Abortion Law in Australia – The Facts (and Infographic)

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Abortion Law in Australia - The Facts

Reproductive Choice Australia has long advocated for abortion to be decriminalised and treated like all other health procedures. We believe health professionals must clearly state a conscientious refusal to provide abortion and ensure women are provided or directed to a service that can support their choice, and that women must be protected from harassment and intimidation at clinics through the effective implementation of access zones.

This infographic shows the legal status of abortion across Australia’s eight jurisdictions. In 2016, campaigns for reform are active in the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland.

Continued at source: Reproductive Choice Australia: http://www.reproductivechoiceaustralia.org.au/infographic

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There is no defense for ‘conscientious objection’ in reproductive health care

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There is no defense for ‘conscientious objection’ in reproductive health care

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

by Christian Fiala, Joyce H Arthur  

European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology

Abstract

“A widespread assumption has taken hold in the field of medicine that we must allow health care professionals the right to refuse treatment under the guise of ‘conscientious objection’ (CO), in particular for women seeking abortions. At the same time, it is widely recognized that the refusal to treat creates harm and barriers for patients receiving reproductive health care. In response, many recommendations have been put forward as solutions to limit those harms. Further, some researchers make a distinction between true CO and ‘obstructionist CO’, based on the motivations or actions of various objectors.

This paper argues that ‘CO’ in reproductive health care should not be considered a right, but an unethical refusal to treat. Supporters of CO have no real defence of their stance, other than the mistaken assumption that CO in reproductive health care is the same as CO in the military, when the two have nothing in common (for example, objecting doctors are rarely disciplined, while the patient pays the price). Refusals to treat are based on non-verifiable personal beliefs, usually religious beliefs, but introducing religion into medicine undermines best practices that depend on scientific evidence and medical ethics. CO therefore represents an abandonment of professional obligations to patients. Countries should strive to reduce the number of objectors in reproductive health care as much as possible until CO can feasibly be prohibited. Several Scandinavian countries already have a successful ban on CO.”

The main text of the paper opens by saying: “Remarkably, pro-choice researchers and ethicists who support CO in reproductive health care rarely try to defend the practice beyond a simple assertion that individual conscience is an important right. Certainly this is true for everybody in general, but in the field of reproductive health care, there has been little or no recognition of how CO unjustly privileges doctors’ conscience over patients’ conscience, not to mention their life and health[1]. The granting of CO also gives legitimacy to the religiously-based assumption that abortion is wrong − however, providing safe abortion is an ethical practice that has saved the lives and protected the rights of millions of women. Moreover, doctors have obligations to their patients and the public. They occupy a privileged position of trust and responsibility in our society, and profit from a monopoly on the practice of medicine.”

An important argument they put forward is that the “largely religious and non-verifiable basis of CO makes the laws and policies that try to limit its exercise impossible to enforce”. Later, they continue: “Anyone can cite CO and lie or exaggerate. Or be sincere. Who knows? The only way we can judge is in rare evidence-based situations, such as when doctors in Italy and Poland are caught exercising ‘CO’ in public hospitals while doing abortions for profit in private clinics.”

But the crucial question they pose is: Is it possible to protect providers’ claimed right to refuse to treat patients and patients’ right to health care at the same time? Their answer is: the more objectors there are, the less possible it is to protect patients’ right to health care. So they argue that “as a first step towards mitigating the harms of CO, countries could at least require all publicly-funded hospitals to provide abortions, as Portugal has done”. Finally, they call for countries “to steadily reduce the number of objectors and eventually abolish CO, not save it.”

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/there-is-no-defense-for-conscientious-objection-in-reproductive-health-care/

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British attitudes to abortion

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British attitudes to abortion

Posted on 03 August 2017
by Eleanor Attar Taylor, Senior Researcher

This year marks 50 years since abortions became legally available (under certain circumstances) in Britain and yet the issue is still making headlines. While concerns were voiced that abortion rights could be restricted as part of a Conservative deal with the DUP, in June, abortions for Northern Irish women travelling to Britain were made free on the NHS, a move spearheaded by Stella Creasy MP. And in March, Diana Johnson MP won the right to introduce a bill to fully decriminalise abortion, in an attempt to move away from current law which technically means a woman who ends her own pregnancy could face life imprisonment.

So how does the British public view abortions? And are these moves towards a more liberal legal approach to abortions likely to be popular among the public?

Continued at source: NatCen: http://natcen.ac.uk/blog/british-attitudes-to-abortion

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U.S: Evaluating Priorities: Measuring Women’s and Children’s Health and Well-being against Abortion Restrictions in the States- Volume II

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Evaluating Priorities: Measuring Women's and Children’s Health and Well-being against Abortion Restrictions in the States- Volume II

August 1, 2017

Anti-abortion politicians have quietly passed 391 laws restricting access to abortion since 2010. The politicians that push these laws often claim that they are necessary to protect the health and well-being of women, their pregnancies, and their children. Ample scientific evidence makes clear that restricting abortion is detrimental to women and families’ health.

This second volume of ‘Evaluating Priorities’ updates the Center for Reproductive Rights’ collaboration with Ibis Reproductive Health to explore anti-abortion politicians’ claims. The findings mirror those from the 2014 report: the more abortion restrictions a state has, the worse women and children fare when it comes to their health outcomes, and the fewer evidence-based supportive policies a state has.

The Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt pushed back on politicians’ claims that abortion restrictions protect women’s health and safety, favoring scientific evidence and women’s real life experiences over unproven or false claims. This report bolsters that message, illustrating that legislators should be taking their cues from data and their constituents’ needs to address the real health concerns in their states, and should stop playing politics with women’s reproductive rights and health.

Source: Center for Reproductive Rights: https://www.reproductiverights.org/EvaluatingPriorities

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Nicaragua: Abortion Ban Threatens Health and Lives

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Nicaragua: Abortion Ban Threatens Health and Lives
Publisher: Human Rights Watch
Publication Date: 31 July 2017

Nicaragua's total ban on abortion is putting women and girls' health and lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The country's 2006 law punishing abortion - without any exceptions, even if pregnancies are life-threatening or resulted from rape - has driven abortions underground. The ban has not stopped abortion, but has made it more unsafe.

Women and girls with crisis pregnancies are getting unsafe clandestine abortions. Often too afraid to seek medical care when complications arise from such abortions, some women and girls delay seeking care and do not disclose to doctors the cause of complications. Medical providers, caught in a conflict between the law and medical ethics, have reported women and girls to police for suspected abortions. Under Nicaragua's criminal code, women and girls who terminate pregnancies face sentences of

Continued at source: Ref World: http://www.refworld.org/docid/597f3e094.html

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Revised and expanded guidance on misoprostol-only recommended regimens

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Revised and expanded guidance on misoprostol-only recommended regimens
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
July 14, 2017

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) has updated its guidance on misoprostol-only regimens for several obstetric and gynaecologic indications. The “FIGO Misoprostol-only Recommended Regimens 2017” chart – published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, accompanied by a commentary – is the result of extensive collaboration between an international expert group, including Gynuity Health Projects. The chart, divided by stages of pregnancy, provides recommendations for dosages and routes of administration for misoprostol use in obstetrics and gynaecology, including: medically induced abortion, medical management of miscarriage, cervical preparation for surgical abortion, fetal death, induction of labour, and management of post-partum haemorrhage (PPH).

Gynuity welcomes the guidance and hopes the chart will be widely disseminated and used by a full range of providers. We support the development and implementation of evidence-based policy and programs to broaden access and availability of misoprostol for each of its women’s health indications.

Article+ chart in PDF format are at: International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics

The chart is also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese.

SOURCE: Gynuity Health Projects News, 23 June 2017 ; INFOGRAPHIC

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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FEATURE: New Global Abortion Policies Database

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FEATURE: New Global Abortion Policies Database

International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
4 July 2017

In 2002, the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) published an online database summarising the world's abortion laws and policies, which they had tracked since the mid-1990s. It was a fantastic achievement and has continued to be of great use, in spite of the absence of updates since it was published (You just needed to know from other sources that a specific country had changed its abortion law/policies after 2002 and you could supplement the information it gave you). As a narrative source of the history of abortion laws and policies in each country, it should remain a valuable link to consult for a very long time.

Now, since June 2017, a new database has been placed online, which is full of the most up-to-date information. We published a short announcement about this new database in last week's newsletter. Here are more details about it.

Continued at source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/breaking-news-from-ireland-citizens-assembly-recommends-abortion-law-reform-feature-why-would-any-country-put-abortion-in-the-constitution-739677?e=3fa4c971b0

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Greater Investments Needed to Meet Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Developing Regions

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Greater Investments Needed to Meet Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Developing Regions
214 Million Women Have an Unmet Need for Modern Contraception

June 29, 2017
News Release

A new study published today by the Guttmacher Institute finds that contraceptive services and maternal and newborn health (MNH) services fall far short of needs in developing regions. The study, Adding It Up: Investing in Contraception and Maternal and Newborn Health, 2017, finds that 214 million women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy but—for a variety of reasons—are not using a modern method of contraception. In addition, tens of millions of women do not receive the basic pregnancy and delivery care they need to protect their health and that of their newborns: An estimated 50 million women giving birth this year will receive fewer than four antenatal care visits, and 35 million women giving birth will not deliver in a health facility.

Continued at link: Guttmacher Institute: https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2017/greater-investments-needed-meet-womens-sexual-and-reproductive-health-needs

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South Africa: Abortion advice by SMS beats going back to the clinic‚ say patients in Cape Town study

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Abortion advice by SMS beats going back to the clinic‚ say patients in Cape Town study
June 26, 2017

SMS advice‚ a checklist and a simple home urine test are all most women need after a medical abortion‚ a Cape Town study has found.

A team led by Deborah Constant‚ of the Women’s Health Research Unit at the University of Cape Town‚ tried the approach on 525 women who had free abortions at six public sector clinics. And 92% said they would be happy to repeat the regimen in future.

Continued at source: Times Live: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-06-26-abortion-advice-by-sms-beats-going-back-to-the-clinic-say-patients-in-cape-town-study/?device=feature_phone

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Global Abortion Policies Database

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Global Abortion Policies Database
June 23, 2017

The World Health Organization, the Human Reproduction Programme, and the Population Division of the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs have launched the Global Abortion Policies Database to promote greater transparency of abortion laws and policies and State accountability for the protection of women and girls’ health and human rights.

The Global Abortion Policies Database is designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate unsafe abortion by producing an interactive open-access database and repository of current abortion laws, policies, and national standards and guidelines. This tool builds upon the UNPD’s previous work in this area, resulting in a more comprehensive information resource on abortion policies in the 21st century. The database will facilitate analyses of countries’ abortion laws and policies when they are placed in the context of WHO guidelines and human rights norms and standards. It is intended to help states identify and eliminate the barriers that women encounter in accessing safe abortion services. It is also intended to increase both the transparency of abortion laws and policies and to ensure accountability for the protection of women’s health and their human rights.

Continued at source: WHO / HRP: http://www.srhr.org/abortion-policies.

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About the Global Abortion Policies Project

The Global Abortion Policies Project (GAPP) has been designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate unsafe abortion by producing a global, open-access repository of current abortion laws, policies, and national standards and guidelines. The purpose of the Project is to increase both the transparency of abortion laws and policies and to foster accountability among governments as they adopt and implement such policies. The Project has been structured to facilitate comparative analyses of countries’ abortion laws and policies by placing them in the context of the WHO guidance on safe abortion. Current laws and policies on abortion can be used as benchmarks to monitor and evaluate national progress in creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment for eliminating unsafe abortion. The Project Database is a collaborative effort by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations and the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the World Health Organization.

Continued at source: United Nations: https://esa.un.org/gapp.

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