Why Mexico Is Proof Anti-Abortion Laws Don’t Work


Why Mexico Is Proof Anti-Abortion Laws Don't Work
Araceli Lopez Nava Vázquez, Country director for Marie Stopes Mexico

Leticia had been bleeding heavily for two weeks when she arrived at Marie Stopes Mexico's clinic in Chiapas. Desperate to end her pregnancy, she had taken some pills from a friend. However as the days passed it became clear that something had gone badly wrong.

Despite excruciating pain and massive blood loss, she ignored her friend's pleas to seek medical help for fear of being thrown behind bars for procuring an illegal abortion. Until finally, weak from anaemia and wracked with pain, she struggled to our clinic, where my team diagnosed a septic abortion and referred her to the public hospital. Any further delay in treatment and she would have died.

Continued at source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/araceli-lopez-nava-vazquez/global-gag-rule-safer-abortion-day_b_18119418.html

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This Boat Sails Women Into International Waters To Give Abortions


This Boat Sails Women Into International Waters To Give Abortions
“Abortion is a matter of social justice.”

By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
May 05, 2017

A tiny nonprofit is bringing major attention to some countries’ restrictive reproductive health laws by delivering abortion pills to women ― in international waters.

Dutch group Women on Waves navigates its 36-foot sailboat to the coasts of countries that restrict abortion, brings women aboard, and sails them into international waters to give them abortion pills for free. Women on Waves steers its passengers more than 12 miles off the coast, where the boat operates under the laws of its country’s flag ― Austria, which allows abortion during the first three months of pregnancy.

Continued at source: Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-on-waves-abortion-boat_us_590b8338e4b0d5d9049a857c

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The Law, Trials and Imprisonment for Abortion in Mexico


The Law, Trials and Imprisonment for Abortion in Mexico
2 May 2017
A comprehensive summary of abortion law and punishment in Mexico
by Hannah Pearson

“Confess, you have committed the worst sin in the world” (abortion-news.info, 2016)

When Patricia Mendez, a 21-year-old university student from Veracruz state, miscarried in March 2015, police were called into the hospital ward to watch as she writhed in pain and expelled a dead 20-week fetus. “I was naked, with just the robe they give you, and I had all of them around as I miscarried”, Patricia recounted. “I was in a lot of pain, but nobody did anything. They just said ‘Confess, you have committed the worst sin the world’”. “They treated me worse than an animal. I felt as if I could have died there and nobody would have done anything”, Patricia said of her treatment as she miscarried. [1] Patricia was then made to sign some papers, while a nurse held the fetus to her face and said "Kiss him. You have killed him". Patricia’s ex-boyfriend’s family held a funeral for the fetus, which they forced her to attend.

Continued at link: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/feature-the-law-trials-and-imprisonment-for-abortion-in-kenya-28-april-739597?e=3fa4c971b0

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Abortion ship sailed outside Mexican territorial waters for second time.


Abortion ship sailed outside Mexican territorial waters for second time.

April 23, 2017

For immediate release April 22, 2017: Women on Waves sailed out again with several women to international waters today from Zihuatanejo, Mexico. There was no interference from the authorities. The ship did not need any special permission for coastal sailing.

The last 2 days 70 women from all over Mexico called the safe abortion hotline. We received calls from Quintana Roo to Oaxaca with of women needing abortions because of a variety of reasons, including failure on their contraceptives, out the fact that they had been raped and are too afraid to reach out for legal local health services (abortion is legal in cases sexual violence in all states).

Continued at Source: Women on Waves: https://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/6961/abortion-ship-sailed-outside-mexican-territorial-waters-for-second-time

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Dutch ‘abortion boat’ arrives off the coast of Mexico


Dutch 'abortion boat' arrives off the coast of Mexico
April 21, 2017

Women on Waves says it is offering free, legal, medical abortions till nine weeks of pregnancy in international waters.

Women on Waves has visited waters off Guatemala, Ireland, Morocco, Poland, Portugal and Spain [File: Reuters]

A Dutch sailing boat offering abortions has arrived in international waters off Mexico's west coast, according to the organisation which operates it.

The vessel, which operates often in defiance of some countries' laws, took up position on Friday off Guerrero state on Mexico's southern Pacific coast.

Women on Waves, a non-profit group, said in an online statement that it was offering "free legal medical abortions till nine weeks of pregnancy" to women who needed them. It said its ship "has all required permits" and would receive women until Sunday.

Continued at link: Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/dutch-abortion-boat-arrives-coast-mexico-170422042001781.html

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Abortion ship in Mexico


Abortion ship in Mexico
April 20, 2017
Women on Waves

In collaboration with national and local Mexican organisations, the Women on Waves ship arrived in Mexico. The campaign started today and the boat has already sailed out with women to international waters where women can get free legal medical abortions till 9 weeks of pregnancy. Women with unwanted pregnancies in need of help can call 7559800548.

On Friday April 21th at 10am there will be a press conference at the hotel Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa, address Paseo de Ixtapa, Ixtapa. For more press information, please contact: (52) 55 40428376 and (52) 55 4551 0791 for Women on Waves or (52) 1 55 4010 6752 for the national and local organizations.

Continued at source: Women on Waves: https://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/6811/abortion-ship-in-mexico

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Mexico Supreme Court receives case on abortion re-education program


Published September 07, 2016 Associated Press

MEXICO CITY – When Patricia Mendez miscarried in March 2015, she says police and detectives were called into the hospital ward to watch as she writhed in pain and expelled the dead, 20-week fetus.

"I was naked, with just the robe they give you, and I had all of them around as I miscarried," the 21-year-old recalled. "I was in a lot of pain, but nobody did anything. They just said, 'Confess, you have committed the worst sin in the world.'"

[continued at link]
Source: Associated Press

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Teenage rape victim denied abortion in Mexico after judge rules attack was ‘consensual’

The teenager immediately reported her abuser to the police after an attack she described as rape Credit: Alamy


The teenager immediately reported her abuser to the police after an attack she described as rape

James Badcock, Madrid

1 August 2016 • 2:08pm

A 13-year-old rape victim from northern Mexico has been denied her legal right to an abortion after a judge ruled that the sex was consensual, despite medical evidence that she was subjected to sexual violence.

The teenager immediately reported her abuser to the police after an attack she described as rape and a medical report showed physical evidence which corroborated her allegations.

But the case judge in the state of Sonora instead accused the alleged rapist of “illegal sex with a minor” as he ruled that the man had gained the girl's consent by deception.

The state health service has refused to allow the girl, named by local media as Citlali, to terminate the foetus - despite rape-related pregnancies being exempt from a ban on abortions

[Continued at link]

Source: The Telegraph

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Abortion banned by controversial Mexican state governor


David Agren in Mexico City

Friday 29 July 2016 02.30 BST

Activists accuse Governor Javier Duarte of ignoring massive crime problems in Veracruz as he pushes through bill to outlaw abortion in all circumstances

The six-year term of Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte has been marked by controversy.

The six-year term of Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte has been marked by controversy. Photograph: Roger López for the Guardian

A controversial Mexican state governor has pushed through a draconian anti-abortion bill as his term comes to a close. Lawmakers in Veracruz state approved a constitutional amendment on Thursday to “protect life from conception” – effectively outlawing abortion in all circumstances.

“I congratulate legislators of the Veracruz legislature for saying yes to life,” Governor Javier Duarte tweeted after the vote.

Abortion laws have been liberalised in Mexico City – and upheld by the supreme court in 2008 – but at least 18 states have subsequently approved laws or constitutional amendments outlawing the procedure.

Veracruz’s ban will become effective after a majority of the state municipalities approve the measure – likely to be a formality as most are controlled by Duarte’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Duarte has cut a controversial course throughout his six-year term as governor of Veracruz, on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, attracting accusations of thuggery, misappropriating public money and showing a crushing indifference to the murders of at least 19 journalists. Press freedom organisation the Committee to Protect Journalists has called Veracruz “the most lethal place for the press in the western hemisphere”.

Reproductive rights groups questioned the governor’s priorities given Veracruz’s problems with crime and hundreds of missing persons – a problem so severe citizen brigades have been combing the state in search of clandestine graves.

“What this means is that the governor cares more about life in gestation than the hundreds of disappeared persons in his state,” the Information Group on Reproductive Choice said via Twitter.

The state’s Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders – groups reticent to criticise Duarte during his troubled tenure – openly lobbied for the abortion ban and said the governor had promised to act on the issue.

The vote in Veracruz came the day after Duarte made his net worth public. An investigative report by news organisation Animal Politico found the Veracruz government had awarded 645 million pesos ($34m) in contracts to shell companies linked with close associates.

Duarte denies any wrongdoing. He had proposed a package of “protection” laws, which would have allowed him appoint anti-corruption magistrates to serve during the term of his successor, who won election in June on a platform of putting corrupt politicians in prison.

Source: The Guardian

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The Hidden Consequences of Forcing Women to Travel for Abortions


July 7, 2016
Elisa Leilani Slattery


When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law imposing restrictions that would have closed more than half that state’s abortion clinics, it held that excessive travel can be a factor in whether a woman faces an “undue burden” in exercising her right to an abortion.

The decision last week, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, throws into sharp relief that, in many parts of the world, it is difficult or even impossible for women to find an abortion provider near where they live. Unlike medical treatments that may be inaccessible because of financial or personnel constraints, when abortion is unavailable, it’s usually because a jurisdiction refuses to recognize it as a valid medical service.

Abortion opponents in the United States have been trying to constrict a woman’s right to abortion since it was recognized by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade more than four decades ago. Those efforts are evidenced by restrictions like those at play in Texas, which mandated—without any health benefit to women—that providers obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals and that facilities meet the same exceedingly high standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

But as nefarious as the Texas law may have been, in many cases, women in the United States are better off than their counterparts in countries where abortion rights are slim to nonexistent.

In most Mexican states, for instance, abortion is highly restricted, so women there must travel to Mexico City, where the service is available upon request in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. In Northern Ireland, women must leave the country entirely, due to a law dating back to 1861 that bans abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomalies. They also must cover the costs of the travel and procedure themselves—costs that are covered by the National Health Service for women in other parts of the United Kingdom.

Likewise, in the Republic of Ireland, a constitutional amendment granting equal status to the fetus and pregnant woman has resulted in a law that criminalizes abortion except in cases when carrying a fetus to term would result in the death of the pregnant woman. And while a cross-border directive allows residents of Ireland who require and are entitled to public health care services to be referred to and reimbursed by another EU member state for that care, the directive excludes medical services which are “contrary to Irish legislation,” as abortion is.

These are just a few of the places where reproductive rights are out of reach, and it’s not always the law that stands in the way. Italy’s Ministry of Health reports that seven out of ten gynecologists refuse to give abortions based on religious grounds, with refusal rates reaching almost 90 percent in some parts of the country.

What does it mean, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her concurring opinion in Whole Woman’s Health, to “strew impediments to abortion,” forcing women to search for cities and countries where abortion is available and for providers who are willing to provide it?

Traveling long distances for abortions disproportionately harms young women, low-income women, women with precarious immigration status, and women with disabilities, for whom travel is prohibitively expensive, not physically possible, or an otherwise risky proposition. There’s no way to measure the harm of forcing women to locate funds, arrange transportation, schedule childcare, and justify one’s absence to employers, family, and partners—all with the clock ticking as abortions become more expensive and medically complex later in a pregnancy.

But there’s another, perhaps more insidious, aspect of burdensome travel that’s even harder to quantify. It’s a type of social exclusion through which women, however temporarily, are effectively banished from society. Some women’s rights groups have begun to publicly acknowledge this, calling the practice “abortion exile.”

Forcing women to leave their communities for abortions is isolating and degrading; it denies them their status as full and equal citizens. In interviews I’ve conducted in Ireland, women whose pregnancy had a fatal fetal anomaly said that being forced to travel at such a heartbreaking time made them feel as though their country had turned its back on them.

Some progress is being made. Laws that force women to journey abroad for abortion have been found to violate women’s rights in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. And last week, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand lower-court rulings preventing restrictions from taking place in Mississippi and Wisconsin.

To assist women who are turned away in their search for a basic health service, some organizations have stepped in to provide escorts, places to stay, and (when a clinical abortion is not necessary) creative ways to access medical abortion. But not all women are able to access such options, and they shouldn’t have to. The resourcefulness and creativity of women’s rights groups and their allies do not absolve the state from its responsibility to meet women’s health needs.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is a grantee of the Open Society Foundations.

Source: Open Society Foundations

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