COVID-19 lockdowns leading to a rise in violence against women and girls

COVID-19 lockdowns leading to a rise in violence against women and girls
The global COVID-19 pandemic in its indiscriminate spread has claimed loved ones before their time - once bustling cities and neighbourhoods now stand in ‘lock-down’.

14 May 2020
Jameen Kaur

While the spread of COVID-19 is indiscriminate, mounting evidence has revealed that COVID-19 has further compounded existing inequalities putting already marginalised women and girls, often with weaker access to political and economic power, at greater risk, not only to the coronavirus but also to the direct and indirect consequences of lock-down.

FIGO and our 132 National Member Societies commitment to promote women’s health and rights precedes the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the two are explicably linked. UN Women has reported a global rise in domestic violence cases and new evidence released by UNFPA reveals that for every 3 months the lockdown continues an additional 15 million cases of gender-based violence are expected, 13 million women will not be able to access modern contraceptives and there will be an estimate of 325,000 unintended pregnancies.


USA – Abortion during the Covid-19 Pandemic — Ensuring Access to an Essential Health Service

Abortion during the Covid-19 Pandemic — Ensuring Access to an Essential Health Service

Michelle J. Bayefsky, B.A., Deborah Bartz, M.D., M.P.H., and Katie L. Watson, J.D.
Perspective, NEJM
April 9, 2020
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2008006

Each year, nearly 1 million women choose to end a pregnancy in the United States, and about one quarter of American women will use abortion services by 45 years of age. Women’s ability to determine whether and when they have a child has profound consequences for their self-determination and for the economic, social, and political equality of women as a group. Because access to safe abortion care is time-sensitive and vitally important, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other reproductive health professional organizations issued an unequivocal statement on March 18, 2020, that they “do not support Covid-19 responses that cancel or delay abortion procedures.”

Despite ACOG’s position, governors in a number of states have called for a halt to abortion care throughout the Covid-19 epidemic. Governors in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Oklahoma have ordered or supported the cessation of both medication and surgical abortion, while governors in other states have directed that surgical abortion alone must stop.


Jamaica – Editorial | Whither abortion reform?

Editorial | Whither abortion reform?

Jamaica Gleaner
Monday | March 23, 2020

IT IS not clear whether Parliament’s Human Resources and Social Development Committee, which hasn’t had a sitting in recent months, has concluded its hearings on reforming the abortion law and, if it has, what it has recommended to legislators. Its chairman, Ronald Thwaites, will shed light on the matter, as well as informing the public how the committee intends to proceed.

Perchance they are not yet done deliberating, it is this newspaper’s hope that the committee will be inspired by last week’s developments on the matter in New Zealand, which finds its way in their report, and embraced by Jamaica’s legislators.


Thailand – End stigma of abortion

End stigma of abortion

published : 4 Mar 2020

Abortion has long been a highly stigmatised issue in Thailand given that it is considered "sinful" under Buddhist beliefs. Unsafe abortion at illegal clinics has remained an open secret for years.

However, calls for the legalisation of abortion have not been supported by lawmakers mostly due to religious concerns. Sadly, women and girls with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies have been deprived of their right to choose what they want to do with their bodies and their future.


The Guardian view on demography and politics: nationalist narratives must be challenged

The Guardian view on demography and politics: nationalist narratives must be challenged
Women’s autonomy and reproductive rights must be upheld as far-right ideas gain ground

Fri 6 Sep 2019
Guardian Editorial

The speech on Thursday by Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, praising the fertility of Hungarian women as a bulwark of Europe’s survival appealed to dangerous and atavistic myths. That isn’t a reason to ignore it. In fact it needs meeting head-on, for it marks a further irruption into mainstream politics across the rich world of “replacement theory”: the belief that the nature of Europe is threatened by demographic change. This fear has become central to politics in the United States and Australia, as well as many European countries, whether or not they have large immigrant populations themselves. It was one of the drivers of the result of the Brexit referendum, in which hostility towards European immigrants served as a cover for wider xenophobias.


Nepal – Editorial: Make regulations

Editorial: Make regulations
The Act is vague in that it does not explain the standards prescribed for non-governmental and private health institutions that can provide obstetric care

Published: August 28, 2019
The Himalayan Times

Mere passage of a law holds little meaning if the regulations, that is, the guidelines for executing the provisions in the law, are not formulated. This has been the case with the Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Right Act, whose provisions are facing difficulty in their implementation even a year after its endorsement by the Parliament for want of related regulations. In the absence of the regulations, many women are unable to enjoy their rights and seek compensation when their reproductive health rights are violated. Due to the delay in formulating the regulations, health institutions have no option but to keep working as per the old act. The law, among others, has given women the right to decide on when and how many children to have, and also the requirement of her consent on a prescribed format of a health institution should she want a safe abortion.


The Guardian view on abortion in Northern Ireland: standing up for women’s rights

The Guardian view on abortion in Northern Ireland: standing up for women’s rights
With devolution still on hold, the decision by a huge majority of MPs to vote in favour of equal marriage and abortion should be welcomed

Thu 11 Jul 2019

The law on abortion in Northern Ireland is an anomaly that should have been dealt with long ago. The near-total ban, dating back to 1861 and including abortion in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality, is among the most restrictive in the world. It is also an affront to the rights of women – as both the UK supreme court and a United Nations committee ruled separately last year.


Trump’s new rules on Title X and abortion referrals are absurd. How did judges miss that

Trump’s new rules on Title X and abortion referrals are absurd. How did judges miss that?

By The Times Editorial Board
Jun 29, 2019

When the Trump administration announced a new policy denying federal funding to any family planning care providers that dared even to refer a pregnant patient to an abortion provider, three federal district courts correctly concluded that the rule could endanger healthcare for millions of people and issued temporary injunctions preventing it from going into effect around the country. So it was a depressing step backward when, last week, a panel of 9th Circuit judges reversed those courts and lifted the injunctions.


LANCET: We must all support women in the fight for abortion

We must all support women in the fight for abortion

The Lancet
Editorial| Volume 393, ISSUE 10186, P2099, May 25, 2019

On May 15, 2019, the Alabama State Senate passed a bill that restricts the right to abortion by criminalising doctors who do the procedure. This was followed the next day by the Missouri State Senate passing a law forbidding abortions after 8 weeks of pregnancy. These two bills are the latest in a rapidly escalating attack on a woman's constitutionally protected right to an abortion. Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Ohio have all already successfully passed legislation banning abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy this year.

We reported, in 2017, on the start of the race to deny women their reproductive rights as Texas, Kentucky, and Utah introduced bills fundamentally undermining abortion access. The 2 years since have seen these laws increasing in number and scale to the point where the right to access abortion is now an empty construct in some states in the USA.


The Guardian view on abortion: protecting a human right

The Guardian view on abortion: protecting a human right
Cruel laws risk lives and harm women around the world. Attempts to extend them must be resisted

Sun 12 May 2019

No law can end abortions, however severe its restrictions and however harsh its penalties. Each day almost 70,000 unsafe abortions are carried out around the world, and they are vastly more likely to happen in countries with strict laws. What such legislation does do is force some women to continue pregnancies against their wishes, while risking the lives and wellbeing of others. Women in the US have seen their ability to terminate pregnancies dismantled piece by piece. Now states are racing to outlaw or dramatically curb abortions with extreme and unconstitutional bills. The aim is to directly challenge Roe v Wade, the US supreme court ruling that established that abortion is legal before the foetus is viable outside the womb, at around 24 weeks. Last Tuesday, the governor of Georgia signed a bill essentially banning abortions after six weeks from 2020. Some described it as a sign that men who wish to control women’s bodies have no idea of how they actually work. More likely, those who pushed hardest for the change understand all too well that many women will not know they are pregnant until it is too late.