I Stand With…the Right to Health

planned parenthoodBefore you keep reading, let’s be clear: this blog is about the universal human right to the highest attainable standard of health, the package of services it takes to be well—and the ability to afford it.  It’s also about the implications of the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to stop providing grants to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for breast cancer screening.  Because too often, women’s health falls victim to agendas that prevent women from exercising their human rights.  It’s about the big picture.

According to Planned Parenthood, the vast majority of its services are the provision of information and education about health, well-being and sexuality; prevention of and response to gender-based violence; prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS; and family planning counseling and supplies. These services are provided to both men and women, of all ages, of all income levels. They are part of basic health care.


Exciting Progress for Health Care Equality!

A mother holds her infant during a check-up at a clinic for low-income families. ©John Moore/Getty Images

As Amnesty International’s recent reports on maternal health  have highlighted, discrimination in health care in the United States is severe and pervasive. But recently introduced legislation would help end discrimination and improve the quality of health care in the United States.

Last month, Congresswoman Barbara Lee from California introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2011 (HEAA).  Passing this legislation will help eliminate disparities in access to health care and in health outcomes for communities of color. The HEAA ensures that a full range of culturally appropriate public health services are available and accessible to communities of color, and that services are available in the languages used by those communities.  The bill also provides training opportunities for health care workers to better address particular health issues facing marginalized communities.


Why Midwives And Maternal Health Need To Go Hand-In-Hand

On the International Day of the Midwife, we have a guest post from Jennie Joseph, a midwife in Winter Garden Florida. Jennie is owner and clinical director of The Birth Place, a full-service midwifery clinic and birth center and developer of the JJ Way, a midwifery curriculum geared toward eliminating disparities. She is featured in Christy Turlington Burns’s documentary “No Woman No Cry” that we blogged about yesterday.

Talk is cheap! But right now talk is also becoming effective! When it comes to mothers and babies it appears that recent talk is finally leading to action. Thanks to social networking I am beginning to hear talk from ‘the grassroots’ about the state of maternal and infant health and the need for a drastic change.  If we are ever going to be able to do better than ranking 50th in the world when it comes to maternal mortality, then let’s keep talking.


Lobby For Maternal Health In The US

Although the United States spends $98 billion a year on health care (more than any other country), women in the US actually have a greater risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications than women in 49 countries.

Every day, 2 to 3 women in the United States die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.  About 50% of these deaths could have been prevented with better access to quality maternal health care.

This is not just an accident; this is a violation of human rights.

What can YOU do to help?

Amnesty International’s Lobby Week is coming up.  During the first week of May, volunteers from across the country will meet with their Senators and Representatives to encourage them to take action to stop these preventable maternal deaths.

We need your help to ensure the elected officials who represent you have the facts and can help to pass strong legislation to reduce maternal mortality.

So stand up for human rights and maternal health by signing up to coordinate or join a delegation to meet your elected officials. With your visits you can help save lives.