Six Nepalese women die each day from botched illegal abortions according to Panos, an international non-profit organization focusing on the developing world. In October 2001, the Nepalese Lower House of Parliament voted, however, to legalize first trimester abortions and make abortion within 18-weeks of pregnancy legal in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the health of the woman. After four months, though, the National Assembly of Parliament has yet to approve the bill. Abortion rights supporters are now stepping up efforts to get the bill passed, but the struggle is an uphill one.
In addition to challenges faced within the Nepalese government, abortion rights supporters, often associated with family planning clinics, must also overcome the global gag rule, a U.S. policy that prevents clinics receiving U.S. funds from providing, counseling, or promoting abortion even if these activities are funded with separate monies. The Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) and the Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities (CREHPA) have both refused U.S. funds in order to support liberalizing Nepalese abortion laws. According to FPAN Director Dr. Nirmal K. Bista, if he had accepted U.S. funds, “I would be prevented from speaking in my own country…about a healthcare crisis I know first hand.” FPAN lost $250,000 in U.S. funds because of its decision, but Bista is continuing to spread his message. In addition, CREHPA has formed a committee, at the urging of the Nepalese Ministry of Health, to advise the government on measures to end unsafe abortion. Anand Tamang, Director of CREHPA, however predicts, “The global gag rule will [continue to] have a chilling effect as it will discourage NGOs receiving U.S. funds from assisting the Ministry of Health in Sade Motherhood activities, such as public education and advocacy on the proposed abortion law.”
Nepal has the fourth highest maternal death rate in the world. 539 women of reproductive age out of 100,000 die each year from pregnancy-related complications, and the United Nations estimates that 50 percent of these women die from illegal abortions. Desperate women have submitted to abortions performed using sticks or shards of glass, among other horrific methods. Up to 60 percent of women admitted to OB/GYN wards in a Kathmandu hospital suffer from post-botched abortion complications, including hemorrhaging, gangrene, and sepsis. Many of these women will also face criminal charges. A 1997 study showed that 1 in 5 female prisoners in Nepal were imprisoned for abortion.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defundÂ Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).Â Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell asÂ out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of twoÂ heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .