Stories: Reproductive Health

  • In Northern Uganda, Male Mentors Spread the Word on Family Planning

    GULU, UGANDA – When Josephine Lamwaka was growing up, she watched her father abuse her mother almost every day, sometimes even threatening to kill her with a machete. Lamwaka’s father also forbade her mother from using contraception or visiting the local family planning clinic. With her parents as her only model for marriage, Lamwaka, 30, didn’t expect...

  • In Rural India, MIT Grads Aim to Improve Access to Sanitary Pads for Women

    DUMANDIH, India — Anita Kumari was scared and apprehensive when, at age 13, she first started her period. Though she'd learned about menstruation at her school in rural eastern India, she didn't fully understand what was happening to her body. But her mother calmed her nerves and gave her a cloth to use to absorb the blood. Like the...

  • The Unintended Consequences of India’s War on Sex Selection

    Many poor women now find that they can’t access second-trimester abortions at all. The policy’s implementation raises a crucial question: “Can you promote the rights of women and girls and also restrict their family choices?” Dr. Meena Kharat has performed abortions in India and trained other doctors how to perform them for more than...

  • What Abortions in India Can Teach Us About American Women’s Health

    Last fall—before the Center for Medical Progress released its video attack on Planned Parenthood, before Cecile Richards testified before Congress, before Congress voted to defund the health care organization—I was in India, watching a woman have an abortion. The woman — I’ll call her Meena — was having a safe, legal procedure in a...

  • How Planned Parenthood Is Empowering Young People in Lesotho

    A crew of twentysomethings spend the afternoon on a bench outside the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association. Two young women braid the hair of a third friend, and two guys sit alongside them, potentially flirting. “It’s a good place to hang out because, surprisingly, we might have some session as the youth where we talk about HIV and...

  • Why IUD Access in India Falls Short

    Shilpi, 25, has two young daughters and wants to wait at least five years before she tries for a son. She uses birth control pills, which she gets alternately from her accredited social health activist (ASHA), a community health worker in her rural village in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, or from the local community health center. But the...

  • Are These Women the Key to Safer Abortions in India?

    Geeta doesn't remember exactly where it was that a girl she knew threw away her baby. She's also not sure if the mother of a childhood friend went to jail or not after she tossed two infants, her ninth and 10th daughters, into the canal. But she does remember the day the woman in the slum stuck the...

  • Safe Abortion Helpline Receives Few Calls From Teens in Ecuador

    Ecuador's teens seem to be shying away from seeking information on safe abortion, despite the country having one of the highest number of adolescent pregnancies in south America. A telephonic helpline, the first-of-its-kind in Ecuador to dispense information on using medication for safe abortion, received only 5% of its calls from teenagers in the period of one year. Salud Mujeres,...

  • Time to Talk About Sex? Why Honduras Is Starting to Tackle ‘Taboo’ Topic

    Irene is curled up at the end of a yellow, plastic mattress, tapping her hand lightly on the cooing baby by her side. The 14-year-old new mother is so petite, she barely takes up the top half of the bed. At her feet lies another wrinkly, day-old infant that belongs to her 19-year-old roommate. “I think having her will...

  • How Filipino Moms Endure a Maternity Ward That’s Like ‘a Blaring Supermarket Deli Counter’

    A new mom and baby at Fabella Hospital's crowded maternity ward. Photo: Sonia Narang Anne Bailey: Was this your first time in the Philippines? Sonia Narang: Yes. I've reported in other parts of Asia before, including Japan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and China, but never in the Philippines. Interestingly, all my neighbors were Filipino and...