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In South Sudan, Too Many Young Women Dying in Childbirth

Aerial of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, with river Nile on the right.

Women will continue to die far too young in South Sudan if public health strategies fail to reach youth before they become sexually active, and policies fail to address the family planning needs of communities.

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The Cost of a Woman’s Life

I have been asked to suggest how we constructively engage women in Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) issues as “more than patients”, so I have come up with six suggested steps that we might all take together to achieve success.

Developing nations like Kenya have not experienced the overall decrease in maternal mortality enjoyed across the globe. More needs to be done to address the impact of maternal death on families and communities.

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Family Planning Is Key to Healthy Pregnancies and Births

It is crucial to protect and invest in the programs that are needed to ensure that all women, regardless of income or background, can access the affordable care they need to have healthier pregnancies and births.

According to a new report, the United States has the highest first-day death rate in the industrialized world. Addressing this and related problems will require comprehensive efforts to reduce pervasive economic, social, and health disparities.

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You Can’t Have it Both Ways: The Interpretation of Catholic Health Policy and the Consequences for Pregnant Women

(Reuters via Lawyer Herald)

As a committee of the Irish Parliament considers proposals to offer limited legal abortion in Ireland, this paper explores how these issues came together around Savita Halappanavar’s death, the interpretation of Catholic health policy and the consequences for pregnant women.

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The Death of Savita Halappanavar: A Tragedy Leading to Long Overdue Change?

Photo: The Guardian.

Hopefully, the tragedy of Savita will, at least, finally spur the Irish government to issue clearer guidelines that the life of the pregnant woman must be privileged over that of her fetus. But if the thousands demonstrating reflect changes already underway in Irish society—including a growing dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church’s influence—perhaps some day Savita Halappanavar will be remembered as the woman whose death was a turning point in the long struggle for the legalization of abortion in Ireland.

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Irish Law, “Conscience Clauses,” and Needless Death: Three Questions About Savita Halappanavar’s Death

University College Hospital, Galway. Photo: Thejournal.ie.

Numerous questions have arisen in the wake of Savita’s case. Why did this happen? Doesn’t Ireland, a country with otherwise draconian abortion laws, allow abortion to save the life of the mother? Was there any doubt an abortion was necessary to save Savita’s life? Can this happen in the United States? And here are my answers.

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Lack of Contraceptive Access: The Public Health Emergency in Eastern Burma

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A report released today details how the public health emergency in eastern Burma continues to undermine the health and well being of millions of people affected by decades of war. Women in eastern Burma face the worst pregnancy outcomes anywhere in Asia, and access to contraception is virtually nonexistent. 

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Increased Investment in Midwifery Services Can Save 3.6 Million Lives Annually

Thirty-eight of 58 countries surveyed may fail to meet their target of 95 percent coverage by skilled attendants by 2015 unless an additional 120,000 midwives are trained, deployed and retained. A new report also indicates that upgrading midwifery services could save more than 3.6 million lives each year by 2015.

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GOP Salivates at Prospect of Cutting Funds for World’s Poorest Women

The Republican/Tea Party majorities in the House of Representatives are, literally, salivating at the prospect of cutting aid to the world’s poorest women.

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Supporting Mothers Is Sound Foreign Policy

When mothers around the world are supported – by ensuring they have access to family planning – families, communities, and nations flourish.

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