USA – Abortion ‘reversal’: the latest sham from anti-choice activists trying to end women’s rights

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USA – Abortion ‘reversal’: the latest sham from anti-choice activists trying to end women’s rights

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Aug 18, 2017

For years, the US anti-abortion movement has promoted various falsehoods, e.g. that women regret their abortions. Now, some of them are claiming that an unproven treatment can counter the effect of mifepristone, the first pill used in the two-drug regimen of medical abortion, thereby giving women a “second chance” to keep their baby. Despite the hype, there is no evidence that flooding the body with progesterone – a hormone pregnant patients already have a lot of – increases the chance of continuing the pregnancy. In fact, in the extremely rare case that a patient changes their mind before taking the second pill, watchful waiting and inaction appears to be just as effective.

Use of medical abortion pills has steadily risen in the US, now representing almost half of all abortions. Medical abortion has the potential to radically transform the way patients access and experience abortion by moving it out of a clinic and more directly into the hands of the user. It also challenges the anti-abortion movement’s long-standing strategy of demonizing clinicians who do surgical abortions and the instruments they use.

In an independent clinic in North Carolina, a woman who counsels 20-40 patients a week on medical abortion, said that over the past five years since she has been working at the clinic, she has seen only one patient express remorse immediately after swallowing the mifepristone pill. She and the clinic staff helped the young woman to vomit the medication and counselled her on what to do if she began to abort. They did hear from the woman again: one week later when she came back to the clinic for a surgical abortion.

This article  was written in response to an article in the New York Times about so-called abortion pill reversal. The NY Times article is a long, detailed history of the changes in anti-abortion tactics in the USA over a long period of time, opening with the story of a very religious woman who got pregnant with someone who was not the partner she wanted, sought an abortion though it was against her beliefs, and after taking mifepristone, decided it was a mistake. Through a web search she came across an anti-abortion group who oppose the use of medical abortion pills and claimed the effect can be cancelled out by taking progesterone. This claim is based on the experience of only four women whose pregnancies might well have continued anyway. But that has not stopped several anti-abortion state legislatures in the US from passing laws requiring that women be told that “reversal” is possible.

Women who take the mifepristone pill, regret the decision and seek “reversal” are in fact very few and far between. But the anti-abortion view, as explained by Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University, is that peddling “reversal” is worth it “even if the laws are eventually struck down or the protocol turns out to be ineffective. Just raising the question of uncertainty and regret affects the abortion pill’s reputation. You’re changing… what people think about this kind of abortion. You can do that regardless of what the research ultimately shows.’’

In other words, if you tell people the same lie often enough, they may believe you.

SOURCES: The Guardian, by Renee Bracey Sherman, Daniel Grossman, 2 August 2017 ; New York Times, by Ruth Graham, 18 July 2017 ; VISUAL

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/usa-abortion-reversal-the-latest-sham-from-anti-choice/

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U.S.: Lessons from before Abortion Was Legal Before 1973, abortion in the U.S. was severely restricted. More than 40 years later Roe v. Wade is under attack, and access increasingly depends on a woman’s income or zip code By Rachel Benson Gold, Megan K. Donovan | Scientific American September 2017 Issue Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Email Print Share via Google+ Stumble Upon Abortion-rights supporters and opponents stage rallies in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 20, 2016. Credit: Mark Wilson Getty Images When she went before the u.s. Supreme Court for the first time in 1971, the 26-year-old Sarah Weddington became the youngest attorney to successfully argue a case before the nine justices—a distinction she still holds today. Weddington was the attorney for Norma McCorvey, the pseudonymous “Jane Roe” of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized the constitutional right to abortion—one of the most notable decisions ever handed down by the justices.

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Lessons from before Abortion Was Legal

Before 1973, abortion in the U.S. was severely restricted. More than 40 years later Roe v. Wade is under attack, and access increasingly depends on a woman's income or zip code

By Rachel Benson Gold, Megan K. Donovan | Scientific American September 2017 Issue
Posted Aug 15, 2017

When she went before the u.s. Supreme Court for the first time in 1971, the 26-year-old Sarah Weddington became the youngest attorney to successfully argue a case before the nine justices—a distinction she still holds today.

Weddington was the attorney for Norma McCorvey, the pseudonymous “Jane Roe” of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized the constitutional right to abortion—one of the most notable decisions ever handed down by the justices.

Continued at source: Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lessons-from-before-abortion-was-legal/

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India: Right to Safe Abortion

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Right to Safe Abortion

Suchitra Dalvie is Coordinator, The Asia Safe Abortion Partnership.
Aug 15, 2017

The case of the 10 year old victim of rape who is pregnant and awaiting delivery after being denied permission to abort by the courts is an urgent indication that all stakeholders must come together and find a solution for unwanted pregnancies which present after 20 weeks.

Even as the 10-year old pregnant girl whose case has been widely reported in the media awaits deli­very in a hospital in Chandigarh, a 12-year old girl in Mumbai has been found to be 27 weeks pregnant. Both are victims of rape by men known to their families. The first was assaulted over seven months by her uncle while in the latter’s case it was a man who worked with her father and rented a room from the family.

Continued at source: Economic and Political Weekly: http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/32/web-exclusives/right-safe-abortion.html

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WOMEN HELP WOMEN – Supporting Independent Use of Abortion Medicines: fighting stigma one email at a time

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WOMEN HELP WOMEN – Supporting Independent Use of Abortion Medicines: fighting stigma one email at a time

August 15, 2017
by Women Help Women

Although self-management of medical abortion presents enormous potential for the empowerment of women, the experience of individual women in countries where abortion is legally restricted often remains deeply stigmatized, despite the availability of safe abortion pills. It builds on other forms of discrimination and structural injustices. Ultimately, abortion stigma serves to marginalize an essential medical process, discredit those who would provide or procure it, and undermine those who advocate for its legality and accessibility.

A woman who manages her own abortion is committing a political act by refusing to submit to various oppressive systems, whether intending to or not. By taking control into her own hands, she is rejecting systems of law, local medical practice, societal norms, religious norms and sometimes deeply held personal beliefs.

False messages intended to frighten women off

> The pills are misused by women and cannot be self-managed.

> No woman should ever do this by herself because she will likely die or become infertile.

> This process should never be made so easy.

WHW works steadily to empower, destigmatize and provide support in each and every message and action. Any intervention on behalf of independent use in restrictive settings must engage fully in conversation. Each person deserves to feel heard, understood and respected. Stigma can feel overwhelming but can be addressed brick-by-brick in small but meaningful written exchanges. We emphasize that abortion is a common experience, and they are not alone. We offer reliable information on medical, legal and logistical aspects of accessing and safely taking abortion medicines, sharing research data, and the experiences of others. We talk about how safe self-management of abortion medicines is, but we encourage women to be close to the hospital if additional care is needed. After desperation, fear, shame and secrecy, women express relief and astonishment after the abortion is over, because they experienced no complications, and they feel healthy both physically and emotionally.

FULL TEXT:  English  / Español

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Continued at source: International Campaign for women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/women-help-women-supporting-independent-use-of-abortion-medicines/

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Iceland: “What kind of society do you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing

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"What kind of society do you want to live in?": Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing

By Julian Quinones, Arijeta Lajka, CBS News
Aug 14, 2017

With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.

Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women -- close to 100 percent -- who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.

Continued at source: CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/down-syndrome-iceland/

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Uganda: These are the consequences of the 2017 version of US’ anti-abortion Global Gag rule

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These are the consequences of the 2017 version of US’ anti-abortion Global Gag rule
Global Gag Rule Uganda

Written by Charles Ledford, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
August 13, 2017, Quartz africa

Uganda’s highway A-109 shoots across the plain from Kampala past the occasional storefront shops and open-air kiosks common to the continent’s roadsides. After rising into the verdant tea plantations of the country’s Western Region, it passes through Fort Portal near the Congolese border. From there, a turn off the main road leaves the reasonably well-maintained tarmac behind in favor of red clay washboard and bone-shaking potholes. Finally, it devolves into a footpath running between a few dozen housing compounds in a village called Kalera.

Though Kalera is poor by western standards, it doesn’t approach the desperation found in many poorer parts of Africa. Flinty, hard-working women tend small plots of bananas, potatoes, maize and soybeans. These plots border larger fields of tea, a cash crop. Goats and chickens roam. The village teems with children. Today, at least, there are no men in sight.

Continued at source: Quartz Africa: https://qz.com/1051605/trumps-anti-abortion-global-gag-rule-and-its-impact-in-uganda/

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Kenya: What it is like to have unsafe abortion

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What it is like to have unsafe abortion

Aug. 09, 2017
By JOHN MUCHANGI

Close to 21,000 Kenyan women end up in hospitals every year, with complications of unsafe abortions.

Some of them succumb. But apart from physical injuries, survivors endure years of emotional and psychological trauma, yet they cannot talk about it.

Talk on abortion remains highly emotive and stigmatised, but counsellors say silence is not golden. It can kill.

Which is why some community groups in Western Kenya now encourage women — and men — to freely share their unsafe abortion experiences.

Continued at source: The Star: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/08/09/what-it-is-like-to-have-unsafe-abortion_c1610203

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When 343 French ‘Sluts’ Fought for Abortion Rights — and Won

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When 343 French 'Sluts' Fought for Abortion Rights — and Won

By Fiona Zublin

“I declare that I am one of them. I declare that I have had an abortion.” So signed Simone de Beauvoir, Catherine Deneuve, Agnès Varda and other famous French women, bravely adding their names to the “Manifesto of the 343,” a document that could have led to their prosecution, and that raised the profile of French pro-choice activists.

It was April 1971, and hundreds of French women signed their names, swearing they had sought illegal abortions. The manifesto arguably led to the advent of laws favoring a woman’s right to choose in France — a country that while famously liberal in many ways, has often lagged on women’s rights. French women weren’t allowed to vote until 1944, and while Roe v. Wade gave American women the right to an abortion in 1973, in the early 1970s, French women were still traveling to the U.K. — where abortion was legalized in 1967 — whenever they decided that pregnancy and motherhood wasn’t a viable option.

Continued at source: Ozy.com: http://www.ozy.com/flashback/when-343-french-sluts-fought-for-abortion-rights-and-won/79733

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SWEDEN- The case of the anti-abortion Swedish midwives – again

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SWEDEN- The case of the anti-abortion Swedish midwives – again

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
August 8, 2017

On 17 March, 19 April and 31 May, we published three reports from Sweden on the cases of two midwives who sought to keep their jobs in spite of declaring conscientious objection to abortion, which is not recognised under Swedish law, and refusing to provide abortion services, which were a part of their job descriptions. The most recent report said they were considering taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights, as they had failed to win their case in the Swedish courts. It would appear they have done so.

However, on 18 July, we received an e-mail from someone in Sweden which explained that the case the two midwives took to the European Court was not an appeal against the Swedish courts’ rulings, but a new case. The writer said:

“The verdict against Ellinor Grimmark that came out of Sweden’s Labour Court in April cannot be appealed. The other midwife with the same story, Linda Steen, who also sued her county and was ruled against, appealed to the Labour Court, which declined to hear the case. So these cases are, in point of fact, concluded.

“However, the two midwives have sued Sweden before the European Court of Human Rights. This is not an appeal of the verdicts in their respective labour disputes, but a separate suit alleging human rights violations by the Swedish government.

“It should be noted that Sweden has a shortage of midwives. Due to this shortage, many counties offer nurses a salaried position while they go through a tax-funded training programme to become midwives, on the condition that they then work for that county for a certain time after qualifying.

“Grimmark took one of these positions in Jönköping county. She only alerted the county of her refusal to perform certain tasks within a midwife’s job description shortly before completing her training. The county did not sue her for breach of contract, but simply informed her that she was disqualified from employment as a midwife. Steen did the exact same thing, in Södermanland county.

“There are rumours that these two were specifically recruited to carry out this legal assault on Swedish women’s abortion rights, but these are unconfirmed. What is clear is that both these women entered into contracts to receive large sums of taxpayer money, then broke their contracts after receiving the money and launched frivolous lawsuits to further a religious agenda. When the verdicts came down and they were forced to pay the counties’ legal fees, these were covered by funds raised, in part, by the ADF [Alliance Defending Freedom, USA anti-abortion group].”

On 8 June, the ADF published a statement that Ellinor Grimmark’s case to the European Court is that she had to seek work in another country because she refused to participate in abortions. On 16 June, the so-called Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers reported: “On 14 June two Swedish midwives together with the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers filed a complaint against Sweden to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for violations of the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.” The arguments they put forward are that the women were denied the right to work within their profession, and that most countries in the Council of Europe permit conscientious objection.

SOURCE: E-mail, 18 July 2017. The writer did not give permission to publish his name.

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/sweden-the-case-of-the-anti-abortion-swedish-midwives-again/

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Australia: This Is Why Getting An Abortion Outside Of A Major City Is So Damned Hard

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This Is Why Getting An Abortion Outside Of A Major City Is So Damned Hard
"It can be a difficult place for patients to access contraception, let alone abortion."

Posted on August 07, 2017
Gina Rushton
BuzzFeed News Reporter, Australia

Renata lives in Inverell, a “small country town” in rural New South Wales where “everyone knows everyone”.

In 2009 she fell pregnant unexpectedly.

“We had only been together for about seven weeks and things were already going south in the relationship at that point,” Renata, who asked for us not to use her real name for privacy reasons, told BuzzFeed News.

“I was 19-years-old and I was really scared about going to my family GP because I thought it would get back to my parents.

Continued at source: Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/ginarushton/getting-an-abortion-outside-of-a-major-city

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