Reuters examines abortion, contraception and sex education in Russia, where, “[t]wo decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, wider availability of contraception and a resurgence of religion have reduced the numbers of abortions overall, but termination remains the top method of birth control in Russia.”
In a post in the National Review’s “The Corner,” Christopher White, international director of operations for the World Youth Alliance, responds to a New York Times opinion piece published Wednesday in which columnist Nicholas Kristof hailed family planning as a solution to “many of the global problems that confront us.” White writes, “Somewhere along [Kristof’s] many trips around the globe … he’s failed to realize the ineffectiveness of contraception and see the real needs of poor populations — particularly mothers and girls.”
“Women’s groups in the Somali town of Galkayo are lobbying the authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland to enact a law banning female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), saying the practice was becoming widespread,” IRIN reports. “Activists say FGM/C causes serious health problems to the women and is against their religion,” according to the news service, which speaks with several advocates pushing for the enactment of an anti-FGM/C law. The advocates note that, in addition to passing a law, “a religious fatwa [decree] proclaiming that FGM is Haram [illegal] under Islam” and “convincing and winning the support of traditional elders and religious leaders was crucial to” their efforts, IRIN writes (11/3).
“Nicaragua is heading for presidential elections, and among the issues dividing people in this mostly Catholic country is abortion,” with advocates marching in the streets of the capital Managua to show support for overturning a ban on therapeutic abortions that was instituted five years ago, Al Jazeera reports. “With one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Latin America, Nicaragua is one of the few countries in the world that bans therapeutic abortions,” the news agency notes (Newman, 11/2).
Bloomberg News Examines How Latin American Countries’ Abortion Policies May Hold Lessons For Republican Presidential Candidates Supporting Abortion Bans In U.S.
Bloomberg News examines abortion laws in Latin America and writes that the region, “home to the world’s strictest abortion laws, may hold lessons for U.S. Republican presidential hopefuls who advocate a ban on the practice” in the U.S. According to Bloomberg, “A consequence of the laws, whatever the moral arguments, is that Latin American women have more ‘unsafe’ abortions per capita than women in any other region, according to the World Health Organization.” The article reports that the U.N. Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Health Anand Grover recently stated that “[s]trict abortion laws ‘consistently generate poor physical health outcomes, resulting in deaths.'”
Nearly Half Of Pregnant Women In Southern China’s Poor Areas Do Not Get Tested For Syphilis, Study Shows
“Nearly half of pregnant women do not get tested for syphilis in poor areas of southern China where the sexually transmitted disease has seen a resurgence, researchers said Wednesday” in a study published in the WHO’s November 2011 Bulletin, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. Pregnant women with syphilis can miscarry, have stillbirths or their infants can have congenital defects, the news service notes. According to the AP, the study “found that more than 40 percent of about 125,000 mothers-to-be in Guangdong province were not tested for syphilis in 2008, mostly due to a lack of health facilities in rural areas.” The study noted that “several provincial and national programs to improve testing have been put in place” since the study was conducted, the AP writes (Wong, 11/1).
“A $430 million fund which will give Zimbabwean children and pregnant women free medical care at public hospitals was launched Monday with the help of the E.U. and UNICEF,” Agence France-Press reports. “The Zimbabwe health care system which has collapsed from years of economic crisis requires $436 million over the next five years to improve capacity, particularly in the delivery of maternal care, according to UNICEF,” AFP notes.
As part of a special report called “Child Brides,” GlobalPost features a two-part series looking at child marriage in Nepal. “The practice carries with it devastating consequences for young girls’ health and wellbeing, child advocates say, and yet the social, economic and cultural pressures associated with the tradition make it difficult to end. Officially, it is against the law to marry under the age of 20, but these laws go ignored, particularly in remote areas. The child marriage rate is dropping in Nepal, yet the practice is still common among poor, rural families,” according to the first article (Win, 10/30). The second article looks at how Nepalese women who marry young have reduced opportunities to receive a formal education (Win, 10/30).
This report, titled “Improving Women’s Heath in South Africa: Opportunities for PEPFAR,” by Janet Fleischman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that with “major change … unfolding in health and HIV services in South Africa,” “[t]he United States can find feasible, flexible ways to support” the decentralization…
“The shortage of health workers in Uganda is a ‘crisis,’ says the Minister of Health, and activists say expectant mothers are bearing the brunt of the country’s staffing deficiency,” IRIN reports. “Just 56 percent of Uganda’s available health positions are filled,” the news service writes, adding, “A parliamentary committee’s recent attempt to redirect 75 billion Ugandan shillings — about US$27.5 million — out of a national budget of more than 10 trillion shillings ($3.6 billion) towards hiring enough health workers was rebuffed in September.”