Pacific Island countries are facing “critical” shortages of condoms, which could endanger the region's status as one of the places least affected by HIV/AIDS, the New Zealand Herald reports. "The US withdrawal of its contribution [to the UNFPA] has affected all our programs and is compromising the reproductive health of women and men throughout developing countries,” Catherine Shevlin Pierce, the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Pacific representative, told the Herald..
In October of 2002, Population Action International (PAI) issued a new report that shows that there is a shortage of condoms being donated from richer countries to poorer countries, with a current supply that is about one tenth of what’s needed. The report, entitled “Condoms Count: Meeting the Need in the Era of HIV/AIDS,” shows that at least 8 billion condoms are needed every year to protect people against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in developing countries and Eastern Europe. According to PAI, less than one billion condoms are distributed annually. The report also states that the US is falling behind on policy and funding for the global supply of condoms.
In a move that could cost the lives of tens of thousands of women and children around the globe, President Bush officially withheld $34 million in funds for the UNFPA. Bush’s decision was made based on unsubstantiated claims that the UNFPA supports forced abortions in China. USAID and UNFPA are the two largest sources of condoms for the developing world. Condoms are cheap, reliable, and prevent AIDS and pregnancies. The United Nations has estimated that for every $1 million that was not spent on condoms, there will be 360,000 unwanted pregnancies, 150,000 abortions, 25,000 deaths of children under the age of 5, and 800 maternal deaths, according to the New York Times.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .