UNFPA Delivers Reproductive Health Services to Horn of Africa
While visiting refugee camps in Kenya late last week, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin emphasized the dire situation of women as a result of the famine in the Horn of Africa. According to the UNFPA "12.4 million people have been affected by severe drought," and 3.7 million people have been displaced in Somalia. The UNFPA is focusing its support specifically on women because around 80 percent of refugees in these three areas are women. OXFAM estimates that for every 100,000 live births, at least 298 women die in these areas, and the numbers are rising.
Osotimehin stressed the need to provide services to lactating and pregnant women in the Horn of Africa, which is currently facing a dire shortage of medical supplies and reproductive health providers. He stated, "We will do everything to help mothers like you. We are here to look at the ways that mothers affected by the famine can receive better help. UNFPA will scale up its activities and strengthen them towards addressing gender issues such as gender-based violence and uptake of reproductive health services."
In an effort to save the lives of pregnant women and women with newborns in the drought-stricken areas of Somalia and some parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is distributing reproductive healthcare kits. The health kits include sanitary pads, soap, underwear and other hygiene items. UNFPA is also training midwives to provide necessary reproductive health services.
Media Resources: UNFPA 9/2/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/2/11
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. . . .