In an opinion piece in Population Service International’s “Impact” magazine, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) writes, “Unfortunately, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has empowered extremists with zeal for both broad, haphazard budget cuts and a commitment to rolling back women’s health rights,” adding, “Further reducing or eliminating funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs would mean more unintended pregnancies, more maternal deaths and more children who lose their mothers during childbirth,” as well as “more abortions as fewer women have the ability to control when they become pregnant and how many children they have.” She concludes, “With the global population expected to surpass seven billion, we can only expect that the unmet need for family planning services, which currently exists for an estimated 215 million women globally, will only increase. And unfortunately, so will the health disparities and instability that can result from allowing those needs to go unmet if Congress and the administration do not make this program a priority” (9/15).
Family Planning & Reproductive Health
Women Urged To Use Clinics For Birthing, Family Planning Counseling In Refugee Camps Along Somalia-Kenya Border
IRIN examines how community health workers and international aid organizations, such as Medecins Sans Frontieres and the International Rescue Committee, are working to provide safe and adequate health facilities in refugee camps on the Kenya-Somalia border where women can give birth.
“The United States and British governments have launched a four-year, Shs213.5 billion [US$75 million] project to increase the use of contraceptive services among Ugandans,” Uganda’s Daily Monitor reports. “Through the project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) will provide family planning services in all parts of Uganda,” with Britain contributing 35 million Pound Sterling (US$55 million) and the U.S. contributing US$20 million, the newspaper reports.
Contraceptive intrauterine devices (IUDs), also called coils, “might actually protect women against developing cervical cancer even though they don’t stop the infection that commonly leads to the disease,” according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Oncology, Reuters reports. “The results show that coil use did not affect the risk of [human papillomavirus (HPV)] infection, but was linked to a markedly lower risk of cervix cancer for both major types of the disease — reducing the likelihood of developing squamous-cell carcinoma by 44 percent and adenocarcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma by 54 percent,” the news agency writes.
Speaking at a workshop on maternal morbidity and mortality in Korofidua, Ghana on Thursday, which was organized for journalists in the region, acting Eastern Regional Director of Health Services Larbi Addo challenged the media to help change negative perceptions about pregnancy and child-bearing in an effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the country, GhanaWeb reports. “He said the campaign to reduce maternal mortality was a shared responsibility and asked the media to support the health sector in educating the public on the subject,” the news service reports.
Usha Kiran Tarigopula, deputy director in global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes about the Foundationâ€™s partnership with the state of Bihar, India through the Ananya Alliance “aimed at reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality by 40 percent by 2015,” in this “Inpatient Optimists” blog post, which is part of a series called “Global Conversations on Newborn Health in India.” She writes, “The emphasis is on family planning, pre- and post-delivery care for mothers and their newly born infants, immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, care and nutrition for children up to two years old, and routine immunization. Coverage for treatment of diarrhea and pneumonia, as well as some neglected diseases and sanitation, is also a part of the plan” (9/7).
Former President Of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, On The Importance Of Family Planning As Global Population Approaches 7 Billion
The GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports on an event held on Wednesday at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., entitled “7 Billion: Conversations that Matter,” at which Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile and now the under secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, spoke about the importance of family planning as the global population approaches the seven billion mark.
Though President Barack Obama signed an executive order on his third day in office to “lif[t] the odious ‘global gag rule’ that denied federal money for family planning work abroad to any group that performed abortions or counseled about the procedure, even with its own money,” he left standing a policy that is “an overly restrictive interpretation of the  Helms amendment.” The policy “imposes similar speech restrictions and bans using foreign aid money for abortions — even to save a woman’s life or in cases of rape in war zones like Congo, Sudan and Burma,” a New York Times editorial states.
Family Planning, Contraceptives A National Priority For Saving Women's Lives, U.N. Meeting Participants Say
First ladies, health and finance ministers, and parliamentarians from 12 developing countries participating in the U.N. Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Global Programme to Enhance Reproductive Health Commodity Security, which was launched in 2007, declared at a U.N. meeting held on Wednesday that “voluntary family planning, secured by a steady supply of contraceptives, is a national priority for saving women’s lives,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “More than 215 million women in developing countries want to avoid or space pregnancies but are not using modern methods of contraception, according to the UNFPA,” the news service writes.
“Rwanda’s health ministry has launched a campaign encouraging men to undergo vasectomies, in an effort to curb population growth in Africa’s most densely populated country,” Reuters reports. The government says to compete with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the country’s economy must continue to grow at an average seven to eight percent per year, and to do so, “the birth rate must be below three children per family,” according to the news agency.