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Deaths from Unsafe Abortion Decrease, But Unsafe Abortions On the Rise

Researchers Iqbal Shah and Elisabeth Ahman of the World Health Organization report in the current issue of Reproductive Health Matters that the number of women dying from unsafe abortion has decreased by approximately one-third, from 67,000 in 2003 to 47,000 in 2008. However, the number of unsafe abortions has increased from 19.7 million in 2003 to 21.6 in 2008. WHO explains this increase as due to a greater number of women of reproductive age (15-44) living throughout the world. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Female Community Health Volunteers, Incentives and Safe Abortion Care in Nepal

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

Nestled between China and India, Nepal is a mountainous and mostly rural country that has experienced years of political instability, making transport and communications especially difficult. The rugged terrain often prevents people from accessing health care, and many women give birth at home without the presence of a skilled health worker. In addition, it is common for girls to marry in their teens, which is particularly problematic as young women have an increased risk of pregnancy and childbirth complications. Read more...

New Publications on Contraceptive Use, Access, Abortion, Early Marriage, and Youth

From contraceptive use in Cambodia and Central America and issues of access in Kenya and around the globe, to abortion trends and practices in India and Nigeria and early marriage and reproductive health outcomes in India, to youth policy and services from the WHO European Region - click through to find a variety of new research studies and publications.

Mifepristone and Misoprostol: 10 Years Later

Today is the ten-year anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s approval of the use of the abortion drug mifepristone, also known as RU-486 or the "abortion pill", in combination with the second drug, misoprostol. Marketed as Mifeprix, this alternative to surgical abortion for terminating early pregnancies has seen a substantial increase in use in the past decade, allowing many women a choice between medication or a surgical procedure when seeking an early abortion. While the number of medication abortions and providers offering them increased, the total number of abortions performed in the U.S. declined. However, the expectation that abortion access would improve, especially in rural areas, was not realized, according to a Guttmacher Institute report released last year.

Click here for more information:
Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States
The incidence of abortion in the United States
The effect of mifepristone on abortion access

New Reports Show Regional Disparities Exist for Mexican Women

Two new studies released by the Guttmacher Institute showcase new research on maternal health issues in Mexico. The reports, “Addressing Adolescent Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Mexico: Challenges and Opportunities,” and “Barriers to Safe Motherhood in Mexico,” (reports available in Spanish only) discuss sub-national data on access to sexual and reproductive health resources and maternal mortality rates. Read more...

Making Outpatient Abortion Services a Reality

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver; originally posted at the MHTF Blog

Every year, an estimated 20 million unsafe abortions take place. And of all maternal deaths, unsafe abortion accounts for 13%. Imagine if we could change that. Imagine if we could make a serious dent in the deaths and morbidities that are caused from botched abortions, from unhygienic surgeries, and from unskilled providers.

Now, imagine if we could change that with a few simple, low-cost pills. That’s what the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol are doing for women around the world.

Unmarried Young Indian Women Face Obstacles To Obtaining Early Abortions

A new study released by the Population Council, New Delhi shows that young, unmarried women in India encounter barriers to obtaining an abortion procedure early in their pregnancies.  The study took place in Jharkand and Bihar, surveying 549 unmarried women who had an abortion between 2007 and 2008.   Delayed recognition of pregnancy, lack of awareness that abortion is legal for unmarried women, and lack of support from partners were cited as factors that contributed to women accessing abortions later in their pregnancies. 

The researchers believe these findings emphasize the need for increased sex education programs for unmarried young women in a variety of forums.  Improved programs should work to bolster communication about sexual health between young women and their family members, especially their parents.  These programs should not only include information about reproductive physiology, but also information on access and legal rights to abortion. 

New Report Details Rights Abuses Stemming From Philippine Abortion Ban

The Center for Reproductive Rights released a new report, "Forsaken Lives: The Harmful Impact of the Philippine Criminal Abortion Ban," which illustrates the harmful consequences of the Philippine ban on abortion from a human rights perspective. By criminalizing abortion, the report states, the government has severely curtailed the reproductive rights of Filipino women and forces them to resort to dangerous alternatives. Despite the ban, each year, an estimated 560,000 clandestine abortions occur in the Philippines, 90,000 women suffered complications requiring hospitalization, and 1,000 women died.

Guttmacher Institute Releases Two New Reports from African Region

This past week the New York-based Guttmacher Institute has released two new reports - one documenting the benefits of increased investment in family planning in Ethiopia and another on how lack of awareness of abortion law is a barrier to better health in Ghana.

For more information on either report, please click through to keep reading or visit guttmacher.org.

Promising Steps Toward International Women’s Health

By: Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, originally posted on The Huffington Post

While the World Cup has united people around TV sets across the world over the past weeks, another more radical act of global unity took place. This past weekend the world's leading governments came together and talked about women. For the first time the Group of 8's annual summit, which took place in Canada's tourist and wine region of Muskoka, Ontario, elevated the importance of women and girls on the world stage by making maternal and child health the flagship commitment of its development agenda. This new commitment to women and children rightly aims to broadly address these health needs, and includes family planning among the essential health interventions for women.

G8 Communiqué Commits to Maternal Health, Child Health, and Family Planning; Safe Abortion Absent

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

The G8 leaders have released their communiqué, the consensus reached during the last two days of discussions. As we’ve blogged about over the past days, Canada placed maternal and child health at the forefront of the G8 discussion. As the communiqué states:

“Progress towards MDG 5, improving maternal health, has been unacceptably slow. Although recent data suggests maternal mortality has been declining, hundreds of thousands of women still lose their lives every year, or suffer injury, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Much of this could be prevented with better access to strengthened health systems, and sexual and reproductive health care and services, including voluntary family planning. Progress on MDG 4, reducing child mortality, is also too slow. Nearly 9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. These deaths profoundly concern us and underscore the need for urgent collective action. We reaffirm our strong support to significantly reduce the number of maternal, newborn and under five child deaths as a matter of immediate humanitarian and development concern. Action is required on all factors that affect the health of women and children. This includes addressing gender inequality, ensuring women’s and children’s rights and improving education for women and girls."

Read more...

Filling the Unmet Need for Contraception: Can We Deliver for Young Women?

Source: RH Reality Check

By Carmen Barroso, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR)

When we speak about universal access to contraceptives and the huge unmet need for family planning services that exists in the world today, the image that usually comes to mind is that of poor women in Africa. Indeed, in most countries, poor women have a much higher rate of unmet need than do women with higher incomes, and in Africa, unmet need for contraception is much higher than in other regions. More than 60 percent of women of reproductive age have an unmet need for contraception in Africa. more...

Report: How Unsafe Abortion Affects Women in Kenya

Every year, at least 2,600 women die from unsafe abortion in Kenya; 21,000 more women are hospitalized annually with complications from incomplete and unsafe abortion, according to a new report by the Center for Reproductive Rights titled, “In Harm’s Way: The Impact of Kenya’s Restrictive Abortion Law.” Although staggering, these numbers do not account for the number of women killed or disabled by unsafe abortions who never visit a health facility or whose cause of death is not recorded.

High Level Meeting on Maternal Mortality - Youth Experience

Below is the speech delivered by Imane Khachani, MD, Msc, from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights for the High-Level Meeting at the International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

Restrictive Abortion Laws Account for Maternal Deaths

New York – Increased contraceptive use has led to fewer abortions worldwide, but deaths from unsafe abortion remain a severe problem, killing 70,000 women a year, according to a major global survey from the Guttmacher Institute.

New Study: Legal Abortion in Nepal

Following the legalization of abortion in Nepal in 2002, abortion services have been provided safely at both government and private facilities throughout the country, according to a new study released by Ipas.

ICPD and the Promises for Youth

Yesterday, we attended a luncheon on "The promises of the ICPD for Young People," sponsored by the Government of The Netherlands in conjunction with the IPPF. The panel discussed some really important topics like: youth friendly services; young women and abortion; youth participation; and delivering young people's SRHR programmes.

New Report on Unsafe Abortion

A new report, "Economic Impact of Unsafe Abortion-Related Morbidity and Mortality: Evidence and Estimation Challenges," reveals that unsafe abortion-related morbidity and mortality (UARMM) exacts a huge price annually in terms of the lives and health of women in developing countries each year.

The Lift Heard ‘Round the World

When President Barack Obama lifted the Global Gag Rule, reproductive health professionals around the world rejoiced. Check out some of the feedback.

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