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Reproductive Health Matters

Pamela M White
This paper raises some troubling questions about the fertility treatments provided to Canadian gestational surrogates, women not genetically related to the child that they carry. Using information published between 2003 and 2012 by Canada's Assisted Reproduction Registry, the paper traces the growing incidence of births to gestational surrogates. The transfer of more than one embryo increases the chance of pregnancy and the incidence of multiple births, and while the incidence of multiple births has declined overall since 2010, gestational surrogates consistently experience a higher proportion of multiple births and experienced higher levels of multiple embryo transfers...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Zaynab Essack, Jacintha Toohey, Ann Strode
In South Africa children under the age of 18 are legal minors and considered not fully capable of acting independently. However, in certain defined circumstances the law has granted minors the capacity to act independently, including regarding their sexual and reproductive health (SRH). This study explored the perspectives and practices of 17 social workers from KwaZulu-Natal on legislation relevant to adolescents' evolving sexual and reproductive health and rights and the decriminalisation of consensual underage sex...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Felicity Daly, Neil Spicer, Samantha Willan
Synergies between securing sexual rights and the right to health have been pursued where there are clear public health gains to be made, such as lowering incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). South Africa's 1996 Constitution outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and promoted the right to health. This qualitative health policy analysis sought to understand why and how interventions to improve sexual health of lesbian and bisexual women and address sexual violence were initially proposed in the HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for South Africa 2007-2011 and why and how these concerns were deprioritised in the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, STIs and TB 2012-2016...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Patrick Michael Eba
As of 31 July 2014, some 27 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had adopted HIV-specific legislation to respond to the legal challenges posed by the HIV epidemic. However, serious concerns raised about these laws have led to calls for their repeal and review. Through the theory of "smarter legislation", this article develops a framework for analysing the concerns relating to the process, content and implementation of HIV-specific laws. This theoretical framework provides specific guidance and considerations for reforming HIV-specific laws and for ensuring that they achieve their goals of creating enabling legal environments for the HIV response...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Penelope Pitt, Belinda J McClaren, Jan Hodgson
Pregnant women routinely undergo prenatal screening in Australia and this has become a common experience of motherhood. When prenatal screening or prenatal testing results in diagnosis of a serious fetal abnormality, women are presented with a decision to continue or terminate their pregnancy. Few recent studies have explored women's psychosocial experience of prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy termination for fetal abnormality, and within this small group of studies it is rare for research to consider the embodied aspect of women's experiences...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Megan Wainwright, Christopher J Colvin, Alison Swartz, Natalie Leon
Medical abortion is a method of pregnancy termination that by its nature enables more active involvement of women in the process of managing, and sometimes even administering the medications for, their abortions. This qualitative evidence synthesis reviewed the global evidence on experiences with, preferences for, and concerns about greater self-management of medical abortion with lesser health professional involvement. We focused on qualitative research from multiple perspectives on women's experiences of self-management of first trimester medical abortion (<12weeks gestation)...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Katy Chadwick
There has been an increased emphasis on evidence based programming for violence prevention in recent years, although research on what works to prevent violence is still an emerging field. There are also important lessons emerging from practice. The experience of Raising Voices in Uganda is that using community mobilization programming can help to shift entrenched norms, attitudes and behaviours. A recent randomised control trial evidenced some of these changes and whilst this research has been key to developing the approach, it is also essential that we continue to be informed by the voices of community members and activists...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Alessandra Sampaio Chacham, Andrea Branco Simão, André Junqueira Caetano
In this article, we investigate how gender-based violence (GBV) affects the sexual and reproductive health of impoverished adolescents and young adults. We analyse data from a 2011 survey of 450 young women and 300 young men aged 15-29, living in poor neighbourhoods of three middle-sized cities in Minas Gerais, Brazil. In this survey we used a closed-ended questionnaire to collect data from 150 women and 100 men in each city. Our main goal was to explore the relationship between GBV and young women's autonomy in relation to their sexuality, using indicators appropriate to Brazil...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Emme Edmunds, Ankit Gupta
Though coercion and rape have cast a persistent shadow over prospects of sexual health and consent in contemporary India, other narratives, agency and tools are quietly emerging to transform collective claims of power and bodily dignity. In these narratives from collectives, NGOs, on social media and among friends, dialogues about consent and pleasure feature prominently. This paper analyses statements in the news made by highly visible political and public figures regarding the subject of rape in the context of themes emerging from ethnography and semi-structured interviews with middle class people in Delhi...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Eleanor Brown, Faith Mwangi-Powell, Miriam Jerotich, Victoria le May
The Girl Summit held in 2014 aimed to mobilise greater effort to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) within a generation, building on a global movement which viewed the practice as a severe form of violence against women and girls and a violation of their rights. The UN, among others, endorse "comprehensive" strategies to end FGM, including legalistic measures, social protection and social communications. FGM is a sensitive issue and difficult to research, and rapid ethnographic methods can use existing relations of trust within social networks to explore attitudes towards predominant social norms which posit FGM as a social necessity...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Loveday Penn Kekana, Megan Hall, Silvia Motta, Susan Bewley
The prevalence of violence against women worldwide raises the question of the desirability and feasibility of integrating interpersonal violence (IPV) services within abortion care. By examining present services and context in an Inner London borough in the UK, this situation analysis explored the hypothesis that an established, integrated, health-based service (comprising raised awareness, staff training in routine IPV enquiry and referral to a community-based in-reach IPV service) would be transferable into abortion services...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Padma Bhate-Deosthali, Lakshmi Lingam
There are an estimated 7 million burn injuries in India annually, of which 700,000 require hospital admission and 140,000 are fatal. According to the National Burns Programme, 91,000 of these deaths are women; a figure higher than that for maternal mortality. Women of child bearing age are on average three times more likely than men to die of burn injuries. This paper reviews the existing literature on burn injuries in India and raises pertinent issues about prevalence, causes and gaps in recognising the gendered factors leading to a high number of women dying due to burns...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Elizabeth Mills
Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa, this article explores the skies that fight, the proverbial lightning strikes that bring HIV into women's lives and bodies. Departing from earlier studies on ARV programmes in and beyond South Africa, and broadening out to explore the chronic struggle for life in a context of entrenched socio-economic inequality, this article presents findings on women's embodiment of and strategic resistance to structural and interpersonal violence. These linked forms of violence are discussed in light of the concept of precarity...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Morgan Carpenter
Intersex people and bodies have been considered incapable of integration into society. Medical interventions on often healthy bodies remain the norm, addressing perceived familial and cultural demands, despite concerns about necessity, outcomes, conduct and consent. A global and decentralised intersex movement pursues simple core goals: the rights to bodily autonomy and self-determination, and an end to stigmatisation. The international human rights system is responding with an array of new policy statements from human rights institutions and a handful of national governments recognising the rights of intersex people...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Carlos Herrera Vacaflor
Argentina has recognized women's right to not be subjected to obstetric violence, the violence exercised by health personnel on the body and reproductive processes of pregnant women, as expressed through dehumanizing treatment, medicalization abuse, and the conversion of natural processes of reproduction into pathological ones. Argentina's legislative decision to frame this abuse and mistreatment of women under the rubric of gender-based violence permits the identification of failures in both the healthcare system and women's participation in society...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Farah Diaz-Tello
In recent years, there has been growing public attention to a problem many US health institutions and providers disclaim: bullying and coercion of pregnant women during birth by health care personnel, known as obstetric violence. Through a series of real case studies, this article provides a legal practitioner's perspective on a systemic problem of institutionalized gender-based violence with only individual tort litigation as an avenue for redress, and even that largely out of reach for women. It provides an overview of the limitations of the civil justice system in addressing obstetric violence, and compares alternatives from Latin American jurisdictions...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Michelle Sadler, Mário Jds Santos, Dolores Ruiz-Berdún, Gonzalo Leiva Rojas, Elena Skoko, Patricia Gillen, Jette A Clausen
During recent decades, a growing and preoccupying excess of medical interventions during childbirth, even in physiological and uncomplicated births, together with a concerning spread of abusive and disrespectful practices towards women during childbirth across the world, have been reported. Despite research and policy-making to address these problems, changing childbirth practices has proved to be difficult. We argue that the excessive rates of medical interventions and disrespect towards women during childbirth should be analysed as a consequence of structural violence, and that the concept of obstetric violence, as it is being used in Latin American childbirth activism and legal documents, might prove to be a useful tool for addressing structural violence in maternity care such as high intervention rates, non-consented care, disrespect and other abusive practices...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Heleen Touquet, Ellen Gorris
Researchers increasingly acknowledge that men and boys are frequent victims of sexual violence in conflict alongside women and girls, who remain the group that is disproportionately affected. This increasing awareness has contributed to significant efforts to include men and boys in conceptualisations of conflict-related sexual violence in policy as well as in international criminal law. This article analyses the changes that have occurred in these two fields in recent years. We argue that while a major shift towards including male victims in international policy on wartime sexual violence took place in 2013-2014, this development has yet to be consolidated in salient policy guidelines and handbooks...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Rola Yasmine, Catherine Moughalian
Since the uprising in Syria in March 2011, over 4.3 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. Over a million have sought refuge in Lebanon, constituting almost a quarter of the Lebanese population and becoming the largest refugee population per capita in the world. With inequitable health coverage being a longstanding problem in Lebanon, Syrian refugee women's health, and specifically their sexual and reproductive health, is disproportionately affected. An increase in gender-based violence and early marriage, a lack of access to emergency obstetric care, limited access to contraception, forced cesarean sections, and high cost of healthcare services, all contribute to poor sexual and reproductive health...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
Jane Freedman
The current refugee "crisis" in Europe has created multiple forms of vulnerability and insecurity for refugee women including various forms of sexual and gender-based violence. Increasing numbers of women, either alone or with family, are attempting to reach Europe to seek protection from conflict and violence in their countries, but these women are subject to violence during their journey and/or on arrival in a destination country. The lack of adequate accommodation or reception facilities for refugees and migrants in Europe, as well as the closure of borders which has increased the need for smugglers to help them reach Europe, acts to exacerbate the violence and insecurity...
May 2016: Reproductive Health Matters
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