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Violence against women and girls is an unacceptable violation of basic human rights. It also is so widespread that ending it must be a global public health priority. An estimated one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner during her lifetime. Intimate partner violence has been shown to increase the risk of HIV infection by around 50%, and violence (and the fear of violence) deters women and girls from seeking services for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
This issue of journal is about reproductive rights, advocacy and changing the law. Papers on abortion cover the role of political parties and political process in changing the law, the role of feminists and doctors in efforts to get hospitals in the context of restrictive law, and efforts to get nurses and other health workers to confront their own prejudices against abortion in order to make service provision women-centred. Two papers delve into the meaning of reproductive health and rights and the role of advocacy in implementing changes in reproductive health law, policies and services.