FEATURE: INDIA Prime Minister’s Cabinet tables proposal for abortion law reform
14 February 2020
International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
On 29 January 2020, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Modi published the text of a bill to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The bill is to be introduced in the ensuing session of the Union Parliament, where it will be debated. A summary of the current law, the amendments it proposes, and responses to the bill by leading NGOs working for abortion rights in India are reported below. Text in quotes is taken direct from the source.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971
The 1971 Act says that a pregnancy may be terminated up to 20 weeks of pregnancy with the approval of one registered medical practitioner up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, or the approval of “no less than two registered medical practitioners” from 12 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Approval must be given “in good faith” that:
Global gag rule is cutting off funding for much needed health services
Thursday February 13 2020
By Moses Mulumba
For close to 15 years, I have been working as a health and human rights advocate, focusing on ensuring social justice in health systems for the most vulnerable.
Unsurprisingly, I have witnessed that women, mothers and young girls continue to be the major users of the health system. This is largely because of the critical maternal function they perform in society.
How openDemocracy is tracking anti-abortion misinformation around the world
Nine months ago, we began following the money of two US religious right groups. Then, we deployed our own global network – of feminist investigative journalists.
Claire Provost and Nandini Archer
12 February 2020
US religious right activists with links to Trump’s White House have supported the spread of what are called ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ around the world, openDemocracy’s Tracking the Backlash project revealed this week.
There are thousands of these centres in the US where some have been previously criticised for presenting themselves as neutral health facilities while hiding their anti-abortion and religious agendas from women who are looking for help. But the global scale of these activities has not been mapped until now.
European lawmakers demand action on anti-abortion misinformation
openDemocracy investigation sparks cross-party European legislators' call for action on “deliberate disinformation” of vulnerable pregnant women.
Peter Geoghegan and Francesca Visser
12 February 2020
A growing number of European lawmakers from across the political spectrum are calling for action against “deliberate disinformation” targeted at vulnerable women following an openDemocracy special investigation.
This week, openDemocracy revealed that some ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ around the world discourage women from using contraception and say, incorrectly, that abortions increase risks of getting cancer or becoming abusive towards children.
Priest says ‘pedophilia doesn’t kill anyone’ but abortion does, in defense of denying communion to lawmakers
By Kim Bellware
Feb. 11, 2020
A Rhode Island priest is doubling down on his recent call to deny Communion to lawmakers who voted in favor of an abortion rights bill.
After the Rev. Richard Bucci of Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick, R.I., drew a backlash with his initial announcement two weeks ago, the 72-year-old priest dug in, telling Rhode Island’s NBC 10 in an interview over the weekend, “We are not talking about any other moral issue, where some may make it a comparison between pedophilia and abortion."
How the debate over the ERA became a fight over abortion
Because only women can have abortions, conservatives argue restrictions on the procedure could be found unconstitutional under the Equal Rights Amendment.
By ELEANOR MUELLER and ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN
Conservative activists waged a successful campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment decades ago by warning it would force women into combat, legalize gay marriage and erode gender roles.
But in 2020, opponents are zeroing in on one line of attack: a claim that ERA would require taxpayer-funded abortions.
How Down Syndrome Became a New Front in the Abortion Wars
Families are being caught in the crossfire as states enact laws to ban Down syndrome-related abortions.
by Carter Sherman and Dan Ming
Feb 11 2020 (12 minute video)
When Ben and Marissa O’Donnell found out that their child would be born with Down syndrome, both of them knew that abortion was an option.
“In a moment like that, you go through mentally many dark hallways,” said Marissa O’Donnell, who lives in suburban Massachusetts about an hour outside Boston. “I didn't get so far down that hallway to a place of — where I felt like I didn't think that we could handle it. But I did sort of fall into a deep place of feeling like my life would be so different.”
The Trump Administration Wants Health Insurance Companies to Drop Abortion Coverage from Your Insurance Plan
The administration passed a new rule that would impose more than $1 billion in unnecessary costs in an effort to coerce insurance companies to stop offering coverage for abortion.
Meagan Burrows , Staff Attorney, ACLU
February 11, 2020
From denying access to abortion for unaccompanied immigrant minors, to gutting the Title X family planning program, to trying to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers and universities cover contraception in their health plans, the Trump administration has spent the last three years waging an unrelenting, targeted campaign against reproductive freedom. And the administration does not appear to be losing steam. Indeed, just last month, Donald Trump became the first president to address the annual anti-abortion march in D.C.
Well, we aren’t losing steam either. We have sued the administration time and time again over its policies, including those detailed above. Today, we filed a lawsuit challenging the administration’s latest (and possibly most under-reported) attempt to undermine reproductive rights to date: a new rule that would push abortion further out of reach for millions of people across the country by coercing insurance companies to drop abortion coverage from individual insurance plans.
Louisiana has passed nearly 100 anti-abortion restrictions since Roe v. Wade
By Kate Smith
February 11, 2020 / CBS News
Since abortion was nationally legalized nearly 50 years ago, Louisiana has enacted almost 100 anti-abortion restrictions, more than any other state in the country, according to a new study shared exclusively with CBS News.
The study, released by the Guttmacher Institute on Tuesday morning, highlights what some reproductive rights supporters say is a strategy to "regulate abortion out of existence."
The proposed liberalisation of abortion rules will ensure dignity, autonomy and justice for women
Published: 11th Feb 2020
The liberalisation of abortion rules in tune with the medical advancements and reproductive rights of women has been long overdue. The 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which imposes a 20-week limit beyond which abortion is prohibited, is regressive and out of sync with the 21st century realities. This has, in fact, proved tragic in many cases. A brutally raped minor was forced to give birth to her rapist’s child after a high court denied her request for abortion because by the time her petition was heard her pregnancy had crossed the 20-week limit prescribed by the law. There can be no greater injustice than this. The situation will, hopefully, change for the better now with the Union Cabinet giving nod for amendments to the Act seeking to raise the permission limit from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. This is a progressive move as it strengthens access to comprehensive abortion care without compromising on service and quality of safe abortion.