The Politics of Abortion Is Entering a New Era

The Politics of Abortion Is Entering a New Era
The Supreme Court won’t protect abortion access anymore. But thousands of activists will.

By Emily Douglas
Dec 3, 2019

America is a country that telegraphs profoundly conflicting ideas of how women should live their lives. There are five female candidates for president. Women are fully integrated into the paid labor force: Almost half of workers are women. Seventy percent of mothers with children work outside the home; the vast majority working full-time. Across income groups, but especially among low-income families, the wages women earn increasingly represent half—or more—of what their families live on. America depends on women’s labor, paid and unpaid, and expects women to dream big, just as men do.

And yet in 2019 alone, state after state has passed laws that, if enforced, would completely undermine the United States’ notion of itself as a country that embraces gender equality. These laws ban abortion, and they’re banning it as early as six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant. Alabama has banned abortion altogether, with only the narrowest exceptions. So far all these laws have been blocked by federal judges, but they will work their way up to the Supreme Court, where an anti-choice majority now holds sway.


USA – Abortion Without Apology

Abortion Without Apology

December 2, 2019
Posted by Meaghan Winter

Discussed in this essay: Without Apology: The Struggle for Abortion Now, by Jenny Brown. Verso, 2019. 208 pages.

IN 1969, THE NEW YORK CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT hosted a panel of 15 speakers—14 men and one nun—to discuss the possibility of creating narrow exceptions to New York’s strict anti-abortion laws for women who had been raped or faced other special circumstances. In the midst of the proceedings, an action group from the feminist organization New York Radical Women stood up to dispute the event’s very premise. The protesters shouted that they did not want to bicker over exceptions to sexist laws that controlled women’s lives; they wanted full reproductive freedom. A month later, the action group—now known as Redstockings—held its own hearing. There, 12 women, addressing an audience of several hundred, talked about their abortions. This abortion speak-out, the first of its kind, helped draw conversations about abortion, long shrouded in secrecy and shame, into the public sphere.


India – A pregnant silence on reproductive rights of women

A pregnant silence on reproductive rights of women
The country needs to recognise the wrongs and affirm the rights for advancing women’s sexual and reproductive health

Monday, 25 November 2019
Prabhleen Tuteja

Young women (15-24 years) constitute 11 per cent of India’s population, out of whom 41 per cent have faced sexual violence, 27 per cent are married before the legal age and 7.8 per cent (15-19 years) become mothers or are pregnant. The data on access to information on contraceptives reveals that only 17.7 per cent were informed about family planning by health workers and just 6.9 per cent women in Bihar and 11.6 per cent in Uttar Pradesh (UP) reported using contraceptives within marriage.

The policy level commitments on health, education and gender parity often look in absolute terms of changing certain societal norms through cash transfer based schemes, number of girls reported to be married before the legal age of marriage, status of body mass index and nutrition and sometimes enrollment in school and skill development among women. While evidence in these parameters are significant, this skewed approach to gender equality leaves out a range of issues, including prevalence of sexual violence and status of accessible sexual and reproductive health services. Stigma and fear attached to young women’s sexuality act as a major barrier in achieving gender equality.


Report: International Conference on Population & Development+25

International Conference on Population & Development+25
Nairobi, Kenya, 12-13-14 November 2019

Press Release: 22 November 2019

What was it about: some history

This conference has taken place every five years, beginning in 1994. At each follow-up meeting, the overarching purpose has been to measure progress (and the lack of progress) in implementing the 1994 Programme of Action, which was agreed by acclamation by the representatives of 179 countries, and the follow-up actions added at subsequent conferences. An excellent summary of the aims, goals and history of the conference can be found here and a 20th anniversary edition of the Programme of Action can be found here along with a global report on progress published in 2014.

In 1994, UNFPA, the conference convenor, described the Programme of Action as: “a bold new vision about the relationships between population, development and individual well-being… remarkable in its recognition that [sexual and] reproductive health and reproductive rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes. The Consensus is rooted in principles of human rights and respect for national sovereignty and various religious and cultural backgrounds.


How PEI Became One Of The Most Accessible Places For Women’s Health Care In Canada

How PEI Became One Of The Most Accessible Places For Women’s Health Care In Canada
Within 10 months, PEI went from having no abortion services on the island to offering self-referral. What can the province teach the rest of the country?

by Emily Baron Cadloff
Updated Nov 20, 2019

When Courtney Cudmore learned she was pregnant in 2015, she knew immediately what she would do. At 31 years old, the Charlottetown restaurant worker was already a mother of two, and her then-fiancée had taken a job out of province. She was overwhelmed and scared, and she wanted desperately not to be pregnant. Cudmore saw a doctor at a walk-in clinic, who she says told her he had a religious objection to abortion. After she pleaded with him, he reluctantly gave her a prescription for a medical abortion. She tried several pharmacies before finding one that would fill it.

“There was no way I could bring another child into the equation. What was I going to do? How was I going to feed it? Clothe it? Find room for it?” she wrote at the time on Facebook.


Indian Women Are Fighting Stigma by Sharing Their Personal Abortion Stories

Indian Women Are Fighting Stigma by Sharing Their Personal Abortion Stories
The My Body My Choice campaign is creating a safe space through which abortion can be discussed and understood openly by women in India.

by Meera Navlakha
20 November 2019

“I had just turned 26, my partner was without a job [and] I was struggling to figure out life,” said one anonymous woman in a post released on Instagram by the My Body My Choice campaign. She explains how she found out she was pregnant, after days of feeling dizzy. “What began after that was an excruciating process of figuring out how, when and where to seek an abortion.”

“My stomach would cramp all of a sudden and I’d feel the deepest sense of loss,” said another woman, describing her abortion story.


USA – Twitter is banning political ads. Nonprofits like mine could suffer.

Twitter is banning political ads. Nonprofits like mine could suffer.
The platform’s latest policy could make it harder to combat misinformation.

By Lizz Winstead
Nov 20, 2019

Last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced his platform would not only start banning political ads, but also ads about issues like climate change, immigration, and abortion.

In typical knee-jerk fashion, cable news pundits and even Democrats praised Twitter’s move as a game-changing, responsible action that will distinguish it from Facebook’s numb-founding decision to decline to fact-check its political ads, thereby allowing politicians to pay for posts that promote any wild accusation or debunked conspiracy theory. But activists saw the bigger picture. As the founder of the Abortion Access Front, Twitter’s announced policy would have killed our nonprofit’s ability to pay for ads that promote our shows, rallies, and actions where we push back against dishonest anti-abortion rhetoric with facts.


USA – The Last Abortion Clinic in West Virginia

The Last Abortion Clinic in West Virginia

Esther Wang
Nov 18, 2019

The Women’s Health Center in Charleston, West Virginia is an unassuming, single-story beige brick building in a shabby neighborhood, just steps from the train tracks and a crisis pregnancy center, a shuttered vape shop, and a row of small homes surrounded by chainlink fences. I visited the center, the last abortion clinic in the state, on a Wednesday in June, one of the two days each week that the clinic performs abortions. Christopher McComas, 52, stood by the entrance to the clinic’s parking lot, equipped with a cell phone that he trained at everyone who approached the clinic.

“Hey brother, can I talk to you for a second? Please, for a second? Do you think it’s going to be a boy or a girl? Does it have blue eyes, or maybe brown eyes?” McComas yelled at one couple, a tall photo of a blood-covered fetus propped up by his side. “God loves you, please don’t do this ma’am! I beg you not to do this! It could be a boy or a girl,” he continued to yell at the couple as they entered the clinic, shielded by a large umbrella held by a clinic escort. “It could have brown hair!”


USA – Why is the head of the Seattle-based Planned Parenthood affiliate calling the shots in Indiana and Kentucky?

Why is the head of the Seattle-based Planned Parenthood affiliate calling the shots in Indiana and Kentucky?

Nov. 17, 2019
By Nina Shapiro, Seattle Times staff reporter

In mid-September, Chris Charbonneau flew to Fort Wayne, Indiana — triumphant. The CEO of the Seattle-based Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands had just pulled off a stealth operation.

Last year, Fort Wayne’s only Planned Parenthood clinic closed. The landlord didn’t renew the lease. A nurse practitioner left after a group called Created Equal distributed flyers with her name and photo. It was an attempt to pressure her to “stop doing evil,” said the organization’s vice president, Seth Drayer.


Black Voices of Feminism Make Headway in Latin America

Black Voices of Feminism Make Headway in Latin America

November 14, 2019
By Ivet Gonzalez (IPS)

HAVANA TIMES – Within the green scarves’ movement fighting for abortion rights and against femicide, Afro-descendant women in Latin America are raising their voices more and more every day, to underline the disadvantages and invisibility they suffer in society.

The growing capacity to get women’s movements to fight for abortion rights and against gender-based violence, reaffirms the mark that feminism has had on the region. However, diversity within this struggle, such as the fight of black and mixed-race women in a region with 133 million Afro-descendants, still lags behind.