Being a Feminist Gynaecologist in the Patriarchal World of Medicine | #MyGynaecStory
Posted on 20 November, 2019
by Suchitra Dalvie
This piece has been published as a part of the Health Over Stigma campaign, which is aimed at dismantling the stigma surrounding sexual health of unmarried women, and demanding accountability from medical service providers for stigma-free, non judgemental sexual and reproductive healthcare services. In this piece, a senior gynaecologist who is associated with the campaign reflects on being a feminist gynaecologist in a patriarchal medical universe.
As a woman and a feminist I am beyond delighted to see this campaign!
It is time for us to claim rights over our own bodies and the narratives of our sexual and reproductive lives. It is critical to start holding accountable the systems that have ignored, oppressed and failed us repeatedly. It is vital to create a new world where this becomes the norm.
Medics’ attitude and stigma still a barrier to safe abortion
Law permits abortion in cases where mother's health is at risk
by Daniel Otieno
07 November 2019
The Constitution of Kenya permits abortion if in the opinion of a trained health care provider, the life of the woman is in danger or if a written law permits it. A written law here being any legislation passed by Parliament that permits termination of a pregnancy.
However, despite the Constitution being in place, many women still undergo unsafe abortion including going for backstreet methods and untrained midwives. The attitudes of health workers that are backed by religious values, the stigma associated with an unintended pregnancy, limited conversations between parents and adolescents, a lack of life skills education in schools and limited allocations to improving maternal health contribute to cases of unsafe abortion.
WHO guidelines on abortion will reduce maternal deaths
by Daniel Otieno
25 October 2019
In 1967, the World Health Organization highlighted unsafe abortion as a health issue affecting women.
However, it wasn’t until 1987 when the safe motherhood conference was held in Nairobi that the world understood unsafe abortion as a public health concern. At the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994, governments again identified unsafe abortion as a public health concern and pledged their commitment to reducing the need for abortion through expanded and improved family planning services.
Women’s empowerment is incomplete without access to safe abortion, but this just got worse
September 28, 2019
Women’s reproductive rights in general, and abortion in particular, have been the subject of intense debate globally. Even in countries where the law permits abortions women battle stigma, bias, lack of awareness and information, all of which result in restriction of access to safe abortion.
Almost 48 years after abortion was legalised in India, a majority of women continue to lack access to safe abortion care. Unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in India. Every day 10 women die in India due to unsafe abortion-related causes and many more suffer from morbidities such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, which are related to unsafe abortion practices – ranging from home remedies to inserting sharp foreign objects into the cervix.
Denial of abortion services violates women’s rights
Ruling allowing abortion will reduce maternal deaths, give women right to health
by Evelyn Odhiambo
07 August 2019
Approximately seven women and girls die daily as a result of unsafe abortion whereas Sh533 million is used in treating complications related to unsafe abortion. Many of these women are left infertile or with lifelong disabilities and haemorrhage.
Girls and women in informal settlements are mostly affected, coupled with abortion-related stigma. Restrictive laws on termination of pregnancy result in women seeking services from unqualified medical personnel where the minimum cost is Sh1,500 not forgetting the limited chances of survival and complications.
Abortion stigma denies survivors speedy treatment
Medical staff fear in the event that the woman succumbs to illness, the health practitioners will be arrested
by Daniel Otieno, Star Blogs
17 July 2019
Cultures that do not allow pregnancy before marriage and fear by health workers to attend to survivors of unsafe abortion cause a delay in providing post-abortion care hence increasing abortion-related deaths.
At the facilities, medical personnel will not attend to women who had attempted procuring abortion as they fear that in the event that the woman succumbs to illness, the health practitioners will be arrested.
Guidelines can stop unnecessary abortion deaths
Unsafe abortions could be one of the main causes of maternal mortality in Kenya.
By GEORGE MORARA
July 11, 2019
In April 2012, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights released a report on the status of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in Kenya. This was the result of a public inquiry following a complaint by the Federation of Women Lawyers and the Centre for Reproductive Rights that, despite having in place a progressive legal and policy framework, women and girls still face sexual and reproductive health violations.
The KNCHR cited several barriers that impede access to quality sexual and reproductive health services — including unavailability of abortion and post-abortion services, lack of accurate and comprehensive information and high cost of services.
Four Myths About Abortion That We Need To Stop Peddling
By FII Team -
June 24, 2019
It’s high time we get rid of these pernicious myths about abortion that add to abortion stigma and make abortion harder to access for women and trans people seeking access to reproductive healthcare.
1. Abortions are dangerous.
Let’s put to rest the myth that abortions are a dangerous procedure. Abortions, when conducted by legitimate and registered medical professionals, are a very safe procedure with minimal risks.
Unsafe abortion complications eat into health budget
Money spent on treating these complications could have been used to provide family planning services
by Daniel Otieno, Star Blogs
18 June 2019
Treatment of complications of unsafe abortion consumes a disproportionate amount of health systems resources in Kenya including staff time and acquisition of medical supplies.
Last year, severe complications from unsafe abortion accounted for 54 per cent of the total health costs. Post-abortion care also consumes a significant amount of resources that would otherwise be spent on other areas of health including reproductive, maternal and child health.
Addressing stigma while moving a national campaign: Spotlight on South Korea
Posted June 18, 2019
by inroads Comms, with Na Young
In this article, inroads member, Na Young, of the The Sexual and Reproductive Rights Forum and the Joint Action for Reproductive Justice in South Korea shares with us in detail what it took to generate a people’s movement to get rid of an anti-abortion law and the stigma-busting that is still ongoing.
1) How has abortion stigma shown up around the law historically in Korea?
Anti-abortion law was first made in Korea during the Japanese occupation. After Independence and the Korean War, the first assembly decided to keep the punishment clauses on abortion made by the Japanese government. According to this law, women who get an abortion can spend up to a year in prison or be fined up to 2 million won (about 1,850 dollars). Doctors, midwives and any healthcare workers who provide abortions can face up to two years in prison.