Kansas Scores Victory for Abortion Rights

In the first statewide referendum after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, Kansas voters overwhelmingly voted to protect abortion rights. Before yesterday’s primaries polls suggested an abortion ban would ultimately prevail in Republican-led Kansas. Still, even in some of the most conservative counties, “no” votes outpaced overall votes for Republican candidates. 

With a massive primary voter turnout of 800,000 the “no votes” won by over 17% with only 96% of votes counted thus far. 

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Why sexual and reproductive law for east African countries is being resisted

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Anthony Idowu Ajayi, African Population and Health Research Center and Nicholas Okapu Etyang, African Population and Health Research Center

Six of the countries of the East African Community – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania – recently concluded public hearings on a new sexual and reproductive health bill. Proponents of the bill argue that it will improve access to sexual and reproductive health which, in turn, will improve other public health and development indicators such as maternal mortality and HIV infection rates. But the bill has faced fierce opposition since it was first tabled in 2017. The Conversation Africa’s Ina Skosana spoke to researchers Anthony Ajayi and Nicholas Etyang to unpack what the bill covers and where the sticking points are


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Holocaust Remembrance Day Marks Increase in Antisemitism in the United States

On this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) marks an all-time high in antisemitism in the United States. In its 2021 Audit of Antisemitism, 2717 incidents were recorded last year including assaults, vandalism, and harassment. 2021’s antisemitic incidents are up 34 percent. It is the highest number on record since the ADL began recording antisemitic incidents in 1979.

Antisemitic harassments were up 42 percent, vandalism by 14 percent, and assaults increased by 167 percent. Additionally, most of the incidents occurred in May 2021 and coincided with the military conflict between Isreal and Hamas. The previous highest month on record was November 2018 (300 incidents) which was the month after the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh, PA. The states with the highest number of incidents were New York (416), New Jersey (370), California (367), Florida (190), Michigan (112), and Texas (112). Combined, these states account for 58% of the total incidents.

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From Boots to Baby Brands: 7 Gifts That Give Back With Every Purchase

There is never a bad time to give gifts especially when those gifts give back with every purchase. Here are seven products from boots to baby and kids’ brands and more that have an added component of social good. These companies give back to nonprofits that help kids and even honeybees.

ROMA BOOTS

Price: $12.99-$118

ROMA Boots was founded on fashion and philanthropy to give back to children in need. For every pair of boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need. Their mission is to bring impoverished children hope, love, and lasting change throughout the world through aid and education. Their next mission is to donate 100,000 boots to Ukrainian refugees in 2022 as part of their humanitarian initiative. Their next mission is to donate 100,000 boots to Ukrainian refugees in 2022 as part of their humanitarian initiative. Combining cutting-edge design to create durable rain boots, retail fashion merged with humanitarian efforts to build a charity-based brand that gives back. Available in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes, they range from various styles and fun patterns fit for everyone. Let’s empower impoverished children worldwide to break out of the cycle of poverty and contribute their gifts and talents to society. 

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Idaho Lawmakers Send Texas Copycat 6-Week Abortion Ban to Governor’s Desk

Women, pregnant people, and reproductive rights activists are reeling about the nation’s latest blow to abortion rights. Yesterday, Idaho became the first state to pass a copycat abortion ban that successfully became law in Texas last year. Now, the Idaho bill is on its way to the desk of Idaho governor, Brad Little, to officially become law.

Anti-abortion activists have seen several state legislative and court ruling successes for their cause of late. And this summer there are real concerns that the Supreme Court may effectively reverse Roe v. Wade as more states, upwards of 26, seek to also ban abortion and allow costly litigation against abortion providers. 21 states already have trigger bans meaning that if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, abortion bans will automatically be in effect. States are starting to fall into place like dominoes in abortion bans. Kentucky Republicans advanced a copycat Mississippi abortion ban on abortions after 15 weeks and Florida also passed abortion bans after 15 weeks. The Idaho and Texas abortion bans are more punitive at six weeks. Since the bill passed in Texas, abortions dropped 60 percent.

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Donate to These 5 Organizations to Help Ukraine

As the Russian military continues to move to take over Ukraine’s largest cities many, some say as high as 870,000, are frantically heading for border countries or are holed up in bomb shelters or in their homes and apartments. Ukraine has said that 2000 civilians have already died since the Russian invasion and long lines at the grocery stores are more common as fears of food and water shortages persist. Sadly, many believe that this is the early stages of the war and that it could last for many months. It’s clear this is the beginning and not the end.

Ukrainians are going to need food, water, and medical supplies for the long haul. Here are five organizations that are already providing aid in Ukraine and across borders.

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Thoughts on the Passing of Dr. Paul Farmer

When I decided to concentrate on global health in 2011 and started Social Good Moms I learned immediately about Dr. Paul Farmer and the nonprofit he co-founded, Partners in Health. It is absolutely impossible to miss the immense contributions he made to the disciplines of global health, health inequality, and human rights for others to admire and aspire to, including me. He is the reason I decided to go to Haiti on my own to see the work other NGOs and nonprofit hospitals were doing for Haiti’s poor.

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Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Is still Under Attack

If you have followed my travels or have read my blog over the years you know that Ethiopia is my favorite country in the world. There is something about the people, the culture, its beauty and the sheer size of the country I love.  Even though I love Ethiopia I have never been under a grand illusion that it is a unified country. There have been mass arrests and killings in Oromia, journalist and freedom fighter imprisonments, and now a civil war with mass atrocities and forced starvation against the people of the Tigray region. In fact, just this week reports of an airstrike on a market near Tigray’s capital Mekele killed at least 64 people and wounded over 100. 

Even as war is still happening in Ethiopia’s northernmost region, its national election officially wrapped on Monday without voting in Tigray, of course. Now, ballots are being tallied across the country with the likelihood that the current prime minister Abiy Ahmend will be reelected.  

Women selling baskets in Hawassa, Ethiopia.
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The Universal Human Right to an Identity from Birth Explained

By Caroline Kinsella, Advocacy and Communications Intern, White Ribbon Alliance 

One of the more hidden human rights abuses around the world is the fact that one billion people have no legal proof of identity. Alarmingly, UNICEF estimates that about one in four children  under age 5, or 166 million, are unregistered and without any trace that they exist.  Conversations about reducing global poverty and protecting the health and human rights of  mothers and newborns must include the challenges of birth registration.

A single piece of paper has the power to transform a person’s future. Birth certificates are  necessary to access government services, life-saving medical treatment, a nationality and age related legal protections. Legal proof of birth is often required to attend school and apply  to higher education, as well as open a bank account and vote. Many of the individuals without a  birth certificate today are children who were never registered at birth. In some cases, nobody  knows for decades that a child does not have a birth certificate. 

In Uganda, Senfuka Samuel, who goes by Sam, applied for a master’s degree program that  required a birth certificate. As he did not have one, Sam had to venture to the hospital where he  was born. There, he discovered that hospital records before the year 2000, including any  proof of his birth, were destroyed in the civil war. Traveling hundreds of miles over two  weeks, Sam spent his own money to first get issued a necessary ‘birth notification’ – a slip of  paper with birth details handwritten by a midwife – to later gain a new legal birth certificate. 

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4 Reasons The US Is Back on Track With Global Health

As is true with each new presidential administration the global health community hangs in the balance. According to KFF.org the US global health funding was set at $11 billion in FY 2019 and in 2020 the funding was significantly decreased. This funding goes towards programs in more than 70 countries for HIV, malaria, maternal and child health among other health challenges. But now with the … Continue reading 4 Reasons The US Is Back on Track With Global Health

Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris on Successful Black Maternal Health Outcomes

It has been a historic week with the announcement of Kamala D. Harris as the first black woman nominee for vice president. Pundits and political experts alike will, without doubt, parse through her record from her time working as DA of San Francisco and Attorney General of California as well as serving in the United States Senate. One thing is clear: Senator Harris has worked tirelessly on maternal health issues as it pertains to black women who are three times more likely than white women to die due to pregnancy and delivery complications.

Harris joined forces with Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) to introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, a series of nine bills that take racial disparities out of the maternal health outcomes, funds communty-based maternal health organizations, improve data collection, and invests in digital health tools among other pertinent issues.

In February of this year, Harris convened a Black Maternal Health Roundtable where women recounted their experiences with health care providers during their pregnancies and experts discussed racial disparities in maternal health care.

Courtesy of Office of Kamala D. Harris, US Senator for California
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Most Charitable States, Caring Cities in the US

During the holidays $511 million dollars was donated online on Giving Tuesday. That marks an increase of 28% from 2018. While the total number of charitable donations have yet to be tallied for the entirety of 2019, estimates hover around $430 billion. Given that, what cities and states are giving the most money online and volunteering the most time to charities? WalletHub dug into the statistics and discovered the most charitable states and drilled down to the most caring cities.

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9 Maternal Health Stories Worth Reading This Weekend

Now that 2020 is in full swing I decided to catch up on the many maternal health and mortality articles that were published during the holiday season. There has been a lot of stellar reporting that you might have missed. I did. Here is a compilation of some of the articles I found the most compelling starting with a wrap-up post, 7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama,  by Anna Claire Volle about the excellent year-long reporting she did on mothers in Alabama.  I particularly liked 

Black Maternal Health

[Self] Congresswoman Alma Adams on Why She Co-Founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus: Alma Adams is the congresswoman for my district. I am proud of the bi-partisan work she has been doing to help curb black maternal mortality. In this interview in Self’s Black Maternal Health series, Adams talks about the reasons why she is a co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

[NBC News] Extremely alarming’: New report addresses maternal mortality in the U.S.: Taraneh Shirazian, director of Global Women’s Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and president of Saving Mothers discusses on Morning Joe how maternal mortality has decreased globally, but in the United States maternal deaths have increased particularly for black moms.

[The Hill] Reproductive revolution: Ending black maternal health inequities in 2020: Tracey Lewis-Elligan, an associate professor & chair of Sociology at DePaul University, details the ways in which black mortality can be decreased starting this year. She highlights some of the work of doulas and midwives in the fight against black maternal mortality.

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Donate Blood This Month, Save a Life, Plus Win a Great Trip

When I was in high school I was a volunteer at my local Red Cross donation center. I did a variety of things like give donors cookies and juice after they donated blood, separated the vials (sans any blood) between autologous, directed, and regular blood donations, and also registered donors into the system. I loved every bit of that volunteer work and am always happy to talk about the lifesaving work the American Red Cross does all year long.

Every January since 1970 the American Red Cross has celebrated National Blood Donor Month. This time of year there is always a heightened need for blood donations due to the increase in communicable diseases and also because it is after the holidays when most people put off giving blood. Additionally, inclement weather keeps many away from donation centers. The American Red Cross is asking the public to donate blood, platelets, and plasma. In order to sustain the blood supply for 2600 hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers, 13,000 donations are needed per day during National Blood Donor Month.

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NEW: Drug That Prevents PostPartum Hemorrhage Added To WHO Essential Medicines List

As I have written many times before postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) or excessive uterine bleeding after childbirth is the leading cause of maternal mortality in low-and-middle income countries. The recommended drug to prevent PPH according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is oxytocin. When administered in its recommended dose it causes little to no side effects. Oxytocin, the WHO’s current gold standard therapy, however, must be refrigerated and administered by skilled health workers posing two obstacles to its wider use in low resource, tropical settings.

Some countries have approved misoprostol, an oral drug, to prevent PPH, but there are several concerns that its use can be misappropriated for abortions instead of used solely for PPH. The World Health Organization has listed misoprostol as an alternative to oxytocin if it is not available.

Now, another PPH preventative drug, carbetocin, has been added to the latest updated 2019 WHO Essential Medicines List. The announcement was made last week. Unlike oxytocin, even at high temperatures carbetocin remains effective. The recommendation is that carbetocin can be used when oxytocin is not available or if its quality is uncertain. Additionally, the cost must be comparable to oxytocin.

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