WHO Panel Discusses Global State of Reproductive, Sexual Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored a news conference last week at the National Press Club to bring attention to the declining status of sexual and reproductive health in the global development agenda. A panel of health policy experts discussed the release of a series published by Lancet, a UK medical journal, that provides data on the lack of availability of and the decline of financial support for reproductive healthcare. The journal also raised concerns about the increased political interference and the reluctance of governments to tackle issues regarding poor reproductive healthcare in developing countries.
According to the panel, the reproductive community has lost support and has become further isolated because sexual and reproductive health remains a controversial issue. More and more, the already small amount of monetary support and aid is being allocated for more visible and less controversial issues like HIV/AIDS. According to Maurice Middleberg, vice president for public policy at the Global Health Council, the fact that "sexual and reproductive health has become a woman�s issue" further weakens support from the global community. Middleberg recommends cultivating allies and "building bridges" with other groups and recasting sexual and reproductive health so that it is seen as a "human issue."
For the past five years, the United States has withheld money that Congress allocated for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In September 2006, President Bush blocked $34 million from going to the UNFPA, which uses its funds to lower infant and maternal mortality, increase access to contraceptive services, and decrease the incidence of obstetric fistula. The US has withheld a total of $161 million of pledge funds.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .