It’s about time that we looked at Mothers Day expansively and rocked the boat. Lots of positive vibes could be set in motion. Some of my thoughts:
1. Press for action and donate to organizations devoted to preventing unnecessary maternal deaths around the world and in the United States.
Every Mother Counts is worthy of your donation, as are numerous other organizations, including Samahope, WeActx, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, Partners in Health, and undoubtedly many more. India and Nigeria account for more than one-third of the world’s reported maternal deaths, but maternal deaths are far too high in many countries and are rising in the United States.
Expedited training of skilled birth attendants, access to emergency obstetrical care, ultrasound, promotion of prenatal care, and access to safe abortion are urgently needed. According to the World Health Organizations, the major complications that account for 80% of all maternal deaths are:severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth); infections (usually after childbirth); high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia); and unsafe abortion.
In the United States, maternal death rates are rising. Efforts to lower maternal deaths need to be comprehensive and target risk factors and environmental barriers to care. State differences, shown here, are striking. Disparities by race and class are also important. In the United States, since 2011, the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011 has been floating around Washington. It would establish accountability, fight maternal health disparities, and combat severe maternal complications. Ask your representative to co-sponsor the bill and get it through.
2. Buy a copy of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves for your mom or a friend’s mom.
This book, compared to the landmark Our Bodies, Ourselves, looks like it could radically inform and transform views on transgender people. I have seen excerpts and I am very impressed. The Washington Post review is extremely positive. Let’s not let transgender equality lag behind. Think outside of the box: don’t forget that trans moms are out there.
3. Press your elected officials for a national long-term care policy for our moms and dads.
Please, don’t turn the page here. The safety net is failing our aging moms—and dads for that matter—and yes the population is getting older. Think about it: are you going to be able to support your parents? Will they be able to support themselves? (I won’t bore you with the obvious here.) We need a comprehensive, national long term care policy.
Older Women’s League National Mothers Day Report 2014, released Friday, points out:
“The American public still lacks understanding about long-term care; where it occurs, how to plan for it, and why comprehensive, thoughtful, and rational long-term care policy is of importance to all Americans.”
The Report can help you get up to speed on how we could create and sustain a long-term care system that permits Americans to remain financially solvent, independent, and with a decent quality of life.
4. Move beyond thinking about mother’s day with a narrow compass. Single moms, lesbian, gay, and transgender moms, and moms with HIV, are just some of the groups overlooked in traditional mother’s day celebrations. Shake up the usual mother’s day celebrations by including them.
5. Donate or volunteer to stop restrictions to abortion access in the United States and around the world. Every pregnant woman cannot go through a pregnancy.
A recent article by @irincarmon addressed the end of abortion access in the South. Of course, we know that this is far from the only restriction out there. Consider donating to abortion access projects. Here are some ideas: the National Network of Abortion Funds A few others that you might want to consider are listed here: Texas , North Carolina, and in Kansas, the SouthWinds Women’s Center, where George Tiller worked.
Globally, access to safe abortion –all too often– does not exist. I addressed the outrageous roadblocks that Beatriz faced in El Salvador last year in getting access to abortion. Her story is emblematic of countries that have been firmly opposed to abortion as a basic human right. Donate to the groups linked to above, which can save women’s lives.
6. Keep the pressure up to #bringbackour girls every day.
Take the pressure to your elected officials, to twitter, to Facebook. Stay informed. I wish I had a solution that would bring these girls back. If you have ideas, please put them in the comments.
7. Make a yearlong commitment to the fight for equity and women’s health by volunteering in campaigns or donating what you can afford. Many organizations are happy to get donations as small as $5 a month.
Hope that you take time to comment below!
…and now for a moment of shameless self promotion! There’s been a hiatus on PatientPOV. Writing about ways to disrupt healthcare, end inequality, and build social change is my first love, but I cannot afford to do work like this without $ support. Contact me @lauranewmanny for paid writing opportunities or support this blog with a Paypal donation above.