Law & Policy

December 2015

July 2015

The effect of economic downturn on abortion-related maternal mortality

This retrospective study drew on WHO maternal death data and economic data from the World Bank, to determine the association between economic downturns and abortion-related maternal mortality in multiple countries over 30 years, from 1981 through 2010 and found an annual 36% increase in deaths associated with unsafe abortion during economic downturn years. Read More

Consistent laws against child marriage reduce levels of child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, sub-Saharan Africa

This study reviewed the relationship of national laws that prohibit child marriage with the prevalence of child marriage and adolescent birth. Data from Demographic and Health Surveys and from the Child Marriage Database were used to examine the relationship between laws that consistently set the age for marriage for girls at 18 or older and the prevalence of child marriage and teenage childbearing in 12 Sub-Saharan African countries. Read More

June 2015

Progress on official development assistance to maternal and reproductive health

This study evaluates whether bilateral donor funding – official development assistance and funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (ODA+) are appropriately targeted to countries with the greatest need. The authors coded and analysed financial disbursements for maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) and for reproductive health to all recipient countries worldwide from all donors reporting to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s development assistance committee creditor reporting system database for the years 2011–12, plus Gates Foundation grants. Read More

Women and health: the key for sustainable development

This article sets out the areas of focus of the Lancet Women and Health Commission, which focuses on the multifaceted pathways through which women and health interact, moving beyond the traditional and exclusive focus on women’s health to address the roles of women as both users and providers of health care, and highlighting the potential for synergy between them. Crucial actions are proposed, addressed to development partners, governments, civil society, advocates, academics, and professional associations that are needed to advance the women and health agenda. Read More

Prohibition of voluntary termination of pregnancy, Senegal

The campaign sought to get African states to ratify and abide by international and regional instruments for the protection of the rights of women, including the right to safe abortion, as outlined in the Maputo Protocol. This report provides information on Senegalese legislation in the area of reproductive health and aims to provide information on Read More

May 2015

Circumcision and HIV prevention: emerging debates in science, policy and programmes

This special issue seeks to explore the complex processes of debate that have marked the international response to HIV, specifically in relation to voluntary medical male circumcision, which over the course of the past decade has become increasingly central in the range of strategies promoted for HIV prevention. The introduction notes that, while male circumcision and controversies about its alleged health effects are not new, advocacy in favour of the procedure has come to the fore as part of a new wave of what have been portrayed as relatively uncontroversial ‘biomedical’ approaches to HIV prevention. Read More

Understanding resistance to male circumcision take up in Malawi

his paper explores the contrasting policy paths taken by Kenya – a country that is seen as a ‘success’ in embracing medical male circumcision for HIV prevention – and Malawi, which has been branded a ‘laggard’ in its slow adoption of a national programme and where there is a level of political resistance forming around male circumcision. Read More

Medical, legal and ethical issues associated with brain death of pregnant women, US

This article summarises the recent cases of two women from North America who both sustained brain injuries while pregnant, and explores the medical, legal, and ethical issues surrounding catastrophic brain injury in pregnant women. The article outlines the current US context in relation to advance directives for pregnant women, maternal versus fetal interests, and the impact of fetal viability on medical decision making. Read More