The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is asking international donors for $5 million to address the specific needs of women in Iraq for the next six months, the BBC reports. Dr. Thoraya Obaid, head of the UNFPA, has voiced concerns that women’s needs are frequently overlooked when providing relief. Women in Iraq give birth to two thousand babies daily, and pregnancy and birth complications are the leading causes of death for women and girls who are displaced in times of military conflict, according to the UNFPA. Some 150,000 expecting Iraqi women will be displaced or affected negatively by the current war, and over 20,000 women will need urgent assistance with high-risk pregnancies, such as the case of delivering caesareans, BBC reports. Stress derived from military conflict increases the number of miscarriages, and Iraqi women need treatment to avoid later infertility or fatal infections.
The war is already taking a drastic toll on the lives of Iraqi women. On Monday, American troops killed seven women and children in a checkpoint in Najaf, stating that the driver of the vehicle failed to stop after warning shots were fired, the Boston Globe reports. However, a reporter from the Washington Post who was embedded with the unit stated that the commander in charge of the troops criticized his soldiers for not firing a warning shot early enough. Yesterday, US missiles hit a Red Crescent maternity hospital in Baghdad as well as other civilian buildings, killing several people. The Red Crescent told Reutersthat 10 patients and staff were wounded, but that most of the pregnant women had been moved to other hospitals.
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. . . .