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from India Insight:

White-collar jobs for rural women needed to enhance gender equality – new book

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Family planning, health and education programmes have done a lot to improve the lives of women in rural India, but getting more young rural women to work in jobs that don't involve wage labour is the next step for gender equality and the country's economic health, according to Dr. Carol Vlassoff, author of a new book, "Gender Equality and Inequality in Rural India: Blessed with a Son."

Vlassoff, 69, has been studying the village of Gove in Satara District of Maharashtra state since 1975. She determined through her work there that bringing rural women into the modern economy in India means making more job opportunities available to them, particularly professional, white-collar jobs.

Doing this also could lead to slowing population growth in India, one of the world's most populous countries with an estimated 1.2 billion people. She found, according to a press statement accompanying the book, "that self-employed and professional rural women were more likely to use contraceptives and delay having their first child than unemployed women with the same amount of schooling."

This, she said, also helps promote gender equality at a time when parents, although fond of their daughters, consider a son essential. Daughters can be a financial burden on parents because, despite the abolition of dowry, grooms' parents often expect substantial gifts. As a result, in Gove and elsewhere, parents sometimes choose to abort a female fetus. Half of the women Vlassoff interviewed in the village said they knew of women who have done this, she said.

from Photographers' Blog:

Abortion: After the decision

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New York City, New York

By Allison Joyce

I had been trying to think how to tell the story of abortion in photos for a while. Over the past few years the U.S. has seen new laws limiting abortions enacted and politicians speaking out for and against abortion.

Unless it's on a political level, it's still taboo in our society to discuss abortion. I was surprised when I started talking openly with my friends and colleagues about abortion how many of them had had one themselves. I hadn't known that 40 percent of American women will have an abortion during their lifetimes. While it's a personal and private experience, there are 45 million women in America who share in it, and it shouldn't be a shameful secret. The silence creates a stigma that prevents a meaningful discussion and understanding in the national debate and dialogue.

from Full Focus:

Abortion: After the decision

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Abortion remains one of the most volatile political issues facing the United States, but for women who turn to it, the issue isn't a matter of politics, but one of deep and personal emotion. Reuters photographer Allison Joyce sought to explain those emotions through the voices of these women. Read Allison's personal account and view a multimedia piece here.

from The Great Debate:

The red-state attack on abortion rights

This has been a big month for abortion rights. In North Dakota, where there is only one abortion clinic, a District Court judge voided a two-year-old set of state restrictions on the use of medications to induce first-trimester abortions. And in Mississippi last Monday, a federal judge blocked some elements of state law intended to shut down the state’s only abortion clinic.

But make no mistake: The competition to shut down "the last clinics" in states with only one clinic is ongoing; call it The Red State Derby. In Mississippi, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, pro-life groups such as 40 Days for Life are working to bring about “the first abortion-free state where abortion is legal but it’s simply not available.”

from Events:

Roe v. Everyone: States take on abortion

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An anti-abortion sign is seen during the Ninth Annual Walk for Life West Coast rally in San Francisco, California, January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Nearly six months after an election that underscored the political divide over abortion, North Dakota's governor enacted a law that bans abortions in most cases once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or as early as six weeks. It is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States.

from India Insight:

Woman’s death poses tough abortion questions for India and Ireland

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

The death of a 31-year-old Indian woman in Ireland after doctors refused to give her an abortion has sparked protests in her home country of India as well as in Ireland.

from The Great Debate:

What women want is political key

No matter how artificial and canned the candidates can seem at a presidential debate, no matter how competent or ineffectual the moderator -- the nominee’s true self will peak out at some point.

Thus did GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney tip his hand when it comes to the all-important female vote -- which both he and President Barack Obama have been scrambling after. He didn’t make a huge gaffe or get ensnared in a tough debate about choice. Moving around the stage, he seemed a 1950s throwback who had wandered in from a different decade -- one where men were men, women wore shirtwaist dresses (Ann Romney’s uniform) and marriage was between a man and a woman.

from Tales from the Trail:

This election, abortion rights activists are looking for just a few good women

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This fall, there is going to be a relatively small group of women voters who may be very, very sick of hearing from NARAL Pro-Choice America by Election Day on Nov. 6.

Like most of those involved in politics this election year, the abortion rights advocacy group says that women will determine the outcome of the contest on Nov. 6 between Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

from Stories I’d like to see:

How would a woman “prove” rape to qualify for Romney’s abortion exemption?

In the wake of the Todd Akin firestorm, Mitt Romney and a flip-flopping Paul Ryan have emphasized that their anti-choice stance excludes rape. In a Romney administration, abortions would be outlawed except in the case of women who have been raped, the Republican ticket has promised.

So here's an idea, first suggested by my daughter and one of her friends: Who's going to be the first reporter to ask Romney or Ryan how that would work? How would they implement that exception?

from The Human Impact:

Pregnant teen with cancer stirs abortion debate in Dominican Republic

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BOGOTA (TrustLaw) - When gynaecologist Lilliam Fondeur recently wrote about the plight of a pregnant teenager diagnosed with acute leukaemia in her column in the Dominican Republic’s El Nacional newspaper, little did she know it would revive debate about the country’s blanket ban on abortion and stir public support in favour of the young girl.

Following a change to the constitution in 2010, abortion in the Dominican Republic is banned under any circumstances, even when the mother’s health or life is in danger.

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