As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “women hold up half the sky.” Yet how can they, if they do not even have a plot of land on which to stand?
African countries are too often lumped together as one big composite of grave statistics and chronic epidemics. Because of this, it’s especially important that the global development and reproductive health communities recognize and amplify those success stories that can be told. Ethiopia is one of them.
Diseases such as diabetes and cancer cause tens of millions of deaths each year, many of which are premature. Once the burden of rich countries, these non-communicable diseases are increasingly affecting individuals in low- and middle-income countries where they impose heavy burdens on already fragile health systems. Among the most deadly—and preventable—of these diseases is cervical cancer.
Senegal provides a fascinating case study in how to work simultaneously to prevent the spread of HIV and meet the family planning needs of women and families. The country’s successes also reveal why now, more than ever, U.S. investments in family planning are critical to empowering women, reducing poverty, reducing transmission of HIV and deaths from AIDS, and saving lives.
Millions of women in Africa and throughout the developing world suffer and die needlessly from unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion. But even the best contraceptive and postabortion services are not enough to prevent this. A third component that is often stigmatized and neglected even in the context of reproductive health programs is safe, legal abortion.
Perhaps the most interesting question in the juxtaposition of women’s rights (or gay rights, or ethnic minority rights) and democracy is not whether some people’s rights are sacrificed for popular rule (they are), but rather whether they should be as a matter of principle.
A confluence of cultural, religious and geographical factors in Ghana create a sensitive environment where issues of sexual and reproductive health, especially abortion, have remained highly taboo for decades.
Ester Abeja wants to show her face as a victim of gang rape, of abduction, of torture and daily violence, to be the image of a woman who has been forced to kill her own child and her own people.
“The one that has an abortion is treated as…as bad, as a killer and…the other one is…is a good woman, she has a good heart, she loves children.” Sound familiar? Let’s face it: individuals who have had abortions or provide them are too often labeled, discriminated against and dehumanized.
Pregnancy shouldn’t leave a woman with a disability and ostracized from her community. And Congress should ensure investments for the more than two million women worldwide that have obstetric fistula.