Volunteers work in a humanitarian aid facility

Abortion pills sent to Ukraine as more reports of Russian rape emerge 2022-04-28 08:29:43

Volunteers work in a humanitarian aid facility

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Abortion pills and emergency contraception are being sent to Ukraine as reports of rape continue to rise since the Russian invasion.

Emergency contraception was widely available in Ukraine, but the war destroyed local supply chains and displaced many Ukrainians.

To meet demand amid increasing reports about Russia’s alleged use of rape as a weapon of war And in the broader turmoil of the war, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) sent some 2,880 packages of emergency contraception, known as the pill, to Ukraine. Russia has denied accusations of rape and other human rights abuses by its soldiers.

Caroline Hickson, regional director of the European IPPF Network, said IPPF had also sent out post-rape kits, which include emergency contraception, pregnancy tests and abortion pills that can be used up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. She said other supplies sent include HIV treatments and intrauterine contraceptive devices.

It is not known exactly how many victims of rape or sexual assault receive the drug. “What we do know is that there is a huge demand from our partners, who are overwhelmed by the number of survivors applying for services,” Hickson said. Newsweek.

“We don’t need data to tell us this is happening. We know that in normal life, violence against women is endemic in Ukraine… so the most important thing for us is to act on attention now, and make sure that medical and psychosocial services are there to support these women.” “.

    Volunteers work in a humanitarian aid facility
Volunteers work at a humanitarian aid facility on April 23, 2022 in Zaporozhye, Ukraine.
Chris McGrath / Getty Images

It’s also important to remember that survivors of rape and sexual assault don’t just need emergency contraception and abortion care, Hickson said.

“There may be a lot of women who find themselves pregnant, and it’s just the worst moment in their lives to be pregnant because they might run away, or they might be displaced, or they’re separated from their families, their supporting structures,” she said. .

“Pregnancy at that moment can be devastating for some women, and they also need access to emergency contraception and abortion-related care… It’s so vital for survivors of violence and it’s also incredibly important.”

Since the beginning of the war United nations UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) has provided more than 88,000 pounds of reproductive health supplies, medicines and “critically needed” equipment to hospitals and mobile teams in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Zaporizhia.

Jaime Nadal, representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine, said in a statement to Newsweek.

Nadal said the UN Population Fund has distributed 33 post-rape kits to 19 hospitals across Ukraine. The agency supports 30 facilities across the country that provide assistance to survivors of gender-based violence.

“The needs of women and girls are growing, but health services for women who have experienced sexual violence, including rape, are scarce on Earth,” Nadal said.

“Facilities have been damaged or destroyed, and resources are being depleted or diverted to respond to the needs of the displaced. Many of the service providers themselves have been displaced.”

“We will continue to work with partners on the ground to prioritize the rights, needs and desires of women who have experienced physical and sexual violence and who seek support and services,” Nadal added.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian Ombudsman for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova said Nine pregnancies resulted from the rape of Ukrainian women and girls During the occupation of the town of Bucha northwest of the capital, Kyiv.

“About 25 girls and women between the ages of 14 and 24 were systematically raped during the occupation in the basement of a house in Bucha,” Denisova said. “Nine of them are pregnant. The Russian soldiers told them that they would rape them to the point that they did not want to have sexual intercourse with any man, to prevent them from having Ukrainian children.”

But Denisova said it was impossible to assess the true scale of sexual assaults by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied attacking civilians since it launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. At a UN Security Council meeting earlier this month, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyansky accused Ukraine and its allies. “A clear intent to present Russian soldiers as sadists and rapists.”

Update 4/28/22, 10:45AM ET: This article has been updated to include additional information and a statement from UNFPA.

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