Indian NGOs Release First Statement Supporting Midwives
At a regional midwifery workshop in New Delhi, hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), multilateral, bilateral, and international NGOs released the first-ever joint statement indicating their commitment to scaling up efforts for "adapting, disseminating, and implementing the confederation's global standards of education, regulation, and professional association," for midwifery. According to the statement, "The second indicator of MDG 5, 'proportion of births attended by skilled health providers' highlights the crucial role of midwives and others with midwifery skills in providing skilled birth attendance to achieve optimal maternal health outcomes."
Geeta Lal, the midwifery coordinator at UNFPA, stated, "The workshop was a landmark for the Asia region, since for the first time, key UN agencies engaged in health, together with major multilateral and bilateral development partners and NGOs, came forward with a strong statement of commitment to support strengthening standards of midwifery education, ensuring skilled human resources for maternal health and jointly working towards the establishment of a professional cadre of midwives."
Midwife advisors, national program officers, donors, and partner organizations were in attendance and discussed the importance of creating a "regional resource center for midwifery; standardize midwifery curriculum and tools based on International Confederation of Midwives competencies and standards of education; and encourage strong advocacy."
Media Resources: UNFPA Statement 12/7/11; Joint Statement 11/28/11
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. . . .