International Call for Improved Women's Health, Gates Foundation Donates $1.5 Billion
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a new joint collaboration to address women's and children's health during his opening address for the second global Women Deliver conference this week in Washington, DC. The collaboration, supported most notably by the Gates Foundation and their recent $1.5 billion pledge, will include a push to focus on women's health issues at the Group of Twenty meeting occurring in Canada later this month.
Ban and Gates Foundation co-founder Melinda Gates revealed a comprehensive five-year plan to assist and improve women's maternal health, family planning, access to contraception, nutrition, and vaccination needs, reports Reuters Reuters.
Ban acknowledged that lack of health care was a result of discrimination against women, saying, "the women and children are always last in line for health issues." He continued, "It's just morally unacceptable...this is a real human rights issue," reported Reuters. Ban expressed hope that the US will lead the way, both financially and politically, in the push for improved global women's health, but recognized the need for poorer countries to join the effort. Ban suggested that developing countries promise health issues at least 15 percent of their national budget. Gates reiterated, "this is a government issue, and it is going to take large scale government funding to make it work," reported Reuters.
The three day Women Deliver conference is the largest meeting on international maternal health to occur in the past ten years with some 3,500 attendees. According to a media advisory released by the event, the conference is designed to gather global leaders to review recent maternal health trends, discuss challenges to women's health, and "underscore the priority for funding health services for women and girls worldwide."
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation 6/7/10; Reuters 6/8/10; Women Deliver Media Advisory 6/7/10
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .