Women’s human rights activists gather in El Salvador to demand Beatriz is granted the life-saving treatment she needs (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).
As you’re reading this, the Salvadoran authorities are STILL biding their time discussing the merits of Beatriz’s case, the young mother we posted about earlier this month. While she’s in the hospital experiencing early stage kidney failure, the authorities are holding the key to her life that is quickly fading.
We’ve promised updates on this case. Unfortunately, we know that Beatriz has been subjected to another week of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and have no news regarding action by the authorities to save her life – in accordance with her wishes, and the recommendation of the health professionals responsible for her care.
Imagine you are in a hospital. You have lupus and you are experiencing kidney complications as a result. You have a one-year old son at home who was delivered by cesarean section weeks early because of pregnancy-related health complications. You’re pregnant again, and have been diagnosed as high-risk.
You found out after three sonograms your fetus is anencephalic, meaning that a portion of the fetus’s brain – consisting mainly of the cerebral hemispheres including the neo-cortex – doesn’t exist. With very few exceptions, fetuses with anencephaly do not make it to term and none survive infancy.
There is a great deal of evidence backing this up.
Every year, 40 billion working hours are lost to water collection worldwide, mostly by women and girls. This violates their rights to employment and education by taking up time and energy; and their rights to safety and dignity by exposing them to injury, animal attack, and physical and sexual violence. Since the water they collect is usually unsafe (if it were safe, chances are they wouldn’t have to walk far to get it, because a tap would be available near home), it violates their right to health, exposing them to Neglected Tropical Diseases, diarrhea, even uterine prolapse from carrying heavy loads.
Lack of sanitation and safe drinking water violates the right to safe and adequate housing. Combined with poor hygiene, it makes people sick because they ingest fecal matter without even knowing it, creates breeding grounds for insects carrying diseases like trachoma, and contaminates water sources; water-borne illnesses impact children most, keeping more kids from school and causing trauma for the many parents whose children don’t survive these diseases, up to 2,000 each day.
Before 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.
Violence against women and girls and other forms of gender discrimination devastate the lives of millions of women and do not distinguish among nation, culture, or creed.
One in three women worldwide has been beaten, raped, or abused in her lifetime. Maternal mortality rates have actually risen in the US, and remain scandalously high around the world, with a woman dying a pregnancy-related death every 90 seconds. Lack of access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care contributes to maternal mortality, sexually transmitted infections and other ill-health outcomes. Women continue to suffer disproportionately during armed conflict, accounting for 90% of all civilian casualties.
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.
While we’re thrilled about the good news — more women now receive pre and post-natal health care, over 39,000 women delivered their babies in health care facilities, and many lives have been saved — there is still a lot to be done.
Amnesty International’s new report on the Free Health Policy finds that free adequate care is simply not being delivered.
Amnesty International has long advocated for the right to accessible, affordable and adequate health care that responds to the particular needs of women. The assurance that women have access to the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration is a powerful and encouraging statement about the importance of women’s preventative health care.
On Saturday, a new nation was born: the Republic of South Sudan.
Formerly a semi-autonomous region within the Republic of Sudan, the new state is the result of a referendum on independence in which roughly 99% of the predominantly African, Christian or animist Southerners elected to split from the largely Muslim, Arab North.
For more than two decades, the two had been engaged in Africa’s longest civil war, a conflict in which staggering numbers of innocent civilians paid the price: 4 million displaced, 2 million killed and 2 million women raped.
A Violent Peace Although a 2005 peace accord officially ended the war and guaranteed the South the right to peaceably choose whether or not to form its own state, violence continues in disputed territories of Southern Kordofan and Abyei.
The 2nd North American leg of the U2 360 Tour kicked off this past weekend in Denver with Amnesty International volunteers in full force! Amnesty has been on the road with U2’s 360 tour since the first date in Barcelona back in June 2009.
Globally, Amnesty has gathered over 100,000 signatures supporting our Demand Dignity campaign. Not to mention on average, the thousands of people in each stadium who have seen our bright yellow shirts and have heard Bono mention Amnesty International from the stage!
Most maternal deaths are entirely preventable. Yet, while the world is making progress in fighting maternal mortality, far too many women are still losing their lives.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the most prominent global anti-poverty initiative ever undertaken. The goals set out targets for alleviating extreme poverty, including reducing maternal deaths by 75% (MDG5), by 2015. However, even this modest target will not be met by the deadline unless efforts are significantly stepped up.
Meeting the maternal mortality target, for example, would require a 5.5% annual reduction in maternal deaths since 1990, and the world has seen only 2.3% annual improvement. A woman still dies from complications of pregnancy or childbirth every 90 seconds.