I just read this article and I was glad. In undergrad, I wrote this huge research paper for Women's Studies examining cross-cultural birthing practices and what I found was pretty scary. As if giving birth in a developed country is not gross and painful and chaotic enough, try doing it in a dirt hut all by yourself...yeah...and we wonder why the maternal death rates in some countries are epidemically high.
Needless to say, I was really pleased to hear about the results of a new study (sponsored, by the way, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation- they are awesome and have really great priorities and interests, not to mention unbeatable influence, in their giving) that shows that the maternal death rates worldwide are sharply declining.
A big part of this trend is foreign governments setting up programs that help train birthing assistants and provide qualified people to be present with mothers during and immediately following labor. Duh! What mother wouldn't be better off with a trained medical professional when she is going through such a physically traumatic experience! I guess I'm just grateful that womens rights are finally being better recognized in this critical area. However, this should not be categorized as just a womens rights issue. EVERYONE was born, so this issue is applicable to everyone and should therefore be better advocated! Get on it, people!