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Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals: Politics, Ethics, Evidence and an ‘Unholy Alliance’


David Hulme


University of Manchester - Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM)

February 1, 2010

BWPI Working Paper No. 105

Abstract:     
This paper provides a chronological account of the evolution of the concept and policy of reproductive health and its initial entry, and subsequent exclusion, from UN declarations. In the 1990s effective lobbying by sexual and reproductive rights activists established reproductive health for all as a UN goal. However, at the Millennium Assembly of 2000 and in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an ‘unholy alliance’ of the Holy See and a handful of conservative Muslim governments managed to keep reproductive health off the agenda. This was successful political manoeuvring for the short-term, but the alliance fell apart and the power of the theoretical and empirical case in support of reproductive health saw it return to the MDGs in 2005. The moral standing of religious institutions, such as the Holy See, is undermined by such opportunistic, short-term political behaviour and, in particular, the ambiguous legal status of the Holy See at the UN is called into question.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: Reproductive health, Sexual and reproductive rights, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN, Development ethics, Religion and development, Holy See, Abortion

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Date posted: February 5, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Hulme, David, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals: Politics, Ethics, Evidence and an ‘Unholy Alliance’ (February 1, 2010). BWPI Working Paper No. 105. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1545907 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1545907

Contact Information

David Hulme (Contact Author)
University of Manchester - Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) ( email )
Manchester M13 9GH
United Kingdom
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