USAID will be phasing out its condom distribution program, but, according to Craig Lasher of the Population Action International, "the responsibility for the poor state of family planning programs in the Philippines falls squarely on the Arroyo administration's opposition to modern contraception, supported strongly by the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines." President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagel Arroyo is a devout Catholic and her administration�s policies closely follow that of the Catholic church when it comes to issues of birth control.
In a speech last year, Suneeta Mukherjee, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) representative for the Philippines, said, �In this context, socio-economic development in the Philippines would be virtually impossible unless the country�s rapid population growth is squarely addressed. Four babies are born every minute, 5,000 a day, or almost two million a year. Ten women die every 24 hours from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth � almost entirely preventable causes. Nearly half [1.43 million a year] of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unintended. One third of these unintended pregnancies � about 473,000 � end in abortions, again entirely avoidable if these women had access to reproductive health and family planning information and services."
Media Resources: Washington Post 04/21/08; Daily Women�s Health Policy Report 04/22/08; Feminist Newswire 08/16/07; UNFPA Speeches and Statements 04/17/07; Craig Lasher of Population Action International
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. . . .