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Guest Editor

Mary Krane Derr

Writer, Poet, Multi-Issue Nonviolence Activist


I am a US citizen of largely Irish and Polish political & economic refugee descent. I am a writer, poet, and multi-issue nonviolence activist, as well as a former maternal/child welfare social work clinician. With Jen Roth I am co-founder of All Our Lives,, a reproductive peace group. My interests & concerns are wide-ranging but include disability rights; women's rights; anti-racism; global poverty; animal and environmental concerns; and the power of the world's diverse religions and spiritualities, as well as secular thought, to cooperate in fostering social responsibility.

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Videos on how maternal mortality affects communities

thank for these human faces on such enormous problems

More Cash ≠ More Babies?

Women around the world, when they have access to desired contraception, generally choose to have smaller families. Maybe this is what is happening in Singapore?

And it's blatantly discriminatory to give these bonuses to married but not single mothers. That just feeds the worldwide problem of discrimination against single mothers & their children--a stigma which also causes many abortions.

Adoption: Let's safeguard human rights for mothers

I have long advocated the inclusion of birth mothers' perspectives--whose perspectives could be more vital? We cannot leave them out. Thank you for pointing this out, especially in the ethically fraught area of international adoptions from poorer to wealither countries.

I believe in adoption as a choice, and most birth mothers prefer to choose open adoptions.

But for adoption even open adoption to really be a choice, we have to make sure that every mother gets the support, economic and social, so that she could raise her child if she really would rather do that. All duress must be removed from the equation.

Philippines: A pregnant woman's right to study and work

Expelling a single pregnant or postpartum mother from her education is a violation of human rights, period. It is also, worldwide, a significant cause of abortion, which denies any rights the fetus/unborn child may have, too.

No one has the right to discriminate against women & children this way. especially a religious institution that professes respect for life. This is highly disrespectful towards *both* lives.

Birth and death: Time to unleash the power of women

Theresa, thank you so much for your WRA work, which is doing so much to bring about this global convergence on action for maternal mortality.

Peru: A national conversation on abortion and women's rights

In the Peruvian debate, I wonder if there is any consciousness of disability rights or input from any organized disability rights movement?

B/c in oither countries, disabled people & disability rights activists (I personally belong to both groups) --whether we identify as prolife or prochoice--thoroughly question the practice of aborting fetuses b/c they have disabilities/health conditions.

We link it to discrimination against the already born with disabilities. And of course we fight for parents to have the information and medical and social support necessary for them & their children to live & thrive.

This is no doubt a taller order in a poor nation like Peru. But the struggle is probably even more needeed.

Indian women denied maternal health care

old inequalities die hard--but thank goodness for this resistance among Dalits.
hema konsotia & her mother are models of women's dignity.

Laboring in poverty: A global problem caught on film

Lisa, gratitude for this. I am a woman who is alive today, with her daughter, because in the US, even as a woman in poverty I was able to access the C section and other medical care we needed. It is so heartbreaking that other women and children suffer these preventable deaths and injuries. The poverty of the global poor is much deeper than even the poor of the richer nations can fathom.

Helping unwed mothers in Morocco through entrepreneurship

Always glad to hear of yet another peace warrior in the global struggle for the rights & needs of single mothers & theur children.

Gender inequality: The basic issue

Jane, thank you so much for your advocacy for UNFPA, the world's largest force for addressing maternal mortality & other reproductive injustices.

Are pregnant women expendable?


Video response: The High maternal mortality rate in Nepal

Our family has a long history of supporting development projects in Nepal. All the more reason to keep at it!

3 art videos that make you think

beautiful & positive messages, thank you for applying your talents in this way

Singapore: Mothering the mother

Thank you for this story, with its strong messages of contraceptive responsiblity as well as hope for women & children of unplanned pregnancies. Discrimination against and rejection of single mothers & their children is rife around the world.

And parents who support their children & grandchildren through and beyond pregnancy are so vital to abolishing this stigma.

Why are pregnant women dying in Asia?

Thank you--just makes me even more motivated to fight against maternal mortality.

What I learned from teenage mothers in Brazil

Amy, thank you for this powerful essay & photos.

It is not surprising to me that these young women from the favelas identify with the plight of fetuses/unborn children threatened by abortion, even as their own desperate circumstances make it feel like their only "choice" sometimes.

Many people around the world who struggle with poverty, discrimination, & violence also have such an identification.

This sense of empathy for the unborn can & often does translate into empathy for women & our nonabortion sexual/reproductive rights, for all others who face injury and annihilation.

It is not always a rightwing sectarian ideology limited to the period of life between conception and birth, but something that arises from experience and a desire for a better world.

I wish our public discourse on sexual/reproductive rights would be more open to such perspectives and their implications.

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