A clinic dedicated to providing reproductive health services to Afghan women opened its doors in Kabul this past weekend – one of the first to provide comprehensive services since the repressive Taliban regime took over in 1996. Marie Stopes International (MSI), a British-based global reproductive and women’s health partnership, opened the clinic that will provide preventive maternal health care, family planning, child health care and abortions in limited cases to an immediate population of close to 1 million. In addition, MSI will be opening several mini clinics in United Nations Habitat women’s community centers throughout 15 districts of Kabul, which will provide counseling, education and maternal and child health services with referrals to MSI’s main clinic for specialized treatment.
“We looked at the feasibility of opening [an MSI clinic] in Afghanistan some years ago and it was one of the hardest decisions we had to make not to go ahead,” wrote Julie Mundy, regional representative for MSI, in The London Times. “We realized that, because of the attitude of the Taliban, women would be a taking a considerable risk by coming to the clinic. We learned that to prevent a pregnancy, women would stand against walls while sisters of friends smashed them with rocks. To induce an abortion, they used sticks and stones or pummeled their stomachs. Clinics are desperately needed.”
Afghanistan currently has the second highest number of maternal deaths in the world –16,000 women die annually from pregnancy-related causes. Abortion, which was outlawed under the Taliban, is now allowed by the new Afghan government for up to 12 weeks if a woman’s life is at risk. An Afghan management and clinic team will lead MSI’s clinic, with outside support from MSI’s global partnership. The clinic also will be working closely with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, according to MSI.
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .