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IN THE CORRIDORS

Working Group II did not meet yesterday to provide time for informal consultations on Chapter IV (Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women), Chapter V (The Family, Its Roles, Composition and Structure) and Chapter VI (Population Growth and Structure). It was hoped that these consultations would enable delegates to resolve outstanding concerns in time for the second reading of these chapters today and tomorrow. Some observers had expressed satisfaction with the spirit of goodwill and compromise that characterized these consultations.

The EU circulated its draft amendments for Chapter VII (Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health and Family Planning) and Chapter VIII (Health and Mortality) on Tuesday. Some of the key EU proposed changes for Chapter VII include reference to cancers of the reproductive system in 7.4 (reproductive health care) and the importance of individuals and couples in exercising their right to have children by choice and not chance in 7.13 (principle of freedom of choice in family planning).

Some of the EU's proposed changes for Chapter VIII include reference to: the need to incorporate the social dimension in the design of structural adjustment programmes in 8.2 (basis for action); the responsibilities of parents, and not just women, as primary custodians of family health needs in 8.6 (role of women as custodians); introduction of health care insurance systems in 8.7 (expansion of health care delivery); further measures to provide safe and legal abortion to be determined only at the national level through policy and legislative processes that reflect the diversity of views on the issue; and promotion of non-discriminatory attitudes towards peoples with HIV and AIDS. It is expected that the Holy See's response on these two chapters will be ready today. The US is expected to have its draft amendments ready as well by this morning. Some observers expect stronger US language on the expansion of reproductive health rights.

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