In Afghanistan, women have an average life expectancy of 45 and approximately 1 out of every 11 (which was 1 out of 8) women dies during childbirth. Moreover, Afghan women are 200 more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than from bombings or bullets. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, stated, "Thirty years of war in Afghanistan has destroyed the health care system. Plus there is an acute shortage of clear water and sanitation and adequate nutrition in Afghanistan."
Mary Beth Powers, chief of Save the Children's Newborn and Child Survival Campaign, stated, "In many countries, vaccines, antibiotics, and care during pregnancy are hard to reach and as a result child and maternal death rates are very high. This Mother's Day, world leaders should honor mothers everywhere by ensuring they can celebrate what they want most- healthy children. That means helping all families, moms and babies be within reach of a trained health worker."
The United States placed 31st out of the 44 industrialized countries that were rated, primarily due to its higher maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rate in its highly populated inner city areas. According to the report, women in the US are 7 times more likely to die during childbirth, especially women of color, than women in Italy or Ireland. In addition, 8 out of every 1,000 children born in the US die before reaching age 5. Current maternity leave in Europe, which is paid, far surpasses the Family and Medical Leave Act in the US, which only provides for 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Media Resources: Champions for Children: Why Investing in Maternal and Child Health in Developing Countries is Good for America 5/3/11; Associated Press 5/3/11; National Partnership for Women and Families Fact Sheet; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/9/10
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. . . .