The US House passed a resolution last week recognizing maternal health and child survival as fundamental to the well-being of families and societies, and to global development and prosperity. It requires a greater commitment to reducing maternal mortality both in the US and abroad. The resolution, H. Res. 1022, states that 536,000 women die every year during pregnancy and childbirth (the equivalent of one woman every minute) and that most of these deaths are preventable.
The passing followed a rally held last week in support of the resolution in Washington DC. Congresswomen Lois Capps (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, Hilda Solis (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) were joined at the press conference and rally by UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador Geri Halliwell, CARE Ambassador Christy Turlington and survivors of obstetric fistula.
"The passage of this resolution marks an important turning point in our effort to improve maternal health and reduce the hundreds of thousands of tragic and needless deaths each year... I'm proud that Congress is finally taking this issue seriously, due in no small part to having our first woman Speaker of the House, and I look forward to our work over the next few months and years to improve access to maternal health care, promote health education and increase our investments in effective family planning programs," said Congresswoman Capps in a statement.
Media Resources: H. Res. 1022; Feminist Daily Newswire; Congresswomen Lois Capps Press Release; Women's eNews
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. . . .