Women's health was a priority concern in 2007, as global donors, international agencies, and influential private foundations realized that investing in women's health is investing in the world.
From new commitments to sex education programs to progress on securing a women's right to abortion, these ten developments show that women's health was a priority concern in 2007, and will continue to require our attention and dedication in 2008.
1. GLOBAL HIV INITIATIVES PRIORITIZE WOMEN
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria decides to develop gender policy to encourage and support national AIDS control programs to invest in girls and women. more>>
2. HEALTH AND RIGHTS TRUMP ABORTION BANS
Mexico City's legislature legalized abortion, making it the largest Latin American city to allow abortion. In the first 100 days following legalization, doctors performed some 1,500 legal abortions with no fatalities, compared to an estimated 3,500 deaths from unsafe abortion in the year before legalization. more>>
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3. MATERNAL DEATHS MADE A GLOBAL PRIORITY
Global donors pledge new funds to end more than half a million deaths and 10 million injuries-annually, including $1 billion over ten years from Norway, $175 million over three years from the Netherlands, and $200 million over five years from the United Kingdom. more>>
4. "ABSTINENCE-ONLY" GETS A FAILING GRADE, AGAIN
Two new reviews of "abstinence-only" sex education found no evidence of the effectiveness of this approach in preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. more>>
5. NIGERIA SUPPORTS SEXUAL RIGHTS
Under pressure from a coalition of NGOs, the Nigerian Parliament rejected an anti-gay bill, citing converns over possible human rights violations and recognizing its encouragement of far-reaching discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. more>>
6. STATES ENSURE ACCESS TO EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
Several states, including Connecticut, Oregon, and Colorado mandated hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to inform sexual assault survivors about emergency contraception (EC) and make it available upon request. more>>
7. NEW HAMPSHIRE RESPECTS THE RIGHTS OF MINORS
In June, New Hampshire repealed a law requiring health care providers to notify parents at least 48 hours before providing an abortion to a woman under the age of 18. Alaska followed suit in November when its State Supreme Court declared a similar law unconstitutional. more>>
8. SEX EDUCATION IN INDIA GOES NATIONAL
Faced with an estimated 2.5 million HIV cases, India's national government recommended twice weekly sex education classes for students 14 to 18. more>>
9. MORE U.S. STATES MANDATE PRESCRIPTION EQUITY
Oregon joins 26 other states in requiring that health insurance plans include contraceptives in prescription drug coverage. Many insurers refuse to cover contraception, even though they cover drugs like Viagra. Supporters say the bill, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, will affect nearly 1.5 million women. more>>
10. SCIENTISTS ADVANCE WOMEN-INITIATED HIV PREVENTION
PATH, a nonprofit research group based in Seattle, recently designed a cheaper and improved female condom, which is the only female-initiated method to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy and allows women greater control over safe-sex negotiations. more>>