In African nations where abortion is illegal, tens of thousands of women are forced to undergo back-street abortions that often lead to severe injury or death. Although statistics are difficult to gather because of the government and mediaís hesitance to address the problem, it is estimated that deaths resulting from illegal abortions are twice as high in Africa than in developed countries. At least 20,000 deaths occur in Africa every year, the majority in Nigeria.
A report by the Senegalese government found that 8,000 women had illegal abortions in 1995. According to Babacar Mane, a statistician at the Dentec Hospital in Dakar, the figures may in fact be much higher due to women concealing the fact that they had an illegal abortion.
Asbef, a family planning organization in Grand Yoff, Senegal, reports that education programs that focus on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases have not reduced the number of illegal abortions. Social worker Hawa Talla says the "biggest problem remains people who still believe that sex should not be discussed with young people and pupils. We find ourselves in a very conservative society."
Only South Africa, Tunisia and Cape Verde have fully legalized abortions, according to a recent report by the Center for Population Studies. A total of 26 other nations only permit abortion if a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother and another 23 allow abortions the motherís mental or physical health is in danger. Other nations, such as Senegal, require three doctors to certify the danger to a pregnant womanís health in order to allow an abortion. Although legislation is currently tabled in the Senegalese parliament to allow abortions in the case of rape or incest, the nationís powerful Muslim leaders oppose it.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .