Ninety-nine percent of pregnancy related deaths occur in the developing world. Each year, 529,000 people die worldwide due to complications related to pregnancy. Millions more are left maimed or injured. In addition, some 68,000 people die annually from unsafe, often illegal abortions. These, however, are just estimates; experts believe actual numbers are much higher. Countless deaths go unreported. The vast majority of these fatalities are preventable.
The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campus Program plays an instrumental role in educating our groups on 431 colleges campuses in 44 states across the United States about the far-reaching impacts that policies made in the United States have on reproductive health around the world. The FMF Campus Campaign mobilizes college students on global reproductive health and rights issues.
In January 2009, after an 8-year long campaign, the Global Gag Rule (Mexico City Policy) was repealed by an executive order of President Obama and funding for the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) was reinstated by Congress. On January 23, 2017, three days after he was sworn in, President Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule.
The Feminist Majority Foundation plays an instrumental role in the Washington International Family Planning (IFP) coalition whose successful advocacy work on the issue led to the single largest increase in US assistance to international family planning ever. The Feminist Majority Foundation actively continues its advocacy work independently and as part of this larger coalition to ensure the US reclaim its former position as a leader in global reproductive health and rights, and increase funding to the monetary levels stipulated at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
Family planning saves lives. It is crucial to align domestic and global movements. The United States must increase its international family planning funding.
The Feminist Majority Foundation also has a health initiative for Afghan women which works to increase the number of midwives in Afghanistan to reduce the maternal mortality rate, which is the second highest in the world. It is our only country-specific reproductive health program.
One in eight Afghans will die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth — compare this number to one in 4,800 in the United States and one in 29,000 in Sweden. War-torn Afghanistan has been left with a poorly functioning health care system. There is a drastic shortage of doctors, nurses, and midwives. Today, only 51% of Afghan women receive skilled medical attention during pregnancy or childbirth and only 48% deliver in a health facility. Death by hemorrhaging and prolonged or obstructed labor is a very real threat. Most women have never seen a doctor, and few have access to contraception.