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Latin American Nations Taking Steps To Improve Access To Abortion

Noting this month marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s landmark case on the issue of abortion, writer and advocate Mandy Van Deven writes in a GlobalPost commentary that the decision “provided a framework for sexual and reproductive rights used by advocates from San Francisco to…

Relaxation Of China’s ‘One-Child Policy’ Possible Despite Family Planning Minister’s Comments, Reuters Reports

“China could be considering relaxing its … one-child policy,” which “is increasingly being seen as an impediment to growth and the harbinger of social problems,” such as a declining workforce, Reuters reports. “Expectations that Beijing will ease the restrictions, by gradually allowing couples to have two children, have been building…

Examining Family Planning In Malawi Under President Banda

Author and strategist Courtney Martin writes in a post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog about her experience during a trip to Malawi with the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, led by former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, to visit “President Joyce Banda…

China To Maintain Current Family Planning Policy, Minister Says

“China will stick with its current family planning policy to maintain the country’s low birthrate but will make an effort to fine-tune it, … Wang Xia, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, [said] at a national conference in Beijing on Monday amid widespread speculation that the one-child…

CSIS Talks With Malawi President Banda About Women’s Health, Empowerment

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) “wanted to learn more about how women leaders in Africa are bringing new attention to women’s health and empowerment in their own countries, and to bring those voices into the discussion about U.S. policy priorities for women’s global health,” so a small…

Kaiser Family Foundation Publishes Report On Donor Funding For Health In Low- & Middle-Income Countries

The Kaiser Family Foundation on Wednesday published a new report (.pdf), titled “Donor Funding for Health in Low- & Middle-Income Countries, 2002-2010,” that “tracks the most recently available data on funding from donor governments, including the United States, and from multilateral institutions for health in low- and middle-income countries,” according to the report summary.…

International Family Planning Focus In 2013

“In many ways, 2012 was a banner year for international family planning and reproductive health,” Philip Harvey, president and co-founder of DKT International, and Christopher Purdy, executive vice president of DKT International, write in a post in RH Reality Check, highlighting the London Family Planning Summit and noting contraception “even became an issue in the U.S. presidential election.” Looking forward to 2013, they write that the focus will remain on commitments from the London Family Planning Summit, the role of the private sector in the delivery of products and services, new contraceptive technologies, access to medical abortion, and family planning aid to middle-income countries (1/3).

New York Times Profiles Work Of Abortion Hotline In Chile

The New York Times profiles the Safe Abortion Hot Line in Chile, where abortion has been entirely illegal since 1989. Thirty volunteers throughout Chile operate the telephone hotline, which takes “tense calls from women seeking information about abortion every evening from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.,” the newspaper writes, adding the volunteers have taken “more than 12,000 calls so far, and they continue rolling in at a steady clip.” The newspaper examines the history of abortion laws in Chile and several other countries in South America; says the country’s Ministry of Women began its own hotline to “answer calls from men or women looking for information or support when facing what the ministry calls an ‘abortion situation’ or ‘post-abortion syndrome'”; describes how the drug misoprostol, which “was taken off pharmacy shelves in Chile under Michelle Bachelet, the former president,” who now heads U.N. Women, is used for safe medical abortions; and discusses the establishment of abortion hotlines in Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela by the group Women on Waves (Nelsen, 1/3).

Pushing 14 Years For Philippines Reproductive Health Bill Took ‘Courage’

Jose “Oying” Rimon, deputy director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Ben de Leon, president of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, Inc., write in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog that the many people who worked for 14 years to pass a reproductive health bill in the Philippines are “profiles in courage.” They continue, “This is the story of these courageous people but it’s also a story of resolution in staying the course, abiding with scientific evidence and facts, and the nobility of staying positive against on onslaught of insults and misinformation.” The bill represents “an unparalleled educational process in which common sense and science prevailed,” they conclude (1/2).

Philippine President Signs Family Planning Bill Into Law

“The Philippine President has signed into law a family-planning bill that was blocked by the Catholic Church for more than a decade,” Al Jazeera reports (12/28). “President Benigno Aquino III signed into a law a bill that promotes contraception and sex education in schools,” the Wall Street Journal writes, adding, “On Saturday, a deputy presidential spokeswoman confirmed in a statement that Mr. Aquino had quietly signed the act into law on Dec. 21, and it will take effect in January, guaranteeing contraceptives will be available to the poorest Filipinos” (Sandique-Carlos, 12/29).