Illinois action blog

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anniversaries and a Look Towards the G8 Summit

Yesterday we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title X, which in 1970 became the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing Americans with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. Recently we also rang in the 50th anniversary of the FDA’s approval of the birth control pill. These are two of the most pivotal moments in US reproductive rights history, yet as we celebrate our progress, we know that reproductive health around the world remains very much in need of global attention and support.

This is particularly timely given this weekend’s G-8 summit in Muskoka, Canada, which will focus on maternal and child health as one of its priorities. The Center for American Progress’ Peter Juul and Shira Saperstein argue in their piece, “An Opportunity for Obama to Take a Stand on Women’s Rights,” that the G-8 summit is the perfect place for President Obama to go beyond maternal and child health and focus on women’s human rights more broadly, with a special emphasis on reproductive rights.

Unfortunately, according to Juul and Saperstein, Canada’s G-8 proposal for maternal and child health excludes funding for groups that perform safe abortions. Funding restrictions like these prevent women from receiving safe medical care. Juul and Saperstein point out that "more than 5 million women are hospitalized each year for complications from unsafe abortion like sepsis and hemorrhage" and "almost all unsafe abortion-related deaths occur in the developing world, leaving some 220,000 children without mothers and therefore less likely to survive or thrive."

Ensuring the safety of and access to reproductive health services for women is an important part of improving the lives of women. Stay tuned for the results of the G-8 Summit and whether the participants take advantage of this opportunity to discuss these critical needs.

Technorati tags: Reproductive Rights, G-8 Summit, Title X, The Pill,


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