Malawi: Chiefs, MPs and faith leaders tussle over Termination of Pregnancy Bill: Lunguzi ‘clarify’ her stand

December 22, 2016 Alfred Chauwa – Nyasa Times

Traditional authorities, Members of Parliament and leaders of political parties have been meeting in Salima to discuss on the way forward and current status of a bill that would change the law to allow women to terminate a pregnancy known as Termination of Pregnancy or TOP.

The bill is currently generating a lot of debate due to cultural, religious and economic aspect attached to it.

Recently the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) and Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) petitioned Parliament where the influential bodies openly told them “don’t discuss the bill”.

But speaking in Salima some traditional leaders expressed surprise that the stand was taken without their consultation.

"We just saw them demonstrating,” Senior chief Kasakula said.

He said the bill is very important because once it is passed into law, it will help to save women as it wwould also allow abortion in cases of incest, rape and foetal impairment .

The chief said women should decide what happens to their bodies because they are the ones who suffer.

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Source: Nyasa Times

Trump’s Presidency Could Be Life-Threatening to Women All Over the World

The next president will be able to restrict women's access not only to abortion but also to other health care services.
By Jill Filipovic
Dec 22, 2016

For millions of women, life is about to get more brutal, and potentially shorter, because of a president they didn’t elect in a country they’ve never been.

Much attention has been paid to the potential impact of a Donald Trump presidency on American women and minority groups in the United States — the threat posed to female citizens by a president who brags about sexual assault and suggests women should be punished for abortion, the potential infringements on the rights of Muslims and immigrants. But it’s not just people within U.S. borders who have reason to worry. For women around the world, a Donald Trump/Mike Pence administration spells a policy of active hostility to reproductive rights and using U.S. dollars to hold other countries hostage to American abortion politics. For women who aren’t American and who had no say in this election, Trump and Pence are going to have an awful lot of influence over their futures — and it’s not going to be good. Some of them likely won’t live through it.

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Source: Cosmopolitan

Ireland: Amnesty International “deeply concerned” at BAI ruling on abortion discussion

21st December 2016, Amnesty International

Reports that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has upheld a complaint against The Ray Darcy Show on RTE Radio One and will issue the programme with a warning are deeply concerning, said Amnesty International Ireland today. The complaint was made in response to an interview with Gaye and Gerry Edwards who appeared on the show to share their personal experience of an abortion following a fatal foetal impairment diagnosis.

“The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has a responsibility to ensure that broadcasting serves the public interest, including people’s right to seek information. Decisions like what has been reported today do not serve that function, and are deeply unhelpful,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.

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Source: Amnesty International

UK ‘Serious concerns’ over Marie Stopes abortion services

Dec 21, 2016

Inspectors raised "serious concerns" about patient safety at one of England's main abortion providers.

Marie Stopes International temporarily suspended some abortions services in August when the concerns were raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In one case, doctors did not ensure a woman with learning difficulties fully understood the procedure, the watchdog found.

MSI said it had made "considerable changes" since the inspections.

The CQC allowed all services to be resumed by the end of October.

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Irish returning for Christmas will make abortion views heard with #choice4xmas

IrishCentral Staff
December 20, 2016, Irish Central

The London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign has launched an airport ‘check-in at Christmas’ campaign, with the hashtag #choice4xmas. The newly formed group, the UK-based branch of the Irish movement to make abortion free, safe and legal, has launched a mass social media ‘check-in’ for Irish expats going home for Christmas. Their aim is everyone traveling to Ireland for the holiday can support for women traveling in the other direction, by ‘checking in’ on social media at ferry and airports and using the hashtag #choice4xmas.

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Source: Irish Central

US: A Century of Abortion Onscreen, 1916-2016

Dec 20, 2016, Rewire
by Gretchen Sisson

The end of 2016 marks the close of a century since the first silent film in the United States addressed abortion. In these past 100 years, film, television, and our popular culture have addressed abortion in evolving ways: from the pre-code films of the 1920s, to the exploitation films of the 1940s, to television plotlines in support of legal abortion in the 1960s, to the alternately stigmatizing and stigma-busting portrayals of the 1990s and early 21st century. The incorporation of abortion into onscreen storylines has been done for shock value, for sex educational purposes, for humor, for drama, and for horror. This presentation is not an exhaustive list of abortion stories in U.S. film and television (there are over 200 of them!), but it is meant to illustrate some of the notable examples, groundbreaking firsts, and trends that have emerged over time.

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Source: Rewire

Canada: Woman’s request for late-term abortion blocked by MUHC

Late abortion in low-risk pregnancy against McGill University Health Centre values, ethics committee ruled

By Salimah Shivji, Benjamin Shingler, CBC News.
Posted: Dec 20, 2016

A Montreal woman says she had to fight for a late-term abortion after the McGill University Health Centre's ethics committee blocked her request, raising questions about access to the procedure in Quebec.

The woman was in her third trimester, 30 weeks pregnant, when she and her partner found out there were abnormalities with the fetus.

After numerous tests at different hospitals, she decided she'd rather have an abortion, but the MUHC refused.

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Welcome to El Salvador: Forty years’ jail for your miscarriage

2016 Issue 3, Conscience
By Andrew Buncombe
Posted Dec 20, 2016

When Maria Teresa Rivera was jailed in El Salvador for 40 years after suffering a miscarriage, the authorities would not allow her to keep a photograph of her son, Oscar. So she would shut her eyes and call up moments from the past, memories that burned bright and deep, and which allowed her to form an image of the youngster in her mind. Being away from Oscar for the five years she eventually served was the most difficult aspect of her incarceration. “Sometimes I would feel sad and desperate,” she told me, a few days after she was released this past spring. “I would go to the church and pray. It helped a lot.” Ms. Rivera, 33, was a victim of what is probably the most draconian legal situation in the world for repro­ductive rights.

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Source: Conscience

London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign Open Meeting Feb 2017

(posted Dec 19, 2016)
by London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign

Feb 01, 2017

All are welcome to the second open meeting of the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign (formerly Repeal the 8th London), the London branch of the Abortion Right Campaign which stands in solidarity with the 3,500+ women who travel outside of Ireland to access abortion every year.

The London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign aims to bring together people in London to call for the Repeal of the 8th Amendment from the Irish constitution, and the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

The agenda will be updated closer to the time but we are pleased to announce the following now:

- Speakers:

Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor, Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment; Executive Adviser, YES EQUALITY Campaign; former Head of Women's Studies in UCD will be speaking

Emma Campbell, Chair of Alliance for Choice, a member-based organisation that campaigns for the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland and abortion rights in NI

Ann Furedi, Chief executive of BPAS, the UK's largest independent abortion provider which has provided abortions to Irish women for a long time. BPAS give preferential rates to women travelling from Ireland for abortion, and recently launched a free telephone aftercare helpline for women in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man who have bought abortion medication online.

- Updates from working groups. Since our first open meeting, we've established 5 working groups (Lobbying, Media/Comms, Partnerships, Fundraising and Protest/Direct Action) who are all busy making plans.

If you missed our first open meeting in November, you can read all about it here:

Lecture Theatre

Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

Source: London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign

Consequences of abortion law reform in Victoria, Australia: perspectives of 19 abortion providers

by Safe Abortion, Dec 19, 2016

In Victoria, Australia, abortion was decriminalised in October 2008, bringing the law in line with clinical practice and community attitudes. However, according to interviews with 19 abortion service providers from a range of health care settings and geographic locations in the state in 2014-15, while abortion law reform was a positive event, it was perceived to have changed little about the provision of abortion. All the providers agreed that law reform had repositioned abortion as a health service rather than a legal issue, had shifted the power in decision-making from doctors to women, and had increased clarity and safety for doctors.

However, all of them also described outstanding concerns, including limited public provision of surgical abortion, reduced access to abortion after 20 weeks, ongoing stigma, lack of a state-wide strategy for equitable abortion provision, and an unsustainable workforce. Thus, a number of significant issues in abortion service provision have remained, and may even have resulted in a lull in action.

ABSTRACT: Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, by LA Keogh, D Newton, C Bayly, K McNamee, A Hardiman, A Webster, M Bismark, 2 December 2016. DOI: 10.1136/jfprhc-2016-101541 + VISUAL

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion