Rwandan Officials Promote Condom Use

Elisabeth Garber-Paul

Just months after the Pope denounced condom use in Africa, Rwanda’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo said that the answer to his country’s high fertility rate, paired with a 52 percent poverty rate, is helping his people to drop the stigma attached to condoms.

Just months after the Pope denounced condom use in Africa, Rwanda’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo said that the answer to his country’s high fertility rate, paired with a 52 percent poverty rate, is helping his people to drop the stigma attached to condoms.

Last Monday, Dr. Ntawukuriryayo hosted an awards ceremony who journalists who were helping to “who have created significant awareness on the use of family planning methods—a prerequisite for development,” according to an article by Irene V. Nambi in Rwanda’s daily The New Times.

“While addressing the media, Ntawukuriryayo, who is also a former health minister argued that emphasizing abstinence is not practical adding that if condoms are within reach for the entire population then the ‘stigma’ about their use will cease to exist.

“‘Condoms are used for family planning. They help the users to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Unfortunately most people still think that they are manufactured for sex workers.’”

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This comes at an important time for Rwanda, which has been trying to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic that currently affects about 2.8 percent of the country’s population, according to a 2008 estimate from the CIA World Factbook.

This also comes at a time when relationships among young women and older men—who are more likely to be infected than their younger counterparts—have become quite common. According to The New Times, one in ten girls have their first sexual experience with someone at least 10 years older. As a result, 20-24 year old girls are five times more likely to be infected with HIV than boys of the same age. In response, the Ministry of Youth has launched a six-month campaign against the “Cross-Generational Relationships,” as they are known.

But while discouraging potentially hazardous relationships will be helpful in the fight, preventing the spread of disease can simply be sex education. As the former Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Ntawukuriryayo understands that increased use of contraceptives will improve the health of Rwanda, decrease the fertility rate (currently around 5.5), and pave the way for successful development.

Afternoon Roundup: What Does the Pope Mean When He Talks Condom-Use?

Amie Newman

It's a short and sweet round-up today!

It’s an amended afternoon round-up today! Sorry for the shortened version but we’ll be back on track tomorrow.

  • Babble.com’s Strollerderby blog released its Top Ten Health Stories of 2010. Among the top of the top? Breastfeeding rates are still considered too low in the United States; health care reform aims to improve maternity coverage and children’s health care but may stomp out abortion access as well.  
  • What exactly did the Pope say – or mean – when he discussed the use of condoms for HIV prevention? The Catholic Church says, today, to stop interpreting his words to mean an official change in doctrine concerning condom use. That is, condoms are not okay for contraception or birth control or even, says the Church, that using a condom to stop the spread of HIV was a lesser evil. But, mostly, women take note. We should understand that preventing pregnancy, under the Catholic Church, is always evil.

Roundup: Carhart’s Maryland Clinic Opens to a “Pray Out”

Robin Marty

The doors to Dr. Carhart's new clinic in Maryland open today, but anti-choice activists are praying a condo meeting this afternoon may shut it down.

Dr. Leroy Carhart has announced his plans to open multiple new clinics throughout the country now that his Nebraska clinic will no longer be allowed to provide abortions to women past 22 weeks gestation.  The first of these, in Maryland, opens its doors today, and the reception is, frankly, about what you would expect.

Via the Baltimore Sun:

Anti- abortion activists say they plan to protest at a Germantown clinic staffed by a Nebraska late-term abortion doctor.

Organizers say activists, clergy and others plan to picket Monday morning at the Reproductive Health Services clinic in Germantown.

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Dr. LeRoy Carhart has said he wants to ensure more women have access to the procedure by expanding to states where it remains legal. A new Nebraska law does not allow abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The protesters will be a regular feature in front of the clinic site in the hopes that they can force the new startup to close through pressure from other businesses in the area, who they will also try to disrupt business for, according to the Washington Post.

Organizers said they plan to stage regular, peaceful demonstrations as long as Carhart is working at the clinic. By holding regular protests, they hope other businesses in the office park will put pressure on Carhart to leave, [Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition] said.

Some business owners in the office park said news of Carhart’s planned arrival took them by surprise. They said they were unhappy about the planned protests.

“I don’t like looking at those bloody signs,” said lawyer Alice Pare, whose office faces the public sidewalk where demonstrators are allowed to gather. “They get kind of vulgar.”

Dentist Leslie Sabo, whose office faces the same sidewalk, said he was concerned about “the type of notoriety” associated with Carhart and the business impact of prolonged protests.

Mahoney, of the Christian Defense Coalition, said his organization has been contacted by business owners in the office condominium association who are upset about publicity surrounding Carhart. He declined to identify them.

At their request, his organization is providing legal assistance to the condo association to determine whether it can block Carhart from working at the clinic, he said.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists are planning to “pray out Carhart,” but they will also hit his condo association board meeting today, just in case that helps, too.

Keep up the prayers! We found out last night that the Condo Association
that controls the Business Park where Carhart will be practicing is having an
EMERGENCY
meeting on Monday at 12noon…DURING OUR PRAYER VIGIL!
Ask God to move on that meeting and lead the association to not only
Kick Out Carhart, but Kick Out the Abortion Center.

Please join us at the event on Monday, 11am in Germantown.

In Maryland, abortions are only legal after viability in cases of health problems for fetus and/or mother.  So who would Dr. Carhart be assisting at this new clinic?  Couples like this:

As the article opened, the husband, whom we’ll call Hank, described the three weeks leading up to his and his wife’s final decision that an abortion was necessary. As he depicted his wife, whom we’ll call Molly, grief seemed to seep out of his words. Hank noted her incessant tears in the weeks prior, and it was evident that his heart broke as he watched Molly’s heart break.

The morning finally came in which they were to go to the local women’s clinic. As Hank and Molly stepped out of their car upon their arrival, they were horrified to hear a group of protesters across the street labeling Molly a murderer.

Hank did not go into much detail about the protestors other than to make it clear they were Christians; however, he wrote something I will never forget. “I’ve never believed in heaven or hell. But there is a hell on Earth. Hell is sitting next to the person you love most and listening to her wail hysterically because her heart just broke into a million pieces. Hell is watching her entire body convulse with sobs because she’s being tortured with grief.”

Upon reading this, I was at a loss for words, and my eyes filled with tears.

As I continued reading, my tears only intensified. You see, Molly and Hank had not originally planned on having an abortion at all. Three weeks prior, their unborn baby had been diagnosed with Sirenomelia, a congenital deformity in which the baby’s legs were fused together. What’s worse, the baby would have been born without a kidney or bladder—a zero percent chance of survival. They had finally come to the conclusion that an abortion was necessary, because Molly couldn’t bear the thought of birthing a precious baby only to watch it die hours later.

Mini Roundup:  Need some “different” birth control ideas?  How about a tummy tattoo, or some crocodile poop?

December 6, 2010

December 5, 2010

December 4, 2010

December 3, 2010