A UN report (PDF) released last week shows that worldwide maternal deaths declined by 47 percent from 1990 to 2010. In 1990, there were 543,000 maternal deaths and that number dropped to 287,000 in 2010. The report found that 99 percent of maternal deaths occurred in developing countries and one third of all maternal deaths occurred in India and Nigeria. It also states that most of maternal deaths were preventable.
Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the UN Population Fund said "I am very pleased to see that the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth continues to decline. This shows that the enhanced effort of countries, supported by UNFPA and other development partners, is paying off. But we can't stop there. Our work must continue to make every pregnancy wanted and every childbirth safe."
The report defines maternal death as death "occurring during pregnancy or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes." The study was conducted by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, and the World Bank.
Media Resources: New York Times 5/16/12; AP 5/16/12; UN News Service 5/16/12
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .