In Pakistan, a new hotline that educates women about abortion options was launched yesterday, but has already sparked controversy. The hotline plans to give women information about Misoprostol, a drug available by prescription to treat gastric ulcers, to safely and effectively induce abortion and also how "to prevent dangerous hemorrhaging after giving birth" according to Women on Waves. Trained staff will also provide abortion information in rural areas. The hotline was founded by several Pakistani women's groups in conjunction with Women on Waves, a Dutch non-profit.
In Pakistan, abortion is illegal unless the mother's life is in danger and social stigma regarding unplanned or unwanted pregnancies has contributed to a thriving unsafe underground abortion network. The Population Council reports in 2008 (see PDF) that 320 maternal deaths occur per 100,000 live births in Pakistan compared to 11 per 100,000 in the US.
Shaista Gohir, executive director of the Muslim Women's Network told the Independent, "While the debate continues on whether terminating a pregnancy is allowed or not, and under what conditions, thousands of women are dying as a result of unsafe backstreet abortions...The Pakistani government is failing in its duty to provide adequate family planning services."
Media Resources: Feminist News Wire 6/18/09; Independent UK 6/27/10; Population Council 2008; Women on Waves
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .