The maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is the second highest in the world, with 1,700 women dying per 100,000 births and with women giving birth to an average of seven children. While some restrictions on healthcare providers disappeared with the end of Taliban rule, many women are still forced to allow their male relatives to make decisions about their reproductive health. Most Afghan hospitals won’t operate on a woman without the approval of her father or husband.
However, women are slowly receiving better health care under the interim government in Kabul. More women come to hospitals in Afghanistan seeking gynecological health care. The World Health Organization has seen success with its contraception campaign, which has proved enormously popular with women.
Women’s continued access to health care depends in large part on the presence of clinics and healthcare facilities. Therefore the US and UN must provide humanitarian aid and support the Afghan Ministry for Women's Affairs, which is working to establish crucial legal advocacy, education, vocational training, and women's health programs necessary to begin to undue the devastation caused by the Taliban regime and 23 years of unending war.
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. . . .