The World

Bin Laden Death Raises Cautious Questions in Kabul

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bin Laden's death changed little for girls and women in Afghanistan, a rights worker wrote from Kabul this week. Her words echoed the country's last-place motherhood ranking this week, which also brought sobering U.S. news.

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Lack of Jubilation

Women's eNews is a media enterprise, but these scenes of jubilation over the killing of bin Laden just weren't our amphitheater.

Wednesday, after all, brought a reminder of spreading U.S.-style restrictions on women's autonomy. That day, the U.S. House passed H.R. 3, a bill that essentially ends insurance coverage of abortion for women, even when serious health consequences are involved.

And Amnesty International added to the grim news about U.S. motherhood, finding in a study of its own that it was safer to give birth in 49 other countries than in the United States.

But if anyone cast a glow over a week of cloudy news it was Rep. John Conyers of Michigan. On May 11 he will be holding a hearing on the Maternal Health Accountability Act. The Conyers bill, according to Amnesty International, would help establish maternal mortality review committees in every state to examine pregnancy-related deaths and identify ways to reduce deaths.

The lack of data or even major societal concern about U.S. maternal mortality--particularly among African American women--has been a major refrain in a series of articles Women's eNews has produced over the last three years on black maternal health.

The legislation, Amnesty International says, would help eliminate disparities in health care, risks and outcomes, and would improve data collection and research in order to reduce the frequency of severe maternal complications. In other words: a cause to celebrate in the streets.

Read the full weekly news wrap up here.

Corinna Barnard is editor of Women's eNews.


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H.R. 3 Uses Health Reform to Attack Choice


Lawmakers Join Push to Close Maternal Health Gaps


Women in Afghanistan

I have blogged about this matter on on whether the mistreatment of women has become so entrenched within Al Qaeda and the Taleban that Osama's death will make no difference. I truly hope not.

When a government expects a women''s shelter to hand over the fleeing woman to any family member who comes to retrieve her, there is a complete lack of understanding of the problem of violence against women. That is only part of the problems of inherent violence that has become a part of Afghan culture - it was not always so, but, once ingrained it is very difficult to remove. That is what women face, there, even with support from all over the world.
Best wishes to the women of Afghanistan!