A Lesson in Medicine and Morality: Argentine Physician Pioneers Abortion Education in Medical School

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A Lesson in Medicine and Morality: Argentine Physician Pioneers Abortion Education in Medical School

A group of Argentine doctors moves beyond the polarized political debate to equip a new generation of medical professionals with the training necessary to care for patients who requiring abortion care.

By Marissa Rosenberg-Carlson -
Jun 17, 2017

Dr. Raquel Tizziani identifies herself as an educator. Anti-abortion activists think she’s a murderer. The professor of medicine at the National University of Rosario (UNR) is spearheading Argentina’s first university curriculum on abortion. Two months before the program’s start date, its faculty is already under fire. In the three days after UNR announced the plan, no fewer than 10,000 emails demanding an immediate halt to the program flooded the inbox of Ricardo Nidd, Dean of the College of Medicine.

Continued at source: The Bubble: http://www.thebubble.com/a-lesson-in-medicine-and-morality-argentine-physician-pioneers-abortion-education-in-medical-school/

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New Study Highlights Demographics of Women Who Have Abortions in 28 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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New Study Highlights Demographics of Women Who Have Abortions in 28 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

May 10, 2017, News Release

Demographic characteristics of women who obtain abortions vary widely by country and region, according to an article recently published in PLOS ONE, “Characteristics of Women Obtaining Induced Abortions in Selected Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” by Guttmacher Institute researchers Dr. Sophia Chae and colleagues. Their work updates a previous study published in 1999 and measures characteristics such as abortion patients’ age, marital status, number of previous births, wealth, education, and urban or rural residence.

The researchers analyzed data collected from 2002 to 2014 in 28 low- and middle-income countries—five in Africa, 13 in Asia, eight in Europe, and two in Latin America and the Caribbean. Abortion is legally and severely restricted in approximately half of the countries studied, and in many others, safe abortion services are not easily accessible despite being legal.

Continued at source: Guttmacher Institute: https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2017/new-study-highlights-demographics-women-who-have-abortions-28-low-and-middle

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Brazil: Court Reviewing Criminalization of Abortion

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Brazil: Court Reviewing Criminalization of Abortion
April 25, 2017

Amicus Briefs Cite Violations of Women’s Rights

(Sao Paulo) – Criminalization of abortion is incompatible with Brazil’s human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said today in filing amicus briefs in two cases before the Federal Supreme Court. Human Rights Watch said that the court should move to decriminalize abortion.

Abortion is legal in Brazil only in cases of rape, when necessary to save a woman’s life, or when the fetus suffers anencephaly – a fatal congenital brain disorder. Women and girls who terminate pregnancies under any other conditions face sentences of up to three years in prison, while people who perform abortions face up to four years.

Continued at source: Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/04/25/brazil-court-reviewing-criminalization-abortion

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Chilean Senators try to alter the text of the abortion bill for and against safe abortion

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Chilean Senators try to alter the text of the abortion bill for and against safe abortion
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
April 19, 2017

A news report on 1 April revealed that several anti-abortion Senators have sought to modify the ground of risk of the woman’s life, to say that “all legitimate medical practice to save the life of the mother that, as a result, ends the life of the fetus is not abortion”. However, although they claim that this rewording is “with nuances of grammar, but similar in its intention”, in fact this is an anti-abortion substitute for making abortion legal if there is a risk to the woman’s life. This is the language of the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare of 2012, which states unequivocally that abortion is never medically necessary, even to save the life of a pregnant woman. It is a kind of double-speak that led to the death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland, where the Declaration was published just before her death. Abortion rights advocates should oppose it, if they are not doing so already.

The Government, for its part, reintroduced a number of grounds that had been rejected in the Chamber of Deputies; among them, the right to decide on abortion at the age of 14 years and the elimination of the requirement to report any woman who has an abortion to the police, which is currently required of clinicians.

The deadline for Senators to propose any further changes has passed. The next step in the process began on 4 April, in the Senate Health Committee, chaired by Senator PPD Guido Girardi, the new President of the Commission. He assured the Committee that they will hold no more hearings, and that now was the time to legislate and that they were going to discuss all the grounds. In total, there were 120 amendments to the bill, which they began to review during the week of 10 April.

In line with the Government’s views, Senator and presidential candidate Alejandro Guillier is supporting permitting abortion in cases of rape up to 18 weeks of pregnancy and restrictions on the exercise of conscientious objection, requiring prior written notification, a rationale and the approval of the director of the health facility concerned.

Other changes proposed by anti-abortion Senator Andres Zaldivar are to lower the “intensity” of the criminal prosecution of women having abortion, i.e. reducing but not eliminating prison sentences, as a “more humane approach to the problem”. This point has generated one of the largest debates in the DC party and with independent senators, who are opposed to women who have abortions ending up in jail. He has also proposed that if a fetal anomaly has been diagnosed, the pregnancy should not be aborted but the hospital should wait and “induce labour” at 22 weeks in order to deliver a live but very premature baby that will need intensive treatment to stay alive, as has been imposed in several cases, e.g. Paraguay, on young girls. This is not abortion, but it is international anti-abortion ideology and language.

In contrast, a number of pro-choice Senators have proposed to extend the grounds of risk to the woman’s life by adding the concept of “serious harm to health” as well as life. Senator Girardi was going to add that this can apply to the “present or future” but it seems he has not done so. Another proposal has been to extend the types of fetal anomaly incompatible with life to “congenital malformation, genetic alteration or acquired pathology”.

These proposals, representing the different sides on this issue, are a sign that support for this bill’s intention to permit abortion in limited circumstances is far from being secured.

SOURCE: EMOL, 1 April 2017 ; biobiochile, 5 April 2017 ; PHOTO, Agencia UNO ;

Thanks to Lidia Casas Becerra for checking this text, 18 April 2017

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/chilean-senators-try-to-alter-the-text-of-the-abortion-bill-for-and-against-safe-abortion/

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Abortion rights at the Supreme Court: a public debate in Brazil

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Abortion rights at the Supreme Court: a public debate in Brazil
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
April 19, 2017

The criminalization of abortion by the 1940 Brazilian Penal Code is incompatible with women’s fundamental rights enshrined in the 1988 Federal Constitution. This premise grounds the petition presented to the Supreme Court (STF), on March 7th 2017, by the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL) and Anis – Institute of Bioethics. In Brazilian legal terminology this type of request is named as ADPF (Arguição de Preceito Fundamental/ Interrogation of Fundamental Principles). ADPF 442 as the petition was numbered calls for the decriminalization of abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy.

On March 27th, in Rio de Janeiro, women’s human rights experts and activists organized the first public debate to discuss the motivation and content of ADPF 442 and to assess the potential developments of the initiative. It was organized by the Brazilian Women’s Articulation (AMB Rio), the feminist NGOs Redeh, Cfemêa and Grupo Curumim in partnership with Ipas and Sexuality Policy Watch.

Minister Rosa Weber was appointed by the Court to be the Justice responsible for the processing of the case. On the same day as the public debate, she formally requested the Executive branch, the Legislative chambers and the Office of the Federal Prosecutor to express their positions on the petition request.

Luciana Boiteux, a professor of criminal law, who is a member of PSOL and one of the lawyers who signed the petition explained to the public debate that this step by the Minister was in response to the preliminary injunction attached to the petition, which requests that arrests, police inquiries, judicial proceedings and effects of judicial decision on criminal abortion cases are suspended while the case is discussed and decided by the Court (a process that can take many years). She also said::

“The role of the Supreme Court is to guarantee the rights of minorities and access to state support in certain matters. Because in the case of abortion, as in other topics around which no easily social consensus exists, a parliamentary majority is not necessarily the most democratic solution. The contradictory aspect in the case of abortion rights that we, as women, are the majority, but when we claim these rights our voices can be described as expressing a minority demand, which will not necessarily be recognized by parliaments.”

The petition also recaptures key definitions settled by Supreme Court Justices in three previous decisions: one authorizing the development of stem cell research in Brazil (2010), one granting the right to abortion in the case of anencephaly (2012) and the opinion and voting of the First Group of the Court in November 2016 when examining an Habeas Corpus request in the case of health professionals indicted for working in a clandestine abortion clinic in Rio de Janeiro….

The Federal Prosecutor for Citizenship Rights, Deborah Duprat, agreed with other panelists that time is ripe to request from the Supreme Court a juridical solution for the violations that derive from criminalisation of abortion. She also reminded everyone that because abortion is criminalised many doctors continue to refuse to do abortion in cases when it is legal (rape, to save women’s lives and anencephaly) because they fear being punished. She also suggested that when calling the attention of the Court to the tragedy of individual cases of death and detrimental health impacts related to unsafe abortion, and the arbitrary treatment or punishment suffered by women, it is important to show how these effects differ across class and racial lines. Duprat has also insisted on the premise raised by others on the panel that the right to one’s own body “is at the core of the principles of dignity, freedom and equality”.

Other speakers included Beatriz Galli of Ipas Brazil and Lúcia Xavier, who coordinates the Black feminist NGO Criola and is a member of the Brazilian Articulation of Black Women…

The results of an opinion poll on social perceptions on abortion decision, conducted by Catholics for the Right to Decide and one main poll institute (IPOBE) in mid-February 2017, were also made public. The poll showed that 64% of a representative sample considered that the decision about terminating a pregnancy is exclusively the decision of the woman; only 9% thought the decision should be shared with husbands or partners; 6% named the Judiciary as the power that should decide; 4% the churches; and merely 1% that the Presidency or the National Congress should have a voice in this matter…

FULL REPORT/VISUAL: Sexuality Policy Watch, by Paula Guimarães and Sonia Corrêa, 11 April 2017

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Source, International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/abortion-rights-at-the-supreme-court-a-public-debate-in-brazil/

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National Pact for the Decriminalization of Abortion addresses Constitution Committee in Bolivia

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National Pact for the Decriminalization of Abortion addresses Constitution Committee in Bolivia
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

April 14, 2017

“Give women 22 weeks to decide”, “Not just one legal abortion per woman…” were among the demands presented by advocates from the National Pact for the Decriminalisation of Abortion in Bolivia, a group of 50 organisations from all over the country to a hearing on 11 April, in front of the Constitution Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. The hearing was to discuss amendments that the Committee had tabled to Article 157 of the draft Criminal Code. Instead of the tabled amendments, the Pact called for the Committee to allow legal abortion on broad grounds, including extending the time limit for abortion on request from the proposed eight weeks to 22 weeks, not limiting women to only one legal abortion in their lifetimes, and not making abortion legal only for the poorest women.

The Minister of Health, Ariana Campero, had recently reported that in Bolivia, 13% of maternal mortality is due to unsafe abortions. Responding to this, the Pact’s spokesperson said: “We believe the decision to define abortion as a criminal act is not an answer. The consequences, such as maternal deaths, are a public health problem and disproportionate, and require solutions. The figure of 13% is frightening. There should not be deaths from abortion nor from haemorrhage.”

In a press release dated 11 April, the Pact describe the Committee’s proposed amendments as violating women’s rights and contradicting international commitments made by the State. They argue that these restrictions will not diminish the number of abortions but will continue to have grave consequences for women’s lives and health. They show that the proposed amendments compare unfavourably to the laws on abortion in many other countries and quote the concerns of CEDAW in 2015 about the negative effects of criminalisation of abortion. They close with the slogan:

“Educación sexual para decidir, anticonceptivos para no abortar, y aborto seguro para no morir.”

(Sexual education to be able to decide, contraception to prevent the need for abortion, and safe abortion so as not to die.)

SOURCES: Página Siete, by Verónica Zapana S, 12 April 2017 (inc. photo) ; AbortoSeguroBol

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/national-pact-for-the-decriminalization-of-abortion-addresses-constitution-committee-in-bolivia/

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Uruguay Solidarity Request: Please sign statement calling for release of young woman in prison for miscarriage

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Uruguay Solidarity Request

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion, April 7, 2017

Statement: A court has put a young woman in prison for miscarriage

by Mujer y Salud en Uruguay (MYSU), 4 April 2017
PLEASE SIGN THIS STATEMENT CALLING FOR HER RELEASE

A young woman has this week been sentenced to a term in prison for homicide in the city of Rivera in Uruguay. She gave birth in the bathroom of her house unaware that she was even pregnant. She was accused of manslaughter, which the judge, Darwin Rampoldi, used to sentence her for having “aborted” the pregnancy.

This is the second time this year that the Uruguayan justice system has been responsible for a blatant injustice, void of any gender perspective. The circumstances, as narrated in the judgment, are masterfully misogynistic.

Before she was even taken to court, however, the young woman had been judged and condemned by the health professionals who attended her in the Public Hospital. The initial diagnosis was of “abortion” followed by a series of gynaecological examinations that determined that she had given birth. She was then taken to the maternity ward, and only six hours after admission, a doctor thought to ask: “Where is the baby?”.

In the trial, there were testimonies from doctors, neighbours and relatives. In her own words, the young woman told the court that she had felt a strong pain, but had had no idea that she was pregnant. She told her partner that she thought it could be ovarian pain, but that she wasn’t going to go to the doctor because “they will laugh at me”.

This is not the first time that a woman has been criminally prosecuted in Uruguay under these circumstances. Yet no State institution has intervened to prevent and address these unfortunate situations. Instead, the Penal Code is invoked, and women are put on trial and sent to jail without justification.
We call on the Judiciary to ensure that its members receive regular training in human rights issues as well as greater awareness of the use of legal processes so as to ensure gender justice. We also call on the Judiciary to monitor the performance of judges in invoking the criminal law in such cases. We believe an analysis of such judgments would provide an account of the extent of gender bias and prejudice in judicial rulings, and expose the extent to which they reinforce gender stereotypes and biased social values – such as those which assume that a woman who has an unexpected pregnancy and gives birth in very precarious conditions must have murdered a baby.

We also denounce the attitude and intervention of those health professionals who, instead of attending to a woman who found herself in this situation, mistreated, belittled and judged her. Health professionals are neither judges nor police officers; their role is not to condemn but to ensure the highest quality of care for the patient who requires it, regardless of her socioeconomic class and educational level, let alone her “motives”.

We demand the immediate release of this young woman and the effective intervention of all the State institutions that are involved, to ensure her release.

TO SIGN THIS STATEMENT, PLEASE SEND YOUR GROUP/NAME, POSITION, CITY, COUNTRY, TO: mysu@mysu.org.uy
COMUNICADO EN ESPAÑOL: http://www.mysu.org.uy/multimedia/noticia/comunicado-ante-procesamiento-con-prision-de-mujer-en-rivera/ ;

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion:
http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/uruguay-solidarity-request/

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INVIMA approves mifepristone for abortion in Colombia

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INVIMA approves mifepristone for abortion in Colombia
by Safe Abortion
March 31, 2017

On 3 March 2017,  it was announced that Colombia’s Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia de Medicamentos y Alimentos (National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute, INVIMA) had approved the registration of mifepristone in Colombia for use in combination with misoprostol for induced abortion.

According to the Gynuity Health Projects website, mifepristone has been available (up to June 2016) only in Guyana and Uruguay in South America.

Profamilia, Colombia’s national family planning organisation, hope to begin providing the combination method in the second quarter of this year according to Marta Royo, Profamilia’s Executive Director.

Royo reports that in March 2012 Profamilia started all the procedures required in order to introduce mifepristone in Colombia: “It took five years and tons of paperwork, meetings and lobbying, she said, but we made it!!!! We are thrilled at INVIMA´s granting of approval but to be honest, also a little bit scared…. I won’t truly believed it until I see Mifepristona in Profamilia´s clinics and of course other clinics as well.”

SOURCES: El Espectador, 3 March 2017 ; E-mail from Marta Royo, 22 March 2017

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/invima-approves-mifepristone-for-abortion-in-colombia/

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Argentina: “Belén” acquitted: Tucumán Provincial Supreme Court overturns sentence for aggravated homicid

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STOP PRESS: ARGENTINA “Belén” acquitted: Tucumán Provincial Supreme Court overturns sentence for aggravated homicide
by Safe Abortion
March 31, 2017

In 2014, “Belén”, a 27-year-old woman from the province of Tucumán went to her local hospital with a serious vaginal haemorrhage. The duty doctor diagnosed a spontaneous miscarriage, but “Belén” was accused of having disposed of the fetus in a hospital washroom. She was tried and sentenced to eight years in jail for aggravated homicide in a trial riddled with irregularities. She spent more than two years in prison until August 2016, when the Tucumán Supreme Court ordered her release after a long-running, nationwide campaign. Seven months later, the Court has now acquitted her due to the absence of evidence against her.

In overturning the lower court’s decision, the provincial Supreme Court highlighted the importance of patient confidentiality, the rights of women who have undergone an abortion and the right of women to be treated with dignity and not subjected to violence.

Her lawyer, Soledad Deza, told El País, that the ruling will set a precedent that will help to prevent other women from being treated as she was: “This ruling provides justice twice over: for Belén and all other women who do not want to be mothers who have a spontaneous or induced abortion. I believe this ruling will encourage women to use the public health system because they now know they will not be arrested when they leave.” She said Belén is also considering whether to bring legal action against the state for the time she has lost, the violation of her rights, the loss of her freedom and for changing the course of her life.

SOURCE: El País, 28 March 2017 (in English) ; Absuelta una joven argentina que estuvo dos años presa por un aborto (en español) ; PHOTO

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/stop-press-argentina-belen-acquitted-tucuman-provincial-supreme-court-overturns-sentence-for-aggravated-homicide/

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Chile: Popaganda: Where Abortion Is Illegal

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Popaganda: Where Abortion Is Illegal
by Sarah Mirk
Published on March 30, 2017 at 6:18am

Donald Trump and Mike Pence say they want to ban abortion in the United States. But they seem to have a hazy idea of what that will actually mean. Millions of people around the world know all too well what happens when abortion is criminalized: 25 percent of the world's population lives in countries with very restrictive abortion laws. On this episode, we bring you a dispatch from one such country, Chile, where abortion is completely illegal. While abortion is banned for everyone in the nation, the reality is much different. As three Chilean women explain, whether or not you can safely get an abortion in the country comes down to one thing: money.

Continued at source: Bitch Media: https://bitchmedia.org/article/popaganda-where-abortion-illegal

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