Study Says Pregnant Women in India Are Gravely Underweight

NEW DELHI — Her first child survived eight months before succumbing to pneumonia; her second was stillborn; her third, delivered in a rickshaw, gasped for an hour before dying.

When she got pregnant for a fourth time, Juhi, a woman from a South Delhi slum who uses only one name, was spotted by a local health worker and taken to a mobile clinic. A doctor diagnosed severe anemia, gave her iron pills and begged her to eat more.

Juhi listened, and gave birth to a boy, Muhammad Sultan, who has survived his first birthday — a huge milestone in a country with about one-sixth of the world’s population but one-third of all newborn deaths.

“My in-laws were telling me they would get my husband married to someone else, because I couldn’t have a healthy baby,” Juhi, 26, said in an interview. “That’s why we left our village. But now my mother-in-law is happy with me.”

The poor health of children in India, even after decades of robust economic growth, is one of the world’s most perplexing public health issues.

A child raised in India is far more likely to be malnourished than one from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe or Somalia, the world’s poorest countries. Poor sanitation and a growing tide of drug-resistant infections also affect nutrition.

But an important factor is the relatively poor health of young Indian women. More than 90 percent of adolescent Indian girls are anemic, a crucial measure of poor nutrition. And while researchers have long known that Indian mothers tend to be less healthy than their African counterparts, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesdemonstrates that the disparity is far worse than previously believed.

(More from The New York Times)

I realized last night as I was reblogging that Aviva Romm piece that most of you have probably never seen a homebirth in any capacity at all.
This is a cute (noncomprehensive) article that has great pictures of what a birth kit looks like, what a modern bedroom looks like when people are giving birth in it, etc.
There are about a bajillion more pics on birthwithoutfearblog.com and anything Ina may gaskin has written.
Let me tell you, the imaginary birth prior to ultrasound that I had planned in a tub on my patio under the roses was hella more beautiful and comfortable than the twin birth options I have access to.

More Than 200 Anti-Choice Bills Proposed in State Legislatures Since January

Anti-choice lawmakers in state legislatures nationwide have continued a steady crackdown on abortion rights in 2015, while also introducing some never before seen kinds of legislation that would restrict reproductive health care in radical and sometimes unforeseen ways. 

The wave of anti-choice bills in 2015 continues a multi-year campaign by state lawmakers to restrict reproductive rights; this effort has in part been coordinated by well-funded anti-choice organizations such as Americans United for Life (AUL) and the National Right to Life Committee. 

Since the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans made massive gains across the country, hundreds of anti-choice bills have been introduced in state legislatures, and more of those bills have become law in that time than during the entire decade prior. 

Amanda Allen, state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told RH Reality Check that the election of GOP majorities in state legislatures and Republican governors during the 2010 midterms are largely responsible for the wave of anti-choice legislation, despite the fact that abortion rights were not a major political factor during those campaigns. 

“That election was not a referendum on reproductive health and on abortion,” Allen said. “But we’re still seeing the impacts of those elections today.” 

There have been at least 235 anti-choice bills introduced in state legislatures in the first three months of 2015—bills that would place restrictions on abortion providers or erect barriers to abortion access, according to analysis by RH Reality Check. 

Thirty-two bills have been voted on and passed by at least one legislative chamber so far this year; 11 of those have been passed by both chambers, and have either been signed by the governor or are awaiting signature. 

Almost every state legislature has been in session this year, and so far lawmakers in 39 states have introduced at least one bill to restrict reproductive rights. While there have been a few anti-choice bills introduced in most state legislatures, lawmakers in some states have been busy introducing astonishing numbers of anti-choice proposals. 

“In terms of the numbers, we’ve had a pretty good run of it these last few years, and this year we will pass substantive legislation as well,” Mary Spaulding Balch, state policy director for anti-choice National Right to Life Committee, told the Washington Examiner. “At the end of the day, I would bet we’ll have a pretty good year.” 

No other state in the country has seen more anti-choice bills introduced in 2015 than Texas, which has seen 25 such bills proposed this year. Lawmakers there appear to be making up for lost time, since the biennial legislature was not in session in 2014. 

Legislators in Missouri introduced more anti-choice bills last year than any other state. The state’s lawmakers who are opposed to abortion rights continued their aggressive assault on such rights this year, with 20 anti-choice bills introduced so far in the state. 

Voters in Tennessee last year approved an amendment to the state constitution to allow the legislature to consider legislation to regulate abortion, and state lawmakers wasted no time introducing bills to crack down on reproductive freedom. This year a dozen anti-choice bills have been introduced in the state, many of which seek to reinstate laws previously struck down by the state supreme court. 

Tennessee’s spate of anti-choice measures was fairly predictable in a state legislature where three in four legislators are Republican. 

State lawmakers in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Carolina have also introduced several anti-choice bills: 14, 11, and 12, respectively.

Read more here

Follow my reporting for rhrealitycheck.

Photo: Texas State Capitol Building

TW for abortion

Republicans Are Killing Women: US Maternal Death Rate Climbs; Female Deaths Rise In GOP Counties

“Today’s mothers are twice as likely to die of pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes than their mothers were. There is no reason, given our vast resources, knowledge and technology, why we should be going backwards in this area.” – Laura Gilkey, coordinator of The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, a nonprofit based in Sarasota, Fla.

Globally, only a few countries have seen a rise in the rate of maternal deaths in recent years. Those include Afghanistan, El Salvador, South Sudan and the United States of America. While at one time the US had all but eliminated deaths associated with childbirth, things have changed in recent years, with maternal death rates climbing from 14.5 per 100,000 to 17.8 per 100,000 between 2007 and 2011. As of 2014, the number of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in the US has risen to 28 deaths per 100,000.

For purposes of comparison, the maternal death rate in nearly all wealthy, developed nations is a single digit number. As of 2014, the US maternal death rate is 7 times higher than that of Austria, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden, all nation’s which have a maternal mortality rate of just 4 deaths per 100,000.

It might surprise conservatives to learn that the maternal death rate in the US is 14 times greater than that of Israel. While right wingers might be under the impression that Israel’s very low maternal mortality rate is the result of strict abortion policies, nothing could be further from the truth. The country has very liberal abortion laws, and women are provided with government subsidized abortion services. The country’s liberal policies regarding women’s health has led to a maternal death rate of just two women per 100,000.”

Read the full piece here | See the study here

This post is for everyone who didn’t vote because “both parties are the same.” The parties are FUNDAMENTALLY OPPOSED on the issues that most affect women: reproductive freedom, stopping rape and helping survivors, contraception, maternity leave, equal pay. 

To my U.S. readers: are you in the U.S. and registered to vote? If not, register now, it takes A FEW MINUTES for womens’ lives. http://www.vote411.orgThis way you’ll be qualified to vote these misogynists out the next chance you get.

Not all women are the owners of a uterus, and not all owners of a uterus are women. A transgender man—that is, a man who was assigned female at birth—may very well have a uterus, may become pregnant, and may very well need the same access to reproductive health options as your average cisgender woman. The same can be said for non-binary individuals who were assigned female at birth. As people who don’t identify as a woman or a man (though they may identify themselves as both, neither, or a combination of the two), some may feel that this language erases their identity or leaves them out. Yes, these people may have a uterus—but it’s not a “lady part.”

While there’s little doubt that women make up the largest segment of uterus-owning individuals, this name further ostracizes oft-overlooked members of society like trans men and non-binary individuals who were assigned female at birth. To exclude them in this, an organization aimed at educating the public on the issue of reproductive health, would seem to negate the organization’s stated goals by erasing identities and perpetuating the already stressful and exclusionary culture these individuals are forced to inhabit.

—  The Trouble With “Lady Parts” | Parker Marie Molloy for Slate
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"I was listening to a rabbi’s sermon — this was maybe five or six years ago — and he began by saying that the birth control pill may have been the most important invention of the 20th century. My immediate reaction was, “That’s nuts. That can’t possibly be. I can think of six things off the top of my head that seemed more important than that.” But it stayed with me. I kept thinking about it.

A couple of years went by and I was still thinking about it. His case was that it had changed more than just science, more than just medicine. It had changed human dynamics. It had changed the way men and women get along in the world. It changed reproduction, obviously, but it also created all kinds of opportunities for women that weren’t there before, it had spread democracy. …

If it really was the most important invention of the 20th century, and maybe he was right, why don’t I know how we got there? I don’t know the inventor of the pill. I can tell you the inventor of the telephone and the telegraph and the light bulb, but I have no idea where the pill came from.”

- Jonathan Eig 

So Eig set out to answer these questions and it’s kind of a crazy story.

Check it out: 

The Great Bluff That Led To A ‘Magical’ Pill And A Sexual Revolution

I see women who are crying because they are Christians," he continues, "and they are torn up by the fact that they don’t believe in abortion but they’re about to have one. What I tell them is that doesn’t make you a hypocrite. You can never say what you will do until you’re in the situation, and Christians get in jacked-up situations, too."

The woman nods again, twice.

“And I address this because if those people are getting inside your head and you’re feeling conflicted, if you are not comfortable with what you’re doing, you may be processing this far longer than you need to. There’s nothing immoral about taking care of your health. There’s nothing immoral about making the decision to not become a parent before you want to become one. There’s more than one way to understand religion and spirituality and God. I do have belief in God. That’s why I do this work. My belief in God tells me that the most important thing you can do for another human being is help them in their time of need.

Texas Republican wants fetuses to have lawyers and “a voice in court”

State lawmaker Matt Krause wants to appoint a fetus legal representation in cases where a woman is brain-dead

"Marlise Munoz died on Nov. 28, 2013. The 33-year-old paramedic and mother to a young son collapsed in her Texas home just days before Thanksgiving. She was admitted that day into John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where she was soon declared brain-dead — which is to say she was declared medically and legally dead.

Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her death. And because she died in Texas, one of more than 30 states with laws creating a distinct and lesser legal status for pregnant people, the hospital ignored her end-of-life directive and the pleading of her husband and family and kept her body on a ventilator so that her fetus continued to gestate after her death.

Munoz’s husband, Erick, fought for two months to have his wife’s body removed from the ventilator. According to Munoz’s mother, the stiffness that set in after her death caused her daughter’s fingers to break when she attempted to hold her hand. Munoz’s family ultimately prevailed in court, and her body was finally buried in January of last year.

But this week, in response to the case, a Texas lawmaker is preparing to introduce a proposal that would have appointed Munoz’s fetus a lawyer to fight in court on behalf of the state and against her grieving family. According to the Dallas Morning News, Republican state Rep. Matt Krause intends the measure to give a “voice” to embryos and fetuses. “You’ll hear what the family wants, and you’ll also give the pre-born child a chance to have a voice in court at that same time,” he said. “The judge weighs everything and he or she makes their decision based on that.”

Munoz’s family told the Dallas Morning News that they were insulted by the proposal. “To me that’s saying that my family was not looking out for the best interest of Marlise and the fetus,” said Lynne Machado, Munoz’s mother. “We feel our actions and decisions were based on what was best for both of them.”

Read the full piece here

Busy day for Republicans in the War on Women. First Sam Brownback and now this tool.

CURRENT MOOD: NEVER AGAIN

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Today is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers! Re-blog this and join us in saying “thank you” to the compassionate and courageous doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and health center staff who work every day to keep patients healthy and ensure they have access to the reproductive health care they need — including safe and legal abortion.