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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Abortion by telemedicine: an equitable option for Irish women

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Abortion by telemedicine: an equitable option for Irish women

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2237. Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2237
Published 16 May 2017
Wendy V Norman, associate professor, Bernard M Dickens, professor emeritus of health law and policy

Reassuring study data support growing calls for reform

Women’s need for abortion is no less in countries where abortion is legally restricted. Globally, a quarter of all pregnancies end in abortion, with higher rates in countries with severe legal restrictions than in countries offering safe legal abortion.1 In 1969 the United Nations affirmed the rights of parents to determine the number and spacing of their children.2 Half a century later a key component of this right is not equitably accessible.

Continued at source: BMJ: http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j2237

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Namibia: Editorial … Abortion is Not the Only Killer

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Editorial ... Abortion is Not the Only Killer
Opinions - Editorials | 2017-03-31 11
Editorial

'500 WOMEN die from abortion every year.' Perhaps such should be the news headlines to make Namibians understand we have a crisis, and all because of a lack of empathy.

Health minister Bernard Haufiku tried this week to highlight the magnitude of the problem when he announced that more than 7 300 women were treated at state health centres last year due to “illegal abortions” gone wrong. Haufiku said the figure could be as high as 10 000 –– at least 27 cases a day.

The minister called for “decriminalisation” of abortion, which is outlawed by legislation dating back to 1975. We can only imagine the minister is treading carefully for fear of a backlash from zealots, who view the issue as nothing but a callous crime commited by pregnant women.

Continued at source: The Namibian: http://www.namibian.com.na/52924/read/Editorial--Abortion-is-Not-the-Only-Killer
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Ireland: Delay in reforming abortion advice clinics is inexcusable

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Delay in reforming abortion advice clinics is inexcusable
February 21 2017, 12:01am, The Irish Times
by Brendan Howlin

Those on both sides of the issue can agree that lying to women is abuse. So why won’t Simon Harris update the law?
The abortion debate provokes strong emotions and arguments. We all recognise that and I hope we do our best to respect differences of opinion.

But there are some ground rules I thought we had all agreed on a long time ago.
One is that debate should be based on fact, not fiction. Another is that women in crisis pregnancies are entitled to support, information
and non-judgmental counselling if they want it.

Continued source: Irish Times: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/delay-in-reforming-abortion-advice-clinics-is-inexcusable-lzklrr0sj

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India: SC allows abortion of 24-week foetus, but why should women go to court in the first place?

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SC allows abortion of 24-week foetus, but why should women go to court in the first place?

Ajay Kumar Jan, 16 2017, First Post

The Supreme Court on Monday permitted a woman in Mumbai to abort her 24 week foetus on the grounds that continuing with the pregnancy could endanger the life of the woman. Abortion is legal in India, but it's not at will, it's only permissible if it would involve a risk to the health of the pregnant woman.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act makes a distinction between twelve weeks and twenty weeks. Under twelve weeks, an abortion can be prescribed by one doctor and after twelve weeks an abortion has to be be prescribed by two. If the pregnancy exceeds twenty weeks you go into the grey area of Section 5 of the Act which says that a medical practitioner, may in good faith, terminate a pregnancy if they feel it is necessary to immediately save the life of a woman.

[continued at link]
Source: First Post

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Canada: Abortion services is The Guardian’s top news story of the year

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Ann Wheatley, co-chairwoman of Abortion Access Now P.E.I., describes as “very significant’’ the government’s move to provide medical and surgical abortions

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on December 31, 2016

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - There has been so much suffering for such a long time. Now, finally, 2016 has brought much-anticipated change that was sought for decades through rallies and protests to end one harrowing experience after another for Island women.

But nothing short of the threat of legal action, and the associated hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills, moved our political leaders. Still, the decision was made, and nobody will be able to take that right away from Island women. (Wayne Thibodeau, regional managing editor with The Guardian).

[continued at link]
Source: Charlottetown Guardian

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Controversial abortion case still divides opinion in Brazil

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The 2009 case of a nine-year-old girl pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather divided public opinion.
Aglaé de Chalus, Recife, Brazil

December 14, 2016

The Archbishop of Recife shocked the world seven years ago when he announced the excommunication of the mother of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion after being raped by her stepfather. Despite divisions, Pope Francis’ calls for mercy have reassured and reconciled.

“How could I forget?” says Maria José Gomes, a counselor at a center for children and adolescents in Alagoinhas. Th small town in Pernambouc is 200 km from Recife, the capital of the Brazilian state Nordeste

[continued at link]
Source: International La Croix (Editor's Note: A good article despite the source)

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Zambia must protect women’s right to make free sexual and reproductive choices

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by Louise Carmody & Bob Mwiinga Munyati, Africa 29 Sep 2016 01:08 (South Africa)

As Zambians took to the polls last month they voted not only for their choice of president, but also in a constitutional referendum proposing changes to the bill of rights. While President Edgar Lungu was declared the winner of the election, political figures lamented the outcome of the failed referendum as a missed opportunity for Zambians to advance protection for social and economic rights after it didn’t meet the 50% voter turnout threshold required to make it a supreme law of the country. By LOUISE CARMODY and BOB MWIINGA MUNYATI.

For many women’s rights advocates, Zambia’s failed referendum is a welcome reprieve. The draft included problematic clauses that could have seriously undermined the human rights of women and girls in Zambia.

[continued at link]
Source: Daily Maverick

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India: Abortion is a difficult, personal choice, not a tricky debate

http://www.c2cjournal.ca/2013/01/aruna-papp-and-why-women-in-india-are-chattel/ (Aruna Papp)

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FEATURE: Abortion is a difficult, personal choice, not a tricky debate: India
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26 August 2016

OPINION: Abortion is a tricky debate, by K Kannan

On 3 August, a Campaign member from CommonHealth in India wrote to say that a very disturbing article had appeared in The Hindu about women's right to abortion having to be balanced against the right to life of the fetus. The article, entitled "A tricky debate on abortion", was by K Kannan, former Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the same court that in 2015, rejected the plea of the father of a 14-year-old rape survivor to allow termination of her 24-week pregnancy (see Campaign newsletter, 3 August).  The article expresses opposition to extending the legal time limit for abortion from 20 to 24 weeks for certain grounds. The author bases his arguments on his religious views, his interpretation of fetal rights, disagreement with allowing women's autonomy to decide, and his views on disability in relation to abortion.

The Hindu illustrated the article, as many conservative news sites unfortunately do, with a photograph of a very pregnant woman's belly, probably as much as 8 months pregnant, minus her face, thus contributing to two common, but mistaken, beliefs – first, that abortions take place that late in pregnancy and second, that a fetus has an independent existence from the woman who is carrying it.

Although we do not reprint the article here, it is well worth reading in full as it is unusually complex for an anti-abortion argument, requiring an equally complex response. Read it here.

The article was followed by 29 comments. Here is perhaps the most interesting one: "I am shocked to hear a lawyer argue for laws based on religion in a country that is struggling to get a uniform civil code." (Vijayalakshmi Fernandes) Two other respondents mentioned the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist who was living in Ireland, who was left to die from sepsis in a Catholic hospital that refused to terminate the pregnancy following an inevitable miscarriage at 17 weeks of pregnancy.

RESPONSE: Abortion is a difficult, personal choice, not a tricky debate

The response from CommonHealth and others was published by The Hindu on 11 August 2016. The Hindu entitled it "A question of rights" while its authors entitled it "Abortion is a difficult, personal choice, not a tricky debate". The news site illustrated this article with a transparent pregnant belly, with only the outline showing, containing a fully-formed cartoon baby with an enlarged head, which is seated, with its feet crossed, its elbow propped on its knee and its fist propping up its head, eyes closed, frowning. A more inappropriate image would be hard to imagine.

Here is their response in full:

[continued at link]
Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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Canada: Time to move on: Abortion debate is long over

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Editorial: The Charlottetown Guardian (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
Published on July 20, 2016
And one Island man set out to put a stop to it with an application for a judicial review heard in court Monday.Kevin Arsenault’s time in court paled to that of the historic legal battles over abortion carried out by the late Dr. Henry Morgentaler.

On Monday, the determined, passionate pro-life advocate argued for roughly 90 minutes, ultimately unsuccessfully, for standing to seek a judicial review of P.E.I.’s abortion policy and laws.

Arsenault felt he brought forward compelling arguments that “the best interest of the child is an increasingly important consideration in all policy and all legislation.’’

He wanted to be a voice for the unborn. He wants all pregnant women to bring a child into the world.

Supreme Court Justice Nancy Key, in no uncertain terms, told Arsenault he had no legal standing to seek a judicial review of what the province will – or won’t – allow a pregnant P.E.I. woman to do.

It’s too bad that Key’s and the P.E.I. Supreme Court’s time wasted even 90 minutes listening to the argument.

“There are people who are directly affected by that (abortion legislation),’’ Josie Baker, a member of Abortions Access Now P.E.I., told The Guardian.

“Those are people with uteruses and unfortunately Mr. Arsenault is not somebody who is able to speak on behalf of that experience.’’

Morgentaler pushed that sentiment for years, stating that any woman should have the right to end her pregnancy without risking death.

He was not deterred when police raided his Montreal clinic in 1970. Nor was his resolve softened in the least when he was charged with performing illegal abortions.

He kept pushing for pregnant women to be able to choose whether or not to continue or end their pregnancy.

In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed with Morgentaler, striking down Canada’s abortion law, ruling that it conflicted with rights guaranteed in the Charter.

The justices found that the law violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it infringed upon a woman’s right to life, liberty and security of the person.

Many Island women have suffered a great deal over the last 35 years since P.E.I. diminished access to abortion services. Women have endured the health risks, financial strains and even attempted to self-abort.

Now it is time for Arsenault, other pro-lifers, and the P.E.I. government to leave pregnant Island women alone to make their own often excruciatingly difficult choice of whether or not they will bring a child into the world.

Source: Charlottetown Guardian

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