16 Countries Commit to Reducing Maternal Mortality
Late last week, 16 countries (see list here), 9 of which are from the African continent, pledged their commitments to reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality, as part of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. The countries, supported by UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, the World Bank, and WHO, will focus on promoting increased contraceptive use, better access to obstetric care, immunizations, and the prevention of mother to child HIV transmission.
Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director stated, "Focusing on the women and children in greatest need is not only the right thing to do, it moves us faster and most cost-effectively towards meeting the health Millennium Development Goals. By choosing to redouble their efforts on maternal and child health, these 16 nations are not only saving lives, they are making an investment in their future."
Launched in September 2010, the Global Strategy aims to reduce maternal and child death in developing nations. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank released a report in September stating that although maternal mortality rates have decreased by 34 percent since 1990, the decline in the rate of pregnancy-related deaths is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal target for 2015. Currently, there are approximately 1,000 maternal deaths per day caused by easily preventable conditions that include severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion.
Media Resources: UNFPA Statement 5/20/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/2/11
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. . . .