As the U.S. presidential election heats up, maternal health initiatives may fade into the background of daily news, but the need for something to be done still looms large over the poorest countries in the world.
We know abortion access isn’t a positive long-term solution for maternal deaths, and we know, pretty much for a fact, that it won’t empower the women living in these countries. Looking at the number of women in Africa living with HIV, we can begin to understand what choices those women do and don’t have when it comes to their sexual health.
In Southern Africa, the HIV statistics for young women are high. In Nomasonto’s village, over half the young women aged between 20 and 24 are living with HIV[…]
The most compelling risk factor is women’s lack of power to ensure they have safe sex. There is evidence that many women are unable to abstain from sex, guarantee that their partners will be faithful or insist on the use of condoms […]
In many African countries, particularly where people have been displaced by war, women are extremely vulnerable to sexual violence and “transactional sex”. Even in countries where there is no war there is a high level of coercive sex. In one survey, 40 per cent of young South African women reported being sexually abused before they reached the age of 19.
Pooling our resources into providing abortion access won’t elevate the status of women in these regions or keep them from contracting HIV. Giving women the resources and support they need to say “no” to sex really is a life or death situation. Let’s focus on that.by