The Guardian view on Northern Ireland and abortion: the mounting demand for change

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The Guardian view on Northern Ireland and abortion: the mounting demand for change
Editorial
A judgment from the UK’s supreme court adds to the already overwhelming case for reforming oppressive laws

Thu 7 Jun 2018

The moral case for the reform of Northern Ireland’s harsh abortion laws, which forbid terminations even in the case of rape or fatal foetal abnormalities, has long been clear. But the sweeping victory for reform in the Irish abortion referendum last month made it starker than ever. The logical case is obvious: the restrictions do not prevent but displace abortions, with women travelling across the Irish Sea to end their pregnancies. The political case is equally evident: poll after poll has shown that voters in Northern Ireland believe the law must change. Now the supreme court has laid out the legal case.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/07/the-guardian-view-on-northern-ireland-and-abortion-the-mounting-demand-for-change

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The Observer view on the global threat to access to abortion

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The Observer view on the global threat to access to abortion
Women’s reproductive rights are under widespread threat, not least in America. This is no time for complacency

Observer editorial
Sun 20 May 2018

During his eight years in the White House, one of the themes President Obama frequently reflected on in speeches was the non-linear nature of social progress. “Progress doesn’t travel in a straight line,” he told Rutgers students in his commencement address in 2016. “It remains uneven and at times for every two steps forward, it feels like we take one step back.”

Those words feel particularly apt in relation to women’s rights. In the last year, the #MeToo movement has seen women globally assert their right to live and work without the threat of sexual assault and harassment. But in the world’s wealthiest democracy, women’s reproductive rights are more imperilled than they have been in 30 years.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/20/observer-view-on-abortion-donald-trump-gag-rule

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The Irish Times view on the abortion referendum: The shadow campaign

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The Irish Times view on the abortion referendum: The shadow campaign
It is incumbent on all of us to talk with friends and family about what we are seeing online and whether it should be trusted

May 7, 2018

With less than three weeks to go to the referendum on repeal of the Eighth Amendment, concern has been expressed across the political spectrum about the potential impact of unregulated online advertising and of misleading information being disseminated via social media platforms.

Experience elsewhere suggests these digital campaigns are likely to increase in intensity as voting day approaches. Also that it will be impossible to gain a full picture of what is actually happening online before the vote takes place. The nature of targeted digital advertising, particularly on platforms such as Facebook, means certain messages will be restricted to specific demographic groups while remaining invisible to the rest of us.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-the-abortion-referendum-the-shadow-campaign-1.3486827

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Canada: Governments should fund birth control, as they do HIV prevention

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Governments should fund birth control, as they do HIV prevention
MARINA ADSHADE and NIKO BELL, VANCOUVER
The Globe and Mail
Published January 7, 2018

Sixty-one per cent of Canadian women have had an unintended pregnancy, notes a study by Canada's Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Government policy is to blame.

On Jan. 1, the B.C. government joined Ontario and Quebec in offering coverage of a drug that prevents HIV infection for people at high risk. This is a smart move, spending a little money on prevention to save much more on health care down the road. If only the provinces were as clever when it came to providing affordable contraceptives for women; failing to do so costs taxpayers millions of dollars and imposes undue hardship on parents and children.

Continued at source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/governments-should-fund-birth-control-as-it-does-hiv-prevention/article37521476/

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Eighth Amendment: a watershed on abortion

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Eighth Amendment: a watershed on abortion
In drawing up a referendum wording and draft legislation, the Government has more scope than many believed

Dec 14, 2017

One of the peculiarities of the Irish debate on abortion in the early 1980s – a debate that was to culminate, but not find resolution, in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution – was that it was the anti-abortion side that set the terms. In the United States and mainland Europe, the momentum in those years was generated by pro-choice lobbies, but in Ireland the current moved in the opposite direction. Those who sought a more restrictive regime initially did all the running, and in time, by out-organising their opponents on the ground and skilfully playing politicians off against one another, they succeeded in having a ban on abortion written into the Constitution. Their fear was always that future, more liberal judges or politicians could move ahead of public opinion and pave the way for legal abortion.

Continued at source: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/eighth-amendment-a-watershed-on-abortion-1.3326263

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UK: The Guardian view on 50 years of legal abortion: let’s finish the work

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The Guardian view on 50 years of legal abortion: let’s finish the work
Editorial
David Steel’s act was a job half done. Abortion is not a crime, it’s a matter of health

Thursday 26 October 2017

It is 50 years on Friday since David Steel’s abortion act became law. It did not come into force until the following April. In those six months, it is likely that around 70 women died from sepsis or some other cause resulting from illegal abortion: in the previous decade, it claimed at least 150 lives a year, the biggest single cause of maternal mortality. Activists in a campaign that began in the 1930s toasted victory with champagne. But one veteran, who had had an illegal abortion herself, dampened the celebrations. They should be drinking half-glasses, she said, for the job was only half done.

Continued at source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/26/the-guardian-view-on-50-years-of-legal-abortion-lets-finish-the-work

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USA: Abortion Ideologues Subvert a Woman’s Rights

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Abortion Ideologues Subvert a Woman’s Rights
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
OCT. 20, 2017

Jane Doe is a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant detained in Texas who is 15 weeks pregnant and is seeking an abortion. The Constitution grants her that right, but the Trump administration is determined to subvert it as part of its war on women’s reproductive rights.

Late Friday, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that the teenager must be allowed to have an abortion, but it gave the federal government until Oct. 31 to find her a sponsor so that the government itself does not have to arrange for the procedure. The ruling came hours after the court heard the case, in which the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement said that if it released her to see a doctor it would “facilitate” an abortion, an action it said would contradict its interest in “promoting child birth and fetal life.” The government argued that barring an abortion doesn’t place an “undue burden” on her rights because she can always go home to get one — to a Central American country that criminalizes abortion and to parents who are abusive.

Continued at source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/20/opinion/abortion-immigrant-texas.html

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USA: Does the Trump administration want more unintended pregnancies?

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Does the Trump administration want more unintended pregnancies?

By Editorial Board
October 7, 2017

THE TRUMP administration on Friday tore a big hole in an important public-health law, eroding the federal requirement that health insurance plans cover contraception. The administration argued that not many women will ultimately be affected. We hope that is true.

The contraception mandate, which stemmed from the Affordable Care Act, originally offered an exemption to churches and their closely connected organizations — but not to religiously affiliated universities, charities, small businesses and other groups that wanted no involvement in providing birth control to anyone, and particularly not through the health plans they offered. Successive rounds of litigation finally pushed the objectors and the government close to a deal, in which religiously conscious groups could opt out of offering contraception coverage in their insurance plans and federal authorities would find ways to serve employees still seeking birth control. The Supreme Court last year suggested they could come to an arrangement.

Continued at source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/does-the-trump-administration-want-more-unintended-pregnancies/2017/10/07/f63a6914-aac7-11e7-850e-2bdd1236be5d_story.html?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

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Canada’s feminist foreign aid agenda

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Canada’s feminist foreign aid agenda
The Lancet
Published: 15 July 2017
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31860-3

Since his election in November, 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government has promised forward-looking health policies. Canada has always been seen as a global citizen in health, international affairs, and foreign aid, but under Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government (2006–15), credibility was questioned as he tilted Canada’s development programme for health and overseas aid priorities to align with trade goals, and his flagship Muskoka Initiative for maternal and child health ignored women’s reproductive health rights.

The announcement on June 9 of a CAN$5 billion annual aid plan for the next 5 years, directed at women’s organisations in the Global South, has now been welcomed as a feminist foreign aid strategy. 95% of Canadian foreign aid will now be committed to criteria specific to women, with the goal of empowering and improving the health and wellbeing of girls and women and their children.

Continued at source: The Lancet: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31860-3/fulltext

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U.S.: Alternative Science and Human Reproduction

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Alternative Science and Human Reproduction

R. Alta Charo, J.D.
June 14, 2017
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1707107

Human reproduction has become the victim of alternative science, rife with alternative definitions of well-understood medical conditions and characterized by rejection of the scientific method as the standard for generating and evaluating evidence. Alternative science begins with alternative facts of the sort propounded by the Trump administration and its appointees, including Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, who has claimed that “there’s not one” woman who can’t afford birth control on her own (despite the high up-front cost of the most reliable contraceptives). Alternative science is similarly embraced by recent executive-branch appointees Valerie Huber, Teresa Manning, Charmaine Yoest, and Katy Talento.

Continued at source: New England Journal of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1707107#t=article

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