|Comment on UNICEF 2009 Report "State of the World's Children"|
January 15, 2009, New York (NY) - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 2009 report, "The State of the World's Children: Maternal and Newborn Health ," released today, brings much needed attention to the world's shameful neglect of 500,000 deaths and millions of injuries related to pregnancy and childbirth every year.
Contact: Kelly Castagnaro, 646-707-1004, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saving Women's Lives and Health Requires More Than
New York (NY)-The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 2009 report, "The State of the World's Children: Maternal and Newborn Health ," released today, brings much needed attention to the world's shameful neglect of 500,000 deaths and millions of injuries related to pregnancy and childbirth every year. The services the report highlights-prenatal care, skilled care during delivery, and emergency obstetric care-are essential but not sufficient to enable women go safely through pregnancy and childbirth. Contraception, safe abortion services, and sexuality education must also be available.
Pregnancy is safest when it is wanted, when the woman knows how to care for her health, and when she can decide about sex, marriage, and childbearing. About 13 percent of all maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions (as many as 40 percent in some countries), and one-third of maternal deaths could be prevented if all women had access to contraception.
"We all must support comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care," stated Adrienne Germain, President of the International Women's Health Coalition. "Sexuality education; contraception, including emergency contraception; and safe, affordable abortion services are inseparable parts of a comprehensive package."
Preventing unintended pregnancies requires that all women have access to contraception services based on confidentiality, informed consent, and choice of methods. Even when contraceptives are readily available, safe abortion services will always be necessary. Sexuality education is important because it teaches young people biological information about sex, contraception, and pregnancy, including how to protect themselves and each other against sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. It helps young people learn how to establish equality in relationships; respect the right to consent in sex and marriage; and end violence and sexual coercion.