Women’s Empowerment Essential to Controlling World Population, Alleviating Poverty
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a new report finding that empowering women and enabling them to control their fertility and reproduction are key to ensuring better environmental conditions and a decrease in global poverty. According to the report, State of World Population 2001, the world population threatens to reach 9.3 billion in 2050. Of these billions, 4.2 billion people will be without adequate resources. Already, an estimated 15 million people die annually from poor sanitation or air and water pollution. UNFPA advises that increasing women’s opportunities and providing for women’s equality and reproductive health are “critically important, both to improve the well-being of growing human populations and to protect the natural world.”
The growth in world population is projected to originate from developing countries, with the least developed countries nearly tripling in size from 668 million to 1.86 billion. The countries are the least equipped to handle population growth as many face severe environmental challenges and food shortages. UNFPA suggests that global action to reduce poverty, improve the status of women, and encourage social development are necessary to protect environmental resources and establish an adequate quality of life. The agency also encouraged more funding for global reproductive health and population programs.
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. . . .