I like Melinda Gates, I really do. Though I don’t know her personally, I feel like she’s a very genuine person who truly cares about her fellow human beings, even if she is wrong about how to help them. It is true that she’s giving an awful lot of money and support to groups and causes that, beneath the veneer of pretty rhetoric, probably care more about economics than they do about people. This on-line petition is for Melinda Gates to reassess the upcoming Family Planning Summit which her foundation is co-hosting and to consider the concerns and agendas of organizations that promote healthy child-birth rather than population control. You can read the petition and sign it for yourself here.
BEIJING- China suspended three officials and apologized to a woman who was forced to undergo an abortion seven months into her pregnancy in a case that sparked an uproar after graphic photos of the mother and her dead baby were circulated online.
The moves appeared to be aimed at allaying public anger over a case that has triggered renewed criticism of China’s widely hated one-child limit. Designed to control the country’s exploding population, the policy has led to often violently imposed forced abortions and sterilizations as local authorities pursue birth quotas set by Beijing.
Feng Jianmei, 23, was beaten by officials and forced to abort the baby at seven months on June 2 because her family could not afford a 40,000 yuan ($6,300) fine for having a second child, Chinese media reported this week.
Though details are hard to come by, Feng Jianmei’s forced abortion took place in the Shaanxi province. A province served by an abortion clinic run by Marie Stopes in Xi’an, Shaanxi.
Zhou Anqin, the manager at the clinic in Xi’an, which performs about 60 abortions each month, mostly on students aged 24 or younger.
The two-story facility, which opened in 2007, is one of five operated in China by Marie Stopes International […]
Few people argue that sex-selective abortion is a “good thing”, but when we talk about what’s wrong with it, are we leaving out the women who are affected by the practice? This article in the Washington Post really raised some interesting points for me and illustrated that, just like with all abortions, nothing gets solved by law alone if the society doesn’t change. The answer to solving the sex-selective abortion problem, as always, seems to lie with addressing the needs/problems of the women who have them.
Few voiced the point that sex-selective abortions are a symptom of a larger problem: that girls are devalued because of societal norms and pressures. Many women and men earnestly fail to see the possibility of raising a daughter who can proudly carry the family name, support her parents in old age without ridicule, and live without fear of violence against her body and the associated pain and shame for her family.
Sex selection is portrayed as an “exotic” issue, even though we see the differentiated (or “specialized,” as our multi-billion dollar maternity and baby products industry would prefer) attention to baby boys and girls across U.S. society — the “tougher” mechanical toys for boys, the frills for girls; the early career suggestions subtly impressed on the young. These differences are exacerbated in some cultural contexts, where a family is “not complete” without a son and, worse, socially and economically insecure.
For women whose friends and relatives push sex-selective abortions, the debate around PRENDA was both deficient and disempowering. They heard either that their problem is not real, since it is faced only by a small fraction of a minority, or that they were unimaginably cruel, requiring punishment. The real solution lies in restructuring gender roles generally, but these women heard a demonization of their cultures specifically.
Tomorrow is World Blood Donor Day, and you can participate by contacting your local centre. Your 350ml donation could save three lives and help save women who might otherwise die from severe bleeding and haemorrhage during childbirth (the leading cause of maternal death). Here’s a two-minute video about the process.
I always get an uneasy feeling when I see a pharmaceutical company doing philanthropic work that will never, ever, EVER, have anything to do with prescribing medication. It seems…seedy. I am especially freaked out by one specific company, Merck (also known as MSD). I wrote two years ago about Merck sponsoring so-called educational campaigns for Marie Stopes, and this year they have cropped up on my radar once again with their new campaign, Merck for Mothers. The U.S. announced it is giving $75 million to a global maternal health initiative partnered with none other than Merck pharmacuticals.
Among other roles, Merck for Mothers, a 10-year $500m initiative, will guide the strategic direction, support on-the-ground programme implementation and evaluation efforts.
Personally, if I were a world power I wouldn’t let the Merck corporation decide anything at all and would certainly not let them “guide” the direction of a global maternal health initiative when there’s money to be made on their end. I find the Merck for Mothers promotional images of underprivileged women and slogans about motherhood rather vulgar considering their track record.
Merck has proven in the past that they can’t exactly be trusted to do what’s in the best interest of people. In 2004, a recall of their drug Vioxx exposed the companies willingness to forego public safety in favour of profits.
For most of the five-and-a-half years it sold Vioxx, Merck knew the drug doubled the risk of cardiovascular problems among users, but it did not tell doctors or patients. Instead, it pursued an active disinformation campaign—telling doctors that Vioxx was safer for the heart than older painkillers (it was not), squashing university scientists who dared to dissent, and withholding clinical trial results that would have definitively proven Vioxx’s risks to federal regulators. In late 2004, after the weight of the evidence became impossible to deny, Merck abruptly pulled Vioxx from the market. […]
According to research published in the Lancet, a British medical journal, Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of serious heart disease in the United States before Merck withdrew the drug in 2004. Roughly one-half those cases ended in death.
But I shouldn’t really be picking on the poor little $48 billion a year revenuing Merck, this clip about the Vioxx scandal explains that just about no pharmaceutical company operates because of a “commitment to saving lives.” So why should we trust them? And more importantly, why should our doctors and our government officials trust them with anything as important as women’s reproductive health? This may not always apply to individuals (I’m a big fan of forgiveness), but Rene Descartes said, “The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once.”
I know it’s an ad, but it’s still true! Get out the tissues, and watch the “Best Job” video from Tide/P&G here.
Andrea adds: She’s not kidding about the tissues. I have no idea what they are even advertising, but that’s a beautiful little clip.
Tomorrow, the St. John’s based NGO, MaterCare International, will open a maternity hospital in Isiolo, Kenya. This miraculous achievement is no small feat for a number of reasons.
The first being it is completely funded by contributions from private organizations and everyday citizens, the majority of which are Canadian. The second, is that this maternity hospital does not offer abortion or medical contraceptives (it does however promote natural family planning). The third, is that the people of Isiolo were employed to build and staff the facility. They marched and petitioned to maintain the roads to the hospital, they have had a hand in its inception since the first stone was laid and the first midwife was trained. The president of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, will attend the opening.
“It is our sincere hope that the presence of President Kibaki at the opening of the Isiolo hospital will illustrate to the international community that projects like these are what the people of Kenya want. The hospital was built by Canadian citizens giving private donations, without the help of government funding, because Canada’s federal government isn’t acting on behalf of the Canadian people as both countries would like them to,” said MaterCare founder, Dr. Robert Walley.
Which statement most closely reflects your view on abortion?
Abortion should be outlawed in Canada. (19 %) 49
Abortion should be permitted only in cases of rape and incest. (16 %) 43
Abortion should be permitted only when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. (17 %) 45
Abortion should be available to any woman who wants it. (30 %) 79
Abortion should be available as it is now. (18 %) 46
Yes, I realized too that the last two questions were the same question.
I’ll be on the Rick Howe show today at 4:15pm Atlantic time discussing Motion 312 as well on radio station 95.7 (Halifax). You can also listen in live online here.
Andrea adds: Great job, Jennifer! (For Facebook readers, this “I” is Jennifer Derwey.)