are rulers and men servants. These inverted political gender roles are based on radical feminist theories that consider women’s liberation will only be possible when feminist values, such as care and dialogue, are taken seriously, and women in power embrace them. However, Barbie Land is a portrait of this feminist fantasy with too much pink and a very basic liberal idea of the State: civil and political rights are the fundamental rights of society.

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Beawar, Rajasthan, India, April 19, 2021: People roam at the main market.

Climate-Resilient and Accessible Architecture

By Abhishek Kumar and Kavya Poornima Balajepalli

Climate change is the gravest threat currently faced by human civilization, and our architecture must internalize this reality of our time.

Knowing that the best way to protect people from climate chaos is by tackling inequality, it is critical that our built environment integrate universal design, as lack of accessibility has cascading and compounding impact on vulnerable communities, and especially persons with disabilities.

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Oil refineries polluting carbon and cancer causing smoke stacks climate change and power plants in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Understanding Climate and Disability Justice: Mitigating Structural Barriers to the Right to Health

By Cynthia Golembeski, Ans Irfan, Michael Méndez, Amite Dominick, Rasheera Dopson, and Julie Skarha

People with disabilities — one of the most climate vulnerable groups — are often overlooked before, during, and in the aftermath of disasters.

Structural competency, which accounts for systemic “level determinants, biases, inequities, and blind spots,” is important to mitigating environmental racism and ableism in climate change and disaster policy. To achieve such intersectional approaches, the social determinants of health provide a useful framework. It explains how conditions, forces, and systems, including poverty, discrimination, underlying health disparities, and governance, not only shape daily life but also  vulnerability to climate-induced disasters (Figure 1). Decreasing vulnerability requires understanding and addressing upstream root causes of health inequities.

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Concept of agroforestry and silvopasture, exemplified by grazing cattle in a grove outside Läckö Castle at Lake Vänern, West Gothland, Sweden.

Disability-Inclusive Climate Justice Through Agroforestry

By Pavan Muntha and Chloe Rourke

As climate change is expected to stress the agricultural sector in the coming decades, it is crucial that we transition to climate-smart agricultural practices like agroforestry that build resilience and provide farmers with greater flexibility.

Groups identified as particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as people with disabilities, must be fully included to ensure this transition is successful and its benefits are equitably distributed.

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UN United Nations general assembly building with world flags flying in front - First Avenue, New York City, NY, USA

Disability Participation and Empowerment in the Context of Climate Action: A Human Rights Obligation

By Elisavet Athanasia Alexiadou

States have a human rights obligation to promote the full, meaningful, and informed participation of persons with disabilities in the context of policy-making and decision-making processes about climate change.

This essay seeks to explain the basis for this obligation, outline its scope, and elucidate how states can ensure its fulfillment.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 4, 2021. People waiting for their turn to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at the Club Atlético River Plate Microstadium.

Considerations from Argentina on the Judicial Control of Public Health Policies

By María Natalia Echegoyemberry and Francisco Verbic

This article looks at the COVID-19 pandemic response in Argentina, with a particular focus on the judicial control of public health policies. Looking ahead, we discuss the mechanisms that need to be implemented in order to avoid undue judicial interference, which is particularly critical in countries like Argentina, where the Judiciary is delegitimized and strongly questioned.

We focus on a case in Argentina where a federal judge ordered the suspension of the campaign for pediatric vaccination against COVID-19.

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Bill of Health - silhouette of COVID-19 vaccine vile held in front of company logos, cooperation and antitrust in vaccine production

Unlocking the mRNA Platform Technology: Walking the Talk with Investment Protection

By Aparajita Lath

Two articles published last month in the BMJ analyze the public investment and financing of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, highlighting the extensive government funding that has supported the development of mRNA technology from 1985 to 2022.

However, rewards from these government investments are going back into the hands of pharma corporations and shareholders, with little thought given to public needs.

Together, these articles underscore the injustice of the present moment and emphasize the need to reform intellectual property protections for government-funded inventions of public health significance.

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La Plata, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina; 12 04 2020: Claim of legalization of abortion in Argentina. Woman with green scarves protested in front of the church.

Decriminalizing Abortion in Argentina: 8 Takeaways from the Inflection Point of Legalization

By Alicia Ely Yamin

In December of 2020, Argentina’s Congress passed Law 27.610, which overhauled the country’s previously restrictive legal framework on abortion. Law 27.610, “Access to Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy,” created two kinds of legal abortion: (i) IVE (its acronym in Spanish, which translates to “Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy”), which allows any person to request an abortion up to 14 weeks gestation; and (ii) ILE (which stands for “Legal Interruption of Pregnancy”), which makes abortion available at any point in a pregnancy for cases involving rape, and where there is a threat to the life or “integral health” of the pregnant person.

Around the world, when countries have taken steps to liberalize abortion access, these new laws have proven challenging to implement, as in Ireland and South Africa. As with any country, lessons from Argentina are deeply contextualized. Nonetheless, the Argentine experience offers insights to consider for countries at different stages of abortion struggles.

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ACCRA, GHANA: April 23, 2020 - The testing of samples for the coronavirus in a veterinary lab in Accra, Ghana.

Does It Really Matter How the COVID-19 Pandemic Started?

By Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, much air time and social media space has been allocated to the lab leak vs. natural spillover dispute regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

To summarize briefly, the question is whether the pandemic was caused by a leak from a biosafety level (BSL) four lab in Wuhan, China, or whether it arose naturally as a consequence of a virus jumping from a bat to an animal and then to humans.

Given that the “truth” will likely never be known, and certainly not provable, the question becomes: is it important to seriously consider the lab leak theory?

The answer, I suggest, is an unabashed yes — but not for the reason you might think. The question is important prospectively, not retrospectively. Debating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic is a fool’s errand. Considering laboratory accidents writ large, however, is important, as they remain a potent threat to international biosecurity.

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