The National Network of Abortion Funds, a Boston-based coalition of over 100 community-based groups in 42 states that helps low-income women pay for abortions, launched on Oct. 4 the “Hyde-30 Years is Enough! Campaign.” The campaign is raising money to help women that are unable to receive abortion coverage under the Hyde Amendment and is calling for expanded public funding of abortion, comprehensive health care for all and support for low-income women to care for their families.
Since 1976, federal Medicaid has paid for less than 1 percent of abortions. In 1976, the Hyde Amendment, named for Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, was passed, prohibiting federal Medicaid dollars from being used to pay for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the woman. Before the Hyde Amendment, when Medicaid covered abortion services nationally, it paid for one-third of all abortions.
In an Oct. 4 commentary on the AlterNet Web site, University of California-Davis sociology professor Carole Joffe wrote that last year, nearly 28 percent of the $136,000 that the National Abortion Federation helped raise went to low-income women to help them pay for abortions. Most of the federation hotline’s approximately 100 callers per day request a referral to an abortion provider in their area, Joffe wrote, but a sizable minority also seeks the hotline’s assistance in raising money for reproductive health care.
“At an average of $468, the cost of a first-trimester abortion can be more than half of what a poverty-level family lives on in a month,” noted Toni Bond of the National Network of Abortion Funds. “So women have very little choice; they have to use money needed for food, rent and other necessities to pay for abortion care. Women who are trying to make the best decision for themselves and their families are sometimes forced to continue the pregnancy, abandon school and stay trapped in poverty.”
More News to Cheer This Week:
- Acts of spousal homicide among women have declined by 39 percent in Canada between 1991 and 2004, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 3. According to a study released by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, at least 7 percent of women living in marital or common-law-relationships reported a physical or sexual assault, dropping a percentage point from 1999 figures. That figure may seem small, but it equates to about 650,000 fewer women exposed to violence.
- The BBC World Service will be launching “Angan Ke Paar,” a weekly women’s radio show on All India Radio, reported the Hindustan Times Oct. 4. The show will focus on issues related to women’s rights, with an emphasis on women’s health issues such as HIV-AIDS awareness. The show will be broadcast on over 20 radio stations in three states: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
For more information:
“Thai Women’s Safety Activists Welcome U.N. Study”:
WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women:
Breast Cancer Action:
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A study by the United Nations’ World Health Organization found that gender-based violence is widespread and women face domestic violence mainly from inside their homes, reported the International Herald Tribune Oct. 6. The November 2005 study–covered by Women’s eNews on Dec. 4–gathered data from 25,000 women in 10 countries and is published in today’s edition of the British journal, the Lancet.
The research indicates that women in Yokohama, Japan, experienced the lowest rate of domestic violence with 15 percent and women in rural Ethiopia had the highest rate with 71 percent. The report said rural areas have higher rates of domestic violence than cities, but that violence is common in both and affects developed as well as developing nations. No region is immune.
“We have always known that violence is part of women’s lives,” said Adrienne Germain, director of the International Women’s Health Coalition in New York. “But when we’ve talked about it before we were mostly dismissed; in the past we’ve often heard, ‘Prove it. Prove that it’s happening in our country.’ I cannot emphasize how important this study is, and how crucial it is for the U.N. to be sponsoring something like this.”
More News to Jeer This Week:
- Poll results released by San-Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action on Oct. 3 indicate that, after 20 years, many Americans are still in the dark about the most basic facts of breast cancer awareness. The poll found that out of 1,006 men and women, 74 percent mistakenly think breast cancer that remains restricted to the breast can be fatal and 58 percent believe that some women may be over-treated for breast cancer.
- According to Dr. Jeanne Mandelblatt of Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the number of women aged 65 and above–who compose half of those with breast cancer–will double due to the lack of treatment, reported KUNA, the Kuwaiti news agency, Oct. 4. “Older women who perceive more ageism in their interaction with providers are less likely to receive radiation or chemotherapy,” Mandelblatt wrote. “In our work with older women, we found that 33 percent would choose chemotherapy if it would extend their lives by 12 or more months.”
- In a study conducted by British baby charity Tommy’s, 1 in 4 pregnant women felt pressured during their pregnancy by their employers who expected them to work just as they did before they became pregnant, reported the Scotsman Oct. 1. One-tenth of women worried that they could lose their job, and 1 in 20 said they had been due for a promotion but did not get it because of their pregnancies.
- Laleh Seddigh, a woman who surpassed an all-male field to become Iran’s national car rally champion, has been barred from competing at a race by the country’s motor racing authorities, reported the Guardian Oct. 4. Racing officials said they had been unable to obtain permission for her participation. However, Seddigh believes she was banned to prevent her earning enough points to repeat her championship success, which won her international fame but upset Iran’s male-dominated religious ruling establishment.
- In Iran, seven women are at risk for execution by stoning, reported London-based Amnesty International Sept. 28. All the women are accused of adultery. Their cases are currently being appealed or are under review by Iran’s supreme court. Amnesty argues that treating adultery and fornication as criminal offenses does not comply with international human rights standards.
- In a new survey by Corporate Women Directors International, a business network that conducts research on women at the world’s largest companies, top female executives do slightly better at U.S.-based health care and pharmaceutical companies than in other industries, but 35 percent of big drug companies do not have a single female director, the Washington Post reported Oct. 1. The survey found that 16 percent of directors at U.S.-based health care and pharmaceutical companies are women, slightly more than the national average for all companies of just under 15 percent. But nearly 36 percent of Financial Times 500 companies did not have any female directors, including drug industry giant GlaxoSmithKline.
Irene Lew is the editorial intern at Women’s eNews. Nouhad Moawad is the Arabic site intern and Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief.
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