21 Leaders for the 21st Century Awards Gala
It is thrilling to receive this honor from Women’s eNews. The work you do to bring the stories and experiences of women throughout the world is incredibly valuable, particularly in a world where our voices are too often relegated to the back pages or omitted altogether. Thank you.
To my fellow honorees: congratulations. It is a privilege to work side-by-side with all of you to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere.
Latin America and the Caribbean—the region I am from and where I work—has the undistinguished honor of having the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. It also has some of the highest rates of unsafe abortion: 95% of all abortions in Latin America are performed in unsafe conditions.
I regret to tell you that today a young woman in Latin America died from a botched abortion. Her children will be deprived of her love and all that she would do to help them live fulfilling lives. Her family will lose her contributions to their well-being and success. Her country will lose her productivity, and the whole world will suffer as a result of the denial of her human rights.
I accept this award in the name of that anonymous woman.
In accepting this award in her name, I also commit the rest of my life to ensuring all young women are able to obtain the information and health services they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies and the means to interrupt an unwanted pregnancy safely.
I commit the rest of my life to fighting unjust laws that fly in the face of public health.
Finally, I commit the rest of my life to creating a world in which the rights of all people are upheld. Because that is a world we can all be proud of.