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Human Rights Quarterly. 2004; 26:873-878.Leonard S. Rubenstein offers a thoughtful response to my article on how international monitoring and advocacy organizations that use a methodology of public shaming can best advance economic, social, and cultural (ESC) rights. His article makes three basic points. First, he notes that such organizations can make useful contributions beyond exposing government misconduct and subjecting it to public opprobrium. Namely, he suggests that they can provide technical assistance to governments on implementing ESC rights and help with capacity building for national or local NGOs that seek such rights. Second, he contends that such international organizations need not be as concerned with advocating tradeoffs among competing ESC rights because fears of limited resources— a “zero-sum game”—are overblown. Third, he disagrees with my perceived preference for condemning “arbitrary” government conduct to the exclusion of violations of particular ESC rights. On the first point, I largely agree with him. On the second, I regretfully suspect he has an overly sanguine view of the problem. And on the third, I fear he has misunderstood me. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, 2004 May 10. 12 p.Although emergency contraception has been available and proven safe for more than 25 years, too few Americans are aware that contraceptive methods are available that can prevent pregnancy after sex. In fact, nearly three-quarters of women surveyed have not heard of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), and only six percent of women aged 18 to 44 have used ECPs. Emergency contraception may be used when contraceptive methods fail, when they are misused or not used at all, and when women are sexually assaulted. Although emergency contraceptive methods are not a substitute for ongoing contraceptive use and do not protect against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, these important and underutilized contraceptive options can reduce unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion. In fact, a 2002 study revealed that ECP use was likely responsible for up to 43 percent of the decline in the number of abortions in the U.S. between 1994 and 2000—with ECP use preventing over 50,000 abortions in 2000 alone. Emergency contraceptive pills are the most commonly used method of emergency contraception. ECPs are ordinary birth control pills that reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant by up to 89 percent when taken within days of unprotected sex. ECPs do not cause abortion; rather they prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, fertilization, or implantation before a pregnancy occurs. In fact, ECPs do not work if a woman is already pregnant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two dedicated ECPs – PREVEN and Plan B. The copper-T intrauterine device (IUD) can also be used as an emergency contraceptive. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, 2004 Jan 1. 9 p.Refusal clauses (sometimes called “conscience” clauses) permit a broad range of individuals and institutions — including hospitals, hospital employees, health care providers, employers, and insurers — to refuse to provide, pay, counsel or even refer for medical treatment based on their moral or religious views. Refusal clauses were first enacted immediately after Roe v. Wade. In response to Roe, Congress adopted an amendment named after then-Senator Frank Church (D-ID), allowing individuals or entities that receive certain federal funds to refuse to provide abortion or sterilization if such services are contrary to their religious or moral beliefs. Following Congress’ lead, 45 states passed laws that permit certain medical personnel, health facilities, and/or institutions to refuse to participate in abortion, most of which were enacted shortly after Roe. In the years following, lawmakers enacted refusal clauses only in isolated circumstances. Recently, however, there has been a resurgence of legislative activity regarding such restrictions. In particular, anti-choice members of Congress have recently tried to enact a very broad refusal clause known as “the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.” (excerpt)
SIECUS Report. 2004 Fall; 32(4): p..When it comes to sexuality education, we often seem like a nation divided. Reading newspapers or listening to school board debates, one might think that adults cannot decide whether schools should provide comprehensive education about sexuality or take a strict abstinence-only-until-marriage approach. In fact, when asked, the vast majority of American adults, including parents and voters, supports comprehensive sexuality education, disapproves of the government's, investment in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, and rejects popular myths that suggest teaching about sexuality encourages teens to be sexually active. Nevertheless, the government currently spends nearly $138 million per year for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, in direct contradiction to public opinion. This fact sheet compiles the results of numerous national and statewide surveys, all of which show overwhelming support for a comprehensive approach to sexuality education. SIECUS hopes that this fact sheet will help advocates in their efforts to ensure that public policies keep pace with the desires of the American people. (excerpt)
American Journal of Public Health. 2004 Aug; 94(8):1330-1332.This study estimated the value of contraceptives, through a random-digit-dialed survey of willingness to pay for health insurance coverage of contraceptives among 659 Washington State adults. People valued contraceptives at 5 times the actuarial cost; in general, women and reproductive-aged persons were willing to pay more, but low-income men highly valued contraceptives. Most respondents (85%) said that contraceptives should be covered by health insurance plans. The full benefit of contraceptives exceeds their cost. (excerpt)
Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública / Pan American Journal of Public Health. 2002; 12(4):286-290.The benefits of immunizing against the vaccine-preventable diseases far outweigh the minimal risks of vaccination. In order to maintain or improve the strength of every national immunization program, workers at each level of the public health community—from local health workers to health department officers—should be educated about the issues surrounding vaccination, and they should be prepared to respond to public concerns. The quick response to public anxieties regarding vaccines and the rapid, honest communication of explanations and actions can help ensure the integrity of immunization programs throughout the Americas. That is according to “Guidelines for Managing Immunization Safety Concerns,” a document prepared by the Division of Vaccines and Immunization of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Although immunization has been an important public health accomplishment over the past 200 years, it is not without controversy. Vaccine safety issues have been undergoing visible public debate, especially over the last 20 years. At times, immunization programs worldwide have been jeopardized by public reactions to the debate. Although vaccines are not completely effective at all times, they are one of the safest interventions in the medical armamentarium. (excerpt)
Women's Health Journal. 2003 Jan-Mar; 1:11-14.The Mesa Feminista de Trabajosobre Aborto (Feminist Working Group on Abortion) is the initiative of a group of women interested in debating and analyzing this issue in a country with one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Abortion is totally prohibited in Chile, even when the woman's life or health is at risk. Women who have abortions, those who provide abortion services, and anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion can be punished with jail sentences. (excerpt)
[Washington, D.C.], NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, 2003 Jan 21. 8 p.Refusal clauses (sometimes called “conscience” clauses) permit a broad range of individuals and institutions — including hospitals, hospital employees, health care providers, employers, and insurers — to refuse to provide, pay, counsel or even refer for medical treatment based on their moral or religious views. (excerpt)
AIDS and Society. 1991 Jan-Feb; 2(2):4.In fact, an integrated policy has not occurred for one basic reason: in the United States, public policy follows public opinion, and public opinion is driven at least in part by media exposure. The issue of AIDS has been seen as a domestic tragedy that has beset homosexuals and I.V. drug users. Only as AIDS has begun to affect new-born children, adolescents and heterosexuals, and only as the cost of AIDS has exploded, has broad concern crystalized. Even so, international AIDS is removed from the consciousness of most Americans. It can be argued that only when television coverage of third world suffering children and sick and dying mothers reaches the living rooms of America will an integrated strategy emerge. (excerpt)
[Midwives in the Andean communities: a form of female shamanism?] Hebammenwesen im Andenraum: eine form des weiblichen Schamanismus?
Curare. 1997 Nov; (Spec No):303-312.Acquiring an understanding of Andean midwives and their functions under consideration of their cultural background is seen as a challenge. From the viewpoint of village inhabitants, midwives are regarded as recognized members of the community, and are honored and respected because of their healing function. For this reason they are also of interest to public health institutions, who attempt to integrate them as potential representatives of basic public health care services. However, these efforts have not remained unchallenged, and they present the basis for a cultural conflict, which has contributed to misunderstandings concerning the true dimension of their personality, role and function as a representative element and as a symbol of cultural life in the indigenous Andean community. (author's)
The children's streets. An ethnographic study of street children in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Las calles de los niños. Estudio etnográfico de niños de la calle en Ciudad Juárez, México.
International Social Work. 1999 Apr; 42(2):189-199.The purpose of this study was to observe behaviors of street children in Ciudad Juárez in an effort to gain a better understanding of their condition. This study sought to bring the words and perceptions of street children, and those who work with the children, into a forum which sheds light on the factors which affect these children as they live and work on the streets. (excerpt)
In: Handbook of health communication, edited by Teresa L. Thompson, Alicia M. Dorsey, Katherine I. Miller, Roxanne Parrott. Mahwah, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003. 403-422.In this chapter we enter into the quagmire that is U.S. healthcare policymaking. In doing so, we have three goals in mind: (a) to summarize contemporary models of the policymaking process, including the role that organizational discourse plays in it; (b) to examine the distinctive complexities of healthcare policymaking; and (c) to briefly illustrate those processes and complexities in an analysis of the development of Medicare. In the process we argue that the fragmented and incoherent nature of U.S. healthcare policy is not "accidental," as Reagan's title suggests, but instead is inherent in a complex interaction between the structure and processes of policymaking, the ideological bases of health discourse, and the rhetoric of healthcare reform. (excerpt)
[Geneva, Switzerland], WHO, Global Programme on AIDS, Social and Behavioral Research Unit, .  p. (WHO File: Data on Social Issues; Report No. 2)The Social and Behavioural Research Unit has prepared its second international inventory of Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour, and Practices surveys. The report reviews 80 projects drawing upon both published and unpublished materials dealing with 7 major study groups: adolescents and young people, the general public, health care workers, homosexual/bisexual men, drug injectors, prostitutes, and other groups. For each of these the inventory classifies the project concerned by selected key features such as when and where it was undertaken, sampling strategy used, and methodology and conclusions. (excerpt)
[Formative research. Support for and barriers to the reduction of vertical transmission of HIV / AIDS in El Salvador. Volume 2] Investigacion formativa. Apoyo y barreras para reducir la transmision vertical del VIH / SIDA en El Salvador. Volumen Dos.
[Washington, D.C.], Academy for Educational Development [AED], CHANGE Project, 2002. , 76 p. (USAID Cooperative Agreement No. HRN-A-00-98-00044-00)This publication of the CHANGE Project of the Academy for Educated Development and the Manoff Group International consists of a public opinion survey and discussion guides addressing pregnant women, their partners and health care providers. The in-depth interview questions guides address women who accepted or rejected the offer of an HIV/AIDS text during a prenatal visit, partners/companions of women who accepted or rejected the HIV/AIDS test offered during a prenatal visit, and providers that have offered or now offer the HIV/AIDS test to pregnant women during prenatal visits. Also included are field guides for focus groups consisting of pregnant women, their partners/companions or providers offering prenatal and HIV testing services.
[Formative research. Support for and barriers to the reduction of vertical transmission of HIV / AIDS in El Salvador. Volume 1] Investigacion formativa. Apoyo y barreras para reducir la transmision vertical del VIH / SIDA en El Salvador. Volumen Uno.
[Washington, D.C.], Academy for Educational Development [AED], CHANGE Project, 2002. , 55 p. (USAID Cooperative Agreement No. HRN-A-00-98-00044-00)The most significant findings of the public opinion survey, focus group discussions and in depth interviews are as follows: The study revealed strong support to offer universal HIV testing to pregnant women. There is little resistance from the general public, prenatal care health providers, pregnant women and their spouses/partners to the offer of HIV testing during prenatal care. While there is strong support for HIV testing, knowledge levels of the probability of vertical transmission or of the advantages of HIV testing during prenatal care are very low. 82 % know that HIV test is the only way to know if someone is HIV positive. 96 % say that ALL pregnant women should be tested for HIV AIDS as part of prenatal care visits, after they were told that there is medication available that can reduce the vertical transmission of HIV AIDS. (excerpt)
Sociological Focus. 1998 Aug; 31(3):303-312.In measuring public opinion about controversial issues, pollsters strive for balanced and comprehensive coverage of the subject. This type of coverage may be undermined, however, when one perspective of the issue tends to predominate in society. This point is illustrated by a review of questions major pollsters asked about the abortion issue over an eight-year period. The data suggest that in querying the public about abortion rights, in describing the legal and empirical realities of the abortion situation and in seeking the public's reaction to abortion politics and policy, pollsters tended to reflect the dominant pro-choice perspective. (author's)
Pitfalls of power to the people: decentralization, local government performance, and system support in Bolivia. [Dificultades de transferir el poder al pueblo: descentralización, desempeño del gobierno local y respaldo del sistema en Bolivia]
Studies in Comparative International Development. 2003 Winter; 37(4):64-88.Across the developing world, many governments have implemented political reforms-- heavily promoted by international donors--designed to transfer greater power to subnational levels of government and to provide a more substantial policymaking and oversight role to citizens. Although economic analyses have frequently argued that such decentralization programs improve the efficiency of public expenditures, far less is known about their political impact. Based on an analysis of two large national public-opinion surveys from Bolivia, a country that has recently implemented one of the most comprehensive decentralization reforms yet attempted in Latin America, we analyze the role decentralized local institutions are playing in shaping citizen attitudes toward their political system. Our findings support the contention that decentralization can bolster citizen levels of system support at the national level. Equally important, however, we also demonstrate that the renewed emphasis on local government can have the opposite effect of producing more negative views of the political system when the performance of local institutions falters. (author's)
STATUTES OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES. 1990; 23-6.This Canadian Act establishes a Status of Women Council to represent the women of the Northwest Territories. The objects of the Council are "a) to develop public awareness of issues affecting the status of women; b) to promote a change in attitudes within the community in order that women may enjoy equality of opportunity; c) to encourage discussion and expression of opinion by residents of the Northwest Territories on issues affecting the status of women; d) to advise the Minister on issues that the Minister may refer to the Council for consideration; e) to review policies and legislation affecting women and to report its findings to the relevant government departments or agencies; f) to provide assistance to the Minister in promoting changes to ensure the attainment of equality of women; and g) to provide the appropriate assistance to organizations and groups whose objectives promote the equality of women." Further provisions of the Act set forth rules on the composition, administration, organization, and financing of the Council, among other things.
Plano, Texas, Instructional Aides, 1984. 78 p. (A Guide on Current Topics)This document provides readers with a review of the history of the controversy regarding abortion, a summary of the major positions on both sides of this debate, and an assessment of public opinion regarding abortion. It draws heavily on research materials from the Centers for Disease Control, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Council. Chapter 1 sets the abortion issue in historical perspective. Chapter 2 focuses on US Supreme Court decisions, while Chapter 3 discusses Congressional activities. Chapter 4 presents statistical data on the abortion rate in the US, demographic characteristics of abortion seekers, abortion techniques, and abortion-related mortality. Chapter 5 surveys the status of abortion around the world. Chapter 6 presents survey results on public attitudes toward abortion. Chapters 7 and 8 include statements from national leaders who believe abortion should not and should, respectively, be outlawed, while Chapters 9 and 10 present statements on both side of the debate as to whether the moment human life begins can be determined. Appendix I presents excerpts from Vatican position papers on abortion. Appendix II summarizes US laws, state by state, that limit access to abortion. Appendix III cites federal laws restricting abortion funding. Appendix IV presents proposed abortion legislation. And finally, Appendix V lists addresses of organizations that support abortion, organizations that oppose abortion, and institutions that maintain statistics on abortions in the US. Instructional Aides provides similar documents on a number of social issues, including aging, health, immigration, minorities, and women.
Civic education, civil society, and political mistrust in a developing democracy: the case of the Dominican Republic. [Educación cívica, sociedad civil y desconfianza política en una democracia en vías de desarrollo: el caso de la República Dominicana]
World Development. 2000; 28(11):1851-74.The paper explores the effect of donor-supported civic education programs on levels of citizen trust in institutions in the Dominican Republic. Using attitudinal surveys of control and treatment groups the paper demonstrates that civic education had a direct, negative effect on participants' levels of institutional trust, with the greatest negative effects on trust in governmental bodies such as the army and the judicial system. The paper argues that this stems from the type of groups that conduct civic education in democratizing countries, many of which are not politically or socially neutral. The paper concludes with a discussion of these findings for theories of democracy and civil society and for donor-supported civic education programs. (author's)
[The formation of adolescent unions in northeast Brazil] La formation des unions chez les adolescentes du Nordeste (Bresil).
CAHIERS QUEBECOIS DE DEMOGRAPHIE. 2000 Autumn; 29(2):287-306.Data are used from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in Brazil in 1986, 1991, and 1996 to study recent trends in union formation among adolescents of the country's Nordeste region. Approximately 45.5 million people inhabit the mainly rural area. Nordeste has a 61% literacy rate, while 54% of households have running water, percentages marked lower than the national average of 85% for both rates. Fertility and mortality levels in Nordeste are among Brazil's highest, 74 infants die per 1000 live births, and the total fertility rate (TFR) is approximately 20% higher than the national average. Between 1986 and 1996, the proportion of female adolescents having children increased from 12% to 17% despite advances in education, urbanization, and access to media. It remains rather rare for never-married female adolescents to bear children, but approximately one-third of first births are the result of prenuptial conception. Early marriage and prenuptial conception by adolescents are thought to be socially unacceptable by one's peers. Results from a survey of men and women aged 15-24 in Salvador, a city in Nordeste, show the ideal marriage age for women to be 20-24 years. Beyond age, educational status was one of the most important determinant factors for first marriage during adolescence among women in Nordeste during 1986-96. Relatively better educated women had a greater tendency to assess and understand the advantages of delaying marriage to realize the future they desire.
WOMEN'S HEALTH JOURNAL. 2001; (1):62-5.This paper presents an interview with Gloria Careaga, a member of the gay and lesbian movement in Mexico, about some advances in recognizing and validating sexual rights in Latin America, specifically in the area of discrimination based on sexual orientation. A driving force behind the creation of the first Gender Studies Program at the UNAM in Mexico City, Careaga was also a participant in the Citizens' Conference held in Santiago, Chile with the goal of refining civil society's strategies and proposals for the upcoming World Conference on Racism. In this interview, Careaga reviews the achievement of the UN World Conferences in 1990s in the areas of human rights, population and development, and women status; references on the issues of sexism; issues on sexual diversity; discrimination of abortion; the stand of Latin American countries on the conservative issues on sexual diversity; discrimination and protection of homosexuality; and the recognition of the rights of gays and lesbians in the regions.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH MATTERS. 2000 Nov; 8(16):185.A new reproductive health law was passed in the city of Buenos Aires in June 2000, marking an important turning point in the history of reproductive health and rights in Argentina. The law is based on the City's Constitution of 1996 which "recognizes sexual and reproductive rights free of violence and coercion as basic human rights". The law: 1) guarantees women's and men's access to contraceptive information, methods and services needed for the responsible exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights; 2) guarantees holistic care for women during pregnancy, delivery and puerperium; and 3) establishes actions to reduce maternal/child mortality and morbidity. The law generated heated debate and street demonstrations, particularly regarding whether adolescents should have access to contraceptives without parental authorization, whether the IUD should be included among the methods provided at public facilities (as many opponents claimed the IUD is an abortifacient), and the duty of public health care workers to provide family planning services even if this is against their principles or religious beliefs. When the law was passed, the provision of IUDs was included along with other reversible and temporary methods; sterilization, therefore, appears to have been excluded. Parental authorization for adolescents requesting contraception was not required, but instead the law encouraged the participation of parents in everything to do with the reproductive health of their children, where possible. Finally, the law encouraged the use of condoms for dual protection. There was no reference to conscientious objection. (full text)
Development. 2000 Mar; 43(1):23-7.This article is an excerpt of the research report on the Children's Movement for Peace in Colombia. The research conducted by Sara Cameron in 1998, interviewed 150 Colombian children about their opinion of war and their efforts to build peace. This research was then submitted to the Nobel Committee in support of the nomination of the Children's Movement for Peace for the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize. Most of the cases being related by these children include killing of parents, killing young innocent people, conflict within the family, and war between the army and guerrillas. The Children's Movement for Peace exerted effort to build peace by conducting workshops and counseling of the children victimized by violence. Also, they help these victims express their feelings either verbally or through paintings. Lastly, the volunteers of peace movement in Colombia hope to promote peace in the home, community, and the country.
A summary of the findings from national omnibus survey questions about teen pregnancy conducted for the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Washington, D.C., National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1997 May 2. 13 p.This report summarizes the findings of an omnibus survey of adults aged 18 or older and teenagers aged 12-17 on topics related to teen pregnancy in the US. This nationwide representative survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates on behalf of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The survey aimed to ascertain the public's basic perceptions and attitudes about sexual activity and pregnancy among teenagers by asking four questions. These questions, annotated with results based on total respondents, and the demographic characteristics of each sample are contained in the appendix. In the results, many Americans (62%) stated that teens should not be sexually active, even if they take precautions against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Moreover, a vast majority of the public believed that it is important for society to encourage teenagers to practice abstinence. Even though the majority of adults do not think teenagers should be sexually active, many also said that teens who are engaged in sexual activity should have access to contraception. It was further found out that most Americans have misperceptions about the number of teenage girls in the US who become pregnant before age 20.