United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin announced that over the next five years, UNFPA will donate $70 million to Bangladesh to be used for maternal and reproductive health and to end violence against women. Osotimehin stated, "Healthy and educated people are human capital that helps nations fight poverty and promote development. Leaders should help them invest their energies in their nations' progress."
UNFPA declared Bangladesh one if its eight priority countries, where the agency will focus on improving maternal, infant, and child health. Since the 1970s, fertility rates in Bangladesh have dropped dramatically from 6.3 children per woman to approximately 2.5. Moreover, maternal mortality in Bangladesh has decreased by 61 percent in the past 20 years. Although Bangladesh is making the progress necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health, Osotimehin noted that improvements are still necessary to increase health and midwife services for pregnant women, end child marriage, and promote family planning.
Media Resources: UNFPA Statement 8/22/11; The Daily Star 8/20/11
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. . . .