In another global roundup, a quick look at access to family planning around the world.
In Ethiopia, maternal mortality is still a key issue for the country, and a greater focus needs to be put on contraception to combat this problem, according to Reuters Alertnet:
Although the workers are trained in the use of a subcutaneous contraceptive rod that lasts two years, contraceptive use remains low. “More than seven in 10 women who want to avoid pregnancy either do not practise contraception or use a relatively ineffective traditional method. These women can be said to have an unmet need for modern contraception,” stated a July report by the Guttmacher Institute and the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. [http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/IB-Contraceptive-Needs-Ethiopia.pdf ]
“Expanding contraceptive use is… crucial to limiting women’s exposure to the general risks inherent in pregnancy and childbearing and to enabling women to avoid high-risk births in particular.”
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Such a message is a hard-sell in some parts of the country, such as the Somali region, where just 9 percent of women said they had had an “unintended” pregnancy, against a rate of 72 percent in the capital, Addis Ababa. “
Having only a few children or controlling birth is not something we like. We don’t want to stop giving birth because then the husband can go and get a new and young wife,” Fadumo Dayib, a Jijiga resident, told IRIN.
“Children also assist with farming and taking care of the animals. When one gets more children one gets more resources.”
More women want to space their births than to stop childbearing altogether, noted a 2009 Ethiopian Society of Population Studies report [ http://ethiopia.unfpa.org/drive/Fertility.pdf].
The report also noted that kin support systems and the authority of clan leaders in regions such as Afar, Somali, Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz to ostracize those “who try to alter the high values attached to procreation” encouraged large family sizes.
In areas with limited health services, a woman who loses a child is more likely to conceive again, or at least try to. “Family planning is a key pillar of safe motherhood,” said USAID’s Bartlett. “It is a tool, [but] not [for] one and all as women will still want to have babies, and [some] will develop complications, thus the need for emergency obstetric care at the lowest levels.”
Contraception and family planning is at the center of debate in the Philippines as well, where advocates for reproductive health continue to fight fot the “RH Law,” which has been on hold since 2001. ABS-CBN has published a list of 10 reasons why the law needs to be passed, with perhaps the biggest being number six:
Increased access to information and services on modern contraceptive methods will reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, eliminate the need for abortion, and prevent maternal deaths. It is unfortunate though that the proposed law that could reduce the number of abortions is being opposed by fundamentalist groups.
In the Philippines, there are half a million women who induce abortion procedures every year, 79,000 women who are admitted to hospitals for complications from unsafe abortion and there are 800 women dying from unsafe abortion.
One-third of unintended pregnancies end in abortion and twelve percent of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion. The latest Philippine statistics on abortion also show the following profile of women who induce abortion: nine in ten women are married or in a consensual union; more than half have at least three children; two-thirds are poor; nearly 90% are Catholic.
But lack of contraception and reproductive awareness isn’t just a problem for those who are planning families, but for also another growing group — sexually active young teens.
Western Australia has seen a shocking number of early teens and even preteens having abortions, a number that has doubled in the last six years. The number of girls getting pregnant and seeking abortion in the area has jumped from 20 to 44, according to the International Business Herald.
Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney said having an abortion was a difficult choice for any teenager.
“These situations are never easy to deal with for the people concerned and it is up to the young woman, her parents and the doctor concerned,” she said.
Ms McSweeney said sex education in schools was one of the best ways to prevent teenage abortions.
She joined Health Minister Kim Hames and Education Minister Liz Constable last year in a commitment to overhaul sex education in schools.
They are yet to make any major announcement following the commitment.
Opposition child protection spokeswoman Sue Ellery called on the Government to reveal its plans for improving sex education.
“This Government is big on talk but slow to act,” she said. “We need to invest in better and more effective education for young children about sexual relationships.
“We need to be a lot more pro-active in making sure that all young people know about contraception.”
Mini-Roundup: Susan B. Anthony List comes to town to chastise a pro-life, female politician, while at the same time explaining that there needs to be more pro-life, female politicians in Congress.
August 13, 2010
Kenya: US Clears Ranneberger of ‘Promoting Abortion’ Charge – AllAfrica.com
Supporters OK with abortion law ruling – News Sentinel
Federal judge blocks part of La.’s new abortion law – The INDsider
King: End ‘perverse pro-choice message’ by cutting family planning funds – Iowa Independent
Judge Blocks Louisiana Abortion Law – Ms. Magazine
Calif school settles suit with anti-abortion girl – San Jose Mercury News
FDA approves ‘ella’ for use as emergency contraception – Washington Post
Calif. school settles suit with anti-abortion girl – The Associated Press
FDA Approves 5-Day Emergency Contraceptive – New York Times
King inappropriately uses wedge issue to attack family planning, group says – Iowa Independent
Group claims health care legislation funds abortions – Evening News and Tribune
Abortion Clinic Bomb Scare – KOKI FOX 23
FDA approves ella as 5-day-after emergency contraceptive – Washington Post
Reader Question: Why Don’t Priests Preach About Birth Control? – About – News & Issues
Latinas Rallying For Reproductive Justice – ColorLines magazine
Researchers Studying HIV Prevention Pill – cbs4denver.com
August 14, 2010
School settles suit with anti-abortion girl – abc7.com
Pro-Lifers Blast FDA Approval of ‘Abortion Drug’ Ella – Christian Post
Record number of young WA girls are having abortions – NEWS.com.au
Anti-abortion leader questions NJ centers’ billing – Asbury Park Press
Ireland’s weakened economy provokes new abortion crisis – Independent
The tiny tablet that could – Malaysia Star
Hands on Wisconsin: Diocese-approved birth control– Madison.com
August 15, 2010
Hughes downplays fellow speaker at rally – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Congress needs more pro-life women – Jackson Sun
FDA Approves Emergency Contraceptive – BusinessWeek
WA girls as young as 12 having abortion – International Business Times AU
Abortion cases roof-high among WA teen girls – International Business Times AU
Abbott attacks GetUp! over abortion-comment ad – Sydney Morning Herald
Ireland’s weak economy provokes new abortion crisis – Belfast Telegraph
“Reasons Why We Need the RH Law” – ABS CBN News
Breast milk revolution can help babies – Global Times
August 16, 2010
“A David vs. Goliath battle” – California Catholic Daily
Abortion Stops a Beating Heart – Human Events
“Right to speak out against the barbarism of on-demand abortion” – California Catholic Daily
Recession Might Limit Irish Women’s Access To Safe Abortion – Medical News Today
When is abortion legitimate? – Helium
FDA OKs New Five-Day ‘Abortion Drug’ – Christian Broadcasting Network
August is National Family Planning Month – Philippine Information Agency
ETHIOPIA: Tackling the perils of pregnancy – Reuters AlertNet
Tackling cancer among poor doesn’t have to cost dear – Reuters Africa
Agency targeting STDs in women – WatertownDailyTimes.com