How openDemocracy is tracking anti-abortion misinformation around the world
Nine months ago, we began following the money of two US religious right groups. Then, we deployed our own global network – of feminist investigative journalists.
Claire Provost and Nandini Archer
12 February 2020
US religious right activists with links to Trump’s White House have supported the spread of what are called ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ around the world, openDemocracy’s Tracking the Backlash project revealed this week.
There are thousands of these centres in the US where some have been previously criticised for presenting themselves as neutral health facilities while hiding their anti-abortion and religious agendas from women who are looking for help. But the global scale of these activities has not been mapped until now.
European lawmakers demand action on anti-abortion misinformation
openDemocracy investigation sparks cross-party European legislators' call for action on “deliberate disinformation” of vulnerable pregnant women.
Peter Geoghegan and Francesca Visser
12 February 2020
A growing number of European lawmakers from across the political spectrum are calling for action against “deliberate disinformation” targeted at vulnerable women following an openDemocracy special investigation.
This week, openDemocracy revealed that some ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ around the world discourage women from using contraception and say, incorrectly, that abortions increase risks of getting cancer or becoming abusive towards children.
The Argument for Abortion as a Religious Right
The world's largest religions support—and sometimes require—abortion.
by Leila Ettachfini
Feb 10 2020
When evangelical professor Bruce Waltke shared a standard biblical interpretation in favor of abortion in 1968, his words were hardly controversial.
“God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed,” he wrote in a 1968 Christianity Today article. “Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”
More than five decades later, a lot has changed. In that time, a concerted effort to place anti-abortion views at the core of the religious right has succeeded in rallying conservative Christians against reproductive rights.
Exclusive: Trump-linked religious ‘extremists’ target women with disinformation worldwide
Lawmakers demand action as openDemocracy reveals global spread of false and “manipulative” activities, posing “grave risks” to women and democracy.
Claire Provost and Nandini Archer
10 February 2020
A global network of ‘crisis pregnancy centres’, backed by US anti-abortion groups linked to the Trump White House, has been condemned by lawmakers, doctors and rights advocates for targeting vulnerable women with “disinformation, emotional manipulation and outright deceit”.
There are thousands of such centres in the US. Many have been criticised for posing as neutral health facilities for women with crisis pregnancies while hiding their anti-abortion and religious agendas. But the global scale of these controversial activities has not been mapped until now.
Women On Web Making Self-Managed Safe Abortion Accessible
By Nivedita Jayakumar
February 5, 2020
Legal abortion means that the law recognizes a woman as a person. It says that she belongs to herself. But in most countries, women’s ability to access safe and legal abortions is restricted. Even places where abortion is permitted by law, women often have severely limited access to safe abortion services because of the stigma attached to it, the lack of proper regulation, health services, or political will. There are seven legal grounds on which abortion is permitted—to save a woman’s life, to preserve a woman’s physical health, to preserve a woman’s mental health, rape or incest, foetal impairment, socio-economic factors and on request. According to a report by Women on Waves, approximately 25% of the world’s population lives in countries with ‘highly restrictive abortion laws’—that is, laws which either completely ban abortion, or allow it only to save the mother’s life. And, performing abortion on a woman’s request is allowed only in 30% of countries. To bridge the gap between the 30% and the rest of the world, the online service Women on Web makes safe abortion accessible to every women around the world.
Research Supports Advocating for Safe Abortion
New research in ten countries reveals the challenges and opportunities for FIGO National Member Societies to advocate for safe abortion.
Each year, 25 million women and girls around the world undergo unsafe abortions, contributing to an estimated 13 percent of maternal mortality and resulting in long term injuries and infertility for millions more. These figures are unacceptably high and represent an avoidable, but often neglected, public health and women’s rights issue.
FIGO’s Advocating for Safe Abortion Project is supporting ten National Member Societies in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, Uganda and Zambia to advocate for safe abortion to the full extent of the law in their national contexts.
There's a New Website That Teaches People How to Do Abortions
A series of how-to videos shows providers how to do abortions with pills. But they can also help people who want to do it themselves.
by Marie Solis
Jan 28 2020
In the same amount of time it takes you to boil an egg, or answer an email, a new online video will show you how to end a pregnancy with pills.
Animated figures, accompanied by voice-over narration, take viewers through the process step by step: When to take the mifepristone, the first part of the two-part drug regimen for medication abortion; how long after that to take the misoprostol, how to place those pills under the tongue; and when to expect the cramping and bleeding, which signal that the passing of the pregnancy has begun. The 11-minute video also provides instructions on how to relieve pain or discomfort, and when to seek medical help. At the very beginning, it tells viewers how safe and effective this abortion method is, and how low the rate of complication.
Why universal health coverage must include abortion
Friday, January 24, 2020
Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right. That’s why efforts to advance universal health coverage (UHC)—an international effort to guarantee that all people, regardless of where they live, have access to essential, quality health services without financial hardship—must include strong language defining sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion care, as an integral part of health and well-being. Ipas is committed to working with the World Health Organization, governments and other partners to attain the Sustainable Development Goal targets, which include achieving UHC.
“The world still has far to go to achieve gender equality,” said Ipas Senior Technical Manager for Community Engagement Tanvi Monga in a recent opinion for Global Health Now. “Women shoulder the burden of child care, elder care, household care, family health and health-care costs—and for poor or near-poor women anywhere in the world, health-care costs can cause irrevocable financial strain.” Plus, health-care services labeled as “for women” are frequently separated from other services—and are harder to access or more expensive.
Safe abortion access for all who need it
MSF and HowToUseAbortionPill.org have created an online training course
Jan 23, 2020
Doctors Without Borders
Talking about abortion is not a crime. These days, however, health care providers and humanitarian workers who receive US funding overseas risk being shut down if they do just that.
The Global Gag Rule—which President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded on January 23, 2017—prohibits doctors, nurses, and other health workers around the world from even speaking about abortion. If they do, they could lose their US government funding. Health workers are relied upon to provide thorough, evidence-based medical information, and now they’ve been silenced in the places where that information is needed the most.
There's a Better Way to Talk About Abortion
People still use medically inaccurate and stigmatizing terms to talk about abortion. You can help change that.
by Marie Solis
Jan 22 2020
Illustrations by Cathryn Virginia
For decades, conservative politicians and activists have dictated the rhetoric around abortion, and for that reason many of the words we use to talk about the procedure are medically inaccurate, emotionally charged, and suffused with stigma. And that includes even the most basic terms we use to describe the debate over abortion rights: The anti-abortion camp has long described itself as “pro-life” instead, monopolizing a powerful word that advocates say clouds their real intention—to ban abortion. The word “choice,” some say, is an imprecise one as well, creating the impression that one’s ability to get an abortion is simply a matter of choosing to do so, when in fact there are many systematic obstacles in the way that keep people from accessing the procedure.