Roundup: Birthing Women in Gaza Lack Medical Attention; Judging Bush’s Legacy on Global AIDS

Emily Douglas

Birthing women in Gaza's maternity wards lack care; judging President Bush's legacy on AIDS; who will benefit from the stimulus?; economic downturn limits hopes for growing families; Alaska legislature to consider parental consent legislation; evangelicals take on trafficking.

Birthing Women in Gaza’s Maternity Wards Lack Care

Fuel, power, and expert medical care are all in short supply
in Gaza, reports Women’s eNews,
where Israeli air strikes and a ground incursion are putting pregnant and birthing women and newborn infants at risk:

On the ground, in Gaza,
maternal health care and related medical support stand frozen until further
notice. Nurses and doctors that normally work in the maternity wards have been
redirected to overcrowded emergency rooms. Pregnant women told Women’s eNews
they are being turned away at the door…

"Our staff isn’t able to work effectively under
electricity power shortage," said Dr. Hasan Al Louh, chief of the
maternity unit. "Most of Gaza’s
hospitals rely mainly on power generators. They are threatened with a complete
collapse if problems arise with the generator machines, putting at risk our
patients and these babies’ lives."

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Judging President Bush’s Legacy on AIDS

The Washington
offers an in-depth look into President Bush’s international AIDS work,
talking to both grateful grassroots activists abroad and critics at home and
in the field. Some article highlights:

PEPFAR’s biggest single success story is the fortyfold increase
in the number of Africans receiving life-prolonging medication in the past five

There continue to be detractors
who say the U.S. administration should have channeled the money through the
U.N.; that it has placed too much emphasis on faith-based groups and
abstinence; that it has trampled on women’s health by shunning anything associated
with abortions; that it has concentrated on AIDS treatment at the expense of
prevention; and that it has diverted attention away from bigger killers like
pneumonia and diarrhea." […]

US Global AIDS
Coordinator told the reporter, "Dybul also says it is unfair to accuse the U.S. of
overemphasizing abstinence because PEPFAR is a major supplier of condoms to the
targeted African countries. For instance, PEPFAR figures show 60 million
condoms going to Zambia, 40
million to Rwanda, 145
million to Ethiopia
in the past five years."  "Supporters and
critics alike agree that prevention is the weakest link in global AIDS
initiatives. When he launched PEPFAR, Bush said he wanted to prevent 7 million
new infections but it is hard to tell whether that goal has been met."


Who Will Benefit from the Stimulus?

Former Secretary of Labor Robert
Reich says
that "if construction jobs go mainly to white males who already
dominate the construction trades, many people who need jobs the most — women,
minorities, and the poor and long-term unemployed — will be shut out."  A "Green Jobs Corps" is needed, but "I’d
suggest that all contracts entered into with stimulus funds require contractors
to provide at least 20 percent of jobs to the long-term unemployed and to
people withincomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. And at
least 2 percent of project funds should be allocated to such training. In
addition, advantage should be taken of buildings trades apprenticeships — wich
must be fully available to women and minorities."

Economic Downturn Limits Hopes for Growing Families

We’re hearing this from more
and more places – tough economic times are putting hopes of parenting on hold.  Now the Indianapolis
Star reports
on couples who want, but can’t afford, to grow their families.  "A sour economy also has boosted the number
of women seeking free contraceptives at area health clinics, and it has meant
an increase in the number of pregnant women who are considering giving up
children for adoption."  And increase in patient visits at family planning clinics is likely due to "an increase in women seeking to
prevent pregnancies, and an uptick in the number of women who have lost their
insurance coverage after losing their jobs."

Legislature to Consider Parental Consent Legislation

Not just parental notification but parental consent will be
on the table in the Alaska
state legislature’s next legislative session, reports, and
Gov. Sarah Palin is in favor:

"Certainly, if we are a society that mandates
parental consent before our daughters get their ears pierced, or even take a
Tylenol tablet at school, I would think that there would be support both for
parents to have to give consent and be informed anyway before such an invasive
procedure of an abortion would be performed on our underage daughters
also," [Palin] said.

Evangelicals’ Broadening Concerns

USA Today profiles the expanded concerns of the "pro-life"
movement, looking in depth at anti-trafficking work among evangelicals.  "This younger wave will not stick to the
narrow old script – abortion, gays, the erosion of Christian prerogatives in
the public square – that has governed publicly applied evangelicalism since the

On anti-trafficking work:

Still in its relatively infancy,
the anti-trafficking movement is up against a slavery behemoth that has become
the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world (behind only drugs and arms
dealings). Advocacy groups estimate that about 27 million people are enslaved
today in brothels, sweat-shop factories and private homes. The U.S. Justice
Department reports that of the 800,000 humans trafficked across international
borders each year, some 17,500 are sold into slavery in the USA. They work,
mostly, in prostitution and domestic labor.

Will evangelicals’ work on trafficking follow in the Rick Warren tradition — promoting a religiously-based view of a human rights issue at the expense of those they wish to help?

Topics and Tags:

birthing, Childbirth, PEPFAR

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