Thursday, 25 March 2010

What Do (Third World) Women Want?

Anti-choice forces say Third World Women Don't Want Contraceptives, Expert Tells Canadian Politicians.

Well, let's listen to the those Third World women, shall we?

Uganda has run out of contraceptives.
She was 16 years when she had her first baby. In six years, she was a mother of four. Tired, she sought the help of a herbalist in vain. She was pregnant again before her little one was barely three months.

Desperate, she went to Mityana Health Centre III, but they had only pills. She could not take them because her husband did not approve of contraceptives. She was advised to use depo-povera - a type of contraceptive and was injected.

However, she discontinued the contraceptive after three months because of prolonged bleeding and frequent headaches. Now a mother of seven and probably still counting, her only hope lies in a permanent method, tubaligation, which her local facility cannot provide.

This is the story of Eseza Nabbanja, 37, wife to Dan Kaweesa of Myanzi subcounty in Mityana district. "I have been struggling to get a family planning method since 1997, long before anyone in this village knew about modern contraceptives.

My husband was against it because he wanted to have more children," Nabbanja says. She thinks the situation has improved because NGOs are educating locals about the benefits of family planning.

But the long-term contraceptives are rarely available at Mityana health centre. "You have to trek to Mityana Hospital which is about 25km away," she says.

In patriarchal societies, women resort to 'discreet' methods of contraception, like injectables and implants. Yet these are the types they are not getting.
A medical superintendent of a non-profit-making hospital with a family planning programme that serves more than 700 couples each month wrote to The New Vision about the plight.

He said for the last one year, the National Medical Stores (NMS) supplied the hospital with injections, oral contraceptive pills and implants. They also invested in staff who deliver family planning free of charge in hard-to-reach parts of the country.

Suddenly, NMS stopped supplying drugs to non-government health units.

The hospital was referred to the Joint Medical Stores (JMS), who said they do not stock contraceptives for religious reasons, thus the shortage.

"We purchased emergency supplies from PACE, but will have to pass their cost onto our patients," the source said.

Poor women with the highest need for family planning, cannot afford it.

A source from NMS who preferred anonymity says the drug body has run out of contraceptives.

One regional hospital 'has not had contraceptives for 10 months now'.

And while Tanzania has reduced its birth rate somewhat, it too is facing a country-wide shortage of contraceptives.

And these are news stories from just the last couple of days.

It may be that the situation will ease now that Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy, or Global Gag Rule, which denied US funding to any group that provided or even referred for abortion. And foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are helping too. Its website states:
Family planning saves lives.
One of the most cost-effective public health interventions available today is family planning. Voluntary family planning is a critical lifesaving intervention that can significantly improve the health of women and their families.

But Canada, once a beacon of sense and compassion, is now a laughing stock in the international community because of Motherhood Steve's Christo-Talibanny G8 maternal health thingy. And while he has walked back a bit from insisting that it was not atallatall about family planning, Third World women do want family planning. And they're not getting the contraceptives they want.


SustainableFamilies said...

But where will they get children to sell to middle class and rich Americans if poor women have access to contraceptives?

Totally would mess up the international adoption industry. Ah well, they'd just up their outsourcing surrogacy onto women in Third World countries schemes.

Haha, third world women don't want family planning, what a fucking can of bullshit! Who comes up with stuff? (Oh yeah, assholes)

Niles said...

Pondering the non-binding vote on contraception/abortion provision, that everyone says is a failure for Ignatieff, in that he didn't get it passed for the side of good...

...Wasn't this a high profile black/white statement about where MPs stand? While the Liberals weren't 100 percent, they were, by the vast majority of elected members, pro-'provide everything possible for women's health', on the record. The ones that said no will get their noses rubbed in it on a freshened basis.

But the Cons stand 100 percent in the bad column. On the record. Freshened in the general awareness of women and men who aren't blinkered by ideology.

And ahead of the G20 and G8 meetings. Where Harper was looking to tout things on what stance again? Having kids or not having kids is a subject to which average humans can personally relate. Being on the record is something solid that can be held up by and to the reps at the conferences, so when Harper attempts to expound, he's up against his own record.

We're blaming the Liberals for not being legendary stalwart heros of progressive exceptionalism. Despite the audience's yelling at the screen to look out for the obvious backshooters, Ignatieff is not emulating Gary Cooper in the High Noon of politics, allowing us to sit back and eat popcorn and enjoy the show's outcome.

Sometimes, there just is no Gary Cooper as sheriff. If the townsfolk don't get out in the street to face off against those that they *know* are trouble intent on taking away their peace and good government, as CAPP and the student protestors have, over and over and larger, it's game over. Likely, no celebrity leader will find the individual courage to act more strongly and get in front of the parade.

People didn't just say they wanted universal health care back in the day, they put their bodies out where they could be seen about it. Same for Canadian women about abortion (although, abortion did have Morgentaler as a High Noon man...which always makes me wonder about a story in which the Gary Cooper character in High Noon is viewed after the showdown by the equivalents of anti-abortionists -- and Mrs. HighNoon of course. The brazen hussy picked up a rifle and went to war after all. Applying the talking points of modern anti-vists to that specific storyline could make for interesting reading)

croghan27 said...

"People didn't just say they wanted universal health care back in the day, they put their bodies out where they could be seen about it."

They did?

Where was I? I do recall some small demonstrations - mostly against, by PC supporters ... but really was not conscious of any pro-medicare militancy.

Can you provide a link?

Niles said...

I didn't say militancy, although I'm not sure what definition of militancy you're employing. I can't say where you were, since I'm not sure what time period you're targeting either, but perhaps you grew up in a different household in Saskatchewan than I did and wasn't treated to tales of participating with Douglas and the CCF and rallies, door knocking, talks, public participation; what it took for farmers and unions to face off against their 'betters' and how it eventually got to where it was federally etc etc.

You'll have to find your own links, depending on what you're seeking. Certainly, there were anti-healthcare protestors in the public eye from the beginning as well. They looked very much like the teabaggers in the US these days by the time of the doctors' strike (which wasn't small and involved more than PCs. It had american backing too) and...the vitriol is about the same from what I've heard anecdotally.

The women's fight is the same bloody fight, just with more gender excuses and patronizing sighs from the Powers That Be. Same as it ever was. When womens' healthcare is pushed to the backburners in weird dismissal, with abortion, contraception and even universal need for menstrual supplies being treated as not medically necessary for womens' health *here*, hearing how our representatives might order 'laying on of hands' elsewhere is canary in the coalmine chirping for all Canadians.

There are a lot of fancy terms around it all, but it boils down to being grossly unfair and heedless to a huge sector of the population because another sector of the population doesn't have those problems, so...there's no problem.

That's societal bullying. Standing up to that, even to the point of gathering in large numbers in public and loudly proclaiming disagreement and committing to forceful social opposition is not militancy so far as I define it. It's just sad that we're STILL HAVING TO DO IT.

fern hill said...

@Niles: Word.

But I'm pretty sure croghan27 didn't grow up in Saskatchewan and so didn't have the close-up view you obviously did, Niles.

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