The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently released a report showing that maternal mortality in Iraq has tripled since 1990. According to the report, the number of deaths due to complications in pregnancy or childbirth has risen from 117 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1989 to 310 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2002.
The study found that some of the major causes of maternal deaths have been bleeding, ectopic pregnancies, and prolonged labor. It also pointes out that the number of miscarriages has risen due to stress and exposure to chemical contaminants. According to the report, due to the breakdown of security and lack of access to medical facilities, more than 65 percent of women are giving birth at home.
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the executive director of the UNFPA, has asserted that "the reconstruction effort in Iraq will benefit greatly from rapid improvements in the area of reproductive health," reports IRIN News. Most men and women in Iraq are unaware of family planning methods, there is a lack of contraception available, and there has been an increase in the number of unsafe abortions, reports the UNFPA.
In addition to lack of access to family planning and reproductive health services, the report points out that there has been a substantial increase in the number of cases of sexual violence and abductions of women and girls in Baghdad, and the cases have not been properly reported or investigated.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .