The number of women and adolescents worldwide lacking access to information about family planning and reproductive health services is probably in the hundreds of millions – much higher than official United Nations estimates. According to 1997 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates, this number is around 150 million women. Population Action International reports this number is more than 350 million women. In the year 2000, nearly 3.5 million deaths in the world stemmed from poor or nonexistent reproductive health services (UNFPA). In addition, the Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates that of 210 million pregnancies each year, at least 62-80 million are unintended and 46 million result in abortion. Out of 514,000 childbirth or pregnancy-related deaths each year, some 80,000 result from complications of unsafe, mostly illegal abortion (PAI, "A World of Difference" 2001). Some experts place the number of deaths due to botched illegal abortions much higher, at 200,000 per year.
Much of the data collected on family planning and reproductive health services in poor countries applies to married women and ignores adolescents and unmarried women. Many poor countries have inadequate health information reporting systems. Where abortion is illegal, the level of injury and death from unsafe abortion is often grossly underreported. At the 1994 United Nations Conference on Population and Development, 179 countries agreed that $17 billion per year would be required to provide universal comprehensive reproductive health care services for women around the world, including family planning. By the year 2015, $22 billion per year would be required. Up to 2/3 of this money was expected to come from developing countries.
While developing countries are providing most of their share of needed resources, support from international donors is less than half of the $5.7 billion called for in 2000. In addition, the 1994 estimates only included modest resources needed for HIV/AIDS prevention, leaving a significant gap in funding for the treatment of people living with AIDS because of the rapidly advancing epidemic in developing countries (UNFPA, "State of the World Population" 2000).
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. . . .