Political leaders of 10 African countries this week called for the legalization of safe abortion procedures in an effort to curb maternal mortality among African women. "It is sad to learn that 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion each year and out of these, 30,000 are in Africa," said Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori at a three-day conference addressing human rights and maternal mortality. He and representatives from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia urged African leaders to make a "political commitment" to end unsafe abortion in their countries. funny picturesfunny imagesfunny photosfunny animal picturesfunny dog picturesfunny cat picturesfunny gifs
Some countries have begun to recognize the importance of women's reproductive health to fighting poverty. In Kenya, as many as 15,000 girls drop out of secondary school annually due to unplanned pregnancies. Awori said that, without access to safe termination, "[girls'] personal development is usually curtailed and the nation loses their development potential."
The commitment at the conference to make abortion safe and accessible may reflect an emerging trend across the continent. 21 African countries have ratified a protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa authorizing abortion in cases of rape, incest and maternal health, and two others have signed but not yet ratified it. In addition, policymakers in Mozambique--which has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world--announced in early June that they are considering removing the country's ban on abortion. And on Tuesday, the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance held a mock tribunal on illegal abortions to "publicize the negative consequences of the criminalization of abortion in Kenya," calling the absence of safe abortions in the country a violation of a woman's human rights.
Media Resources: AllAfrica 6/27/07; Feminist Majority Foundation 6/11/07; Kaiser Family Foundation 6/28/07
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. . . .