National Consumers League

Women’s health groups join opposition to State Department banning of terms

November 21, 2018

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC--Seven national women’s health groups have joined the chorus of those calling on Secretary Mike Pompeo and the Department of State to reconsider a proposed ban on decades’ old terminology dealing with sexual and reproductive health issues. Responding to reports in Politico, the groups expressed “deep concern” that diplomats around the world would be barred from using the terms “sexual and reproductive health” and “comprehensive sexuality education.” The groups signing the letter to Secretary Pompeo include the North American Menopause Society, the National Consumers League, American Medical Women’s Association, American Sexual Health Association, the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, Healthy Women, and the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health.

The groups wrote in their letter, “This proposal is counter-productive, banning widely accepted language that has been in use for decades. We strongly oppose any such change.”

The groups also noted that “sexual and reproductive health” encompasses a broad array of issues affecting both women and men, including pregnancy, prepartum and postpartum care, maternal and perinatal health, perimenopause and menopause issues, puberty issues, pap smears and cervical cancer testing, contraception, abortion, Ebola, Zika, stillbirths, female genital mutilation, infertility, adolescents and sex education, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases including GC and Chlamydia (both on the rise according to the Centers for Disease Control) and HIV prevention, testing and treatment, posttraumatic stress syndrome, depression related to hormone changes, and importantly, violence against women.

The groups are joining a chorus of others, including five members of the House of Representatives who wrote last week to Secretary Pompeo: “It is critical the U.S. continue its leadership in helping to save millions of lives and protect Americans from infectious threats."

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