Latin America – Covid-19 hospital beds and abortion

There is hard evidence that the pandemic presents a heightened risk to reproductive health

DEBORA DINIZ and GISELLE CARINO
31 JUL 2020

“Abortion is a public health matter,” scientists say. This notion seems a bit abstract – how can a criminalized practice constitute a public health need? The Covid-19 pandemic is a teachable moment. But it is the teaching of horror: according to the World Health Organization, thousands of women visit health services every month to receive care for incomplete abortions. In Argentina, the figure was 3,330 women; in Chile, 1,522; in Colombia, 7,778; and in Mexico, 18,285, in different years. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 760,000 women in Latin America and the Caribbean are treated annually at healthcare services because of complications from unsafe abortions, averaging out to 63,000 beds a month. When a woman goes to a hospital for complications from an unsafe abortion, she might end up needing a bed twice: once, to treat the unsafe abortion and next, to be treated for the Covid-19 she contracted in the hospital.

Continued: https://english.elpais.com/opinion/2020-07-31/covid-19-hospital-beds-and-abortion.html


Brazil: Access to abortion during Covid-19

July 29, 2020 (International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion)

An initiative to help women to have a safe, legal abortion: a network of women, proactive, advocating for the decriminalisation of abortion in Brazil. An initiative of mutual solidarity: horizontal and self-sustaining.

by Maíra Marques, Director of Communications, Milhas Pela Vida das Mulheres

During the morning of 21 October 2019, a 31-year-old woman (J.) was admitted to the Pérola Byington Hospital in downtown São Paulo (SP), where she had an appointment for psychiatric counselling. A victim of gang rape, she had been receiving treatment for 20 days. Once again, she passed by the tents of “40 Days for Life in SP”, a group of anti-abortion activists who had decided to settle there during the Covid-19 quarantine, trying they said, to convert health professionals and women who have come to the hospital for a legal termination of a pregnancy. According to a report by the Public Journalism Agency, J. attempted to talk to the group that morning, to tell them her story, but without success. Instead, she was beaten up by these militants, some of whom were women, who punched her and put her in a headlock. These violent acts were witnessed by a lawyer, who accompanied her to the nearest police station.

Continued: https://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/blog/brazil-access-to-abortion-during-covid-19/


Brazil – Covid-19 and the wounded uterus

There would be no death, bleeding or suffering if abortion were recognized for what it is: a medical necessity

Debora Diniz and Giselle Carino
01 jul 2020

The news report described her as an anonymous 31-year-old woman. The subheading read: “Case happened in Bom Jesus do Norte” – or Good Jesus of the North. From what we know, she was the first woman to die from a clandestine abortion in Brazil during the coronavirus pandemic. The nameless woman “was two months pregnant,” according to her husband. Twice she sought help in spaces of death, at unsafe abortion houses. She tried a hose, potassium permanganate, syringes. She died of cardiac arrest. Why did she persist? We do not know, nor do her innermost reasons matter. It is enough to know that she was a woman determined not to be forced into maternity during the pandemic.

The pandemic killed her. Cause and effect can be debated in this narrative, that is true. Her death was not from Covid-19, but from the policies that rule women’s bodies as if they were material to be controlled by criminal law.

Continued: https://english.elpais.com/opinion/2020-07-01/covid-19-and-the-wounded-uterus.html


Argentina – Socorristas en Red: Activists provide vital lifeline for women seeking abortions

For women unable to gain access to legal abortions, the Las Socorristas en Red network is an essential lifeline, providing them with guidance, support and care in their moment of greatest need.

Julia Logue
June 27, 2020

Even in the middle of the night, Irina Percara’s phone is always on full volume. She never knows when she’ll need to be reached.

Irina, 24, is one of 450 activists that form Las Socorristas en Red, a network of feminist groups across Argentina that guide women through abortions using misoprostol, a drug that safely terminates pregnancies during the first trimester.

“We help women who need abortions do it without guilt, without judgment, and without putting their health and safety at risk,” the activist told the Times.

Continued: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/socorristas-en-red-activists-provide-vital-lifeline-for-women-seeking-abortions.phtml


The Pandemic And Legal Abortion: What Happens When Access Is Limited?

The Pandemic And Legal Abortion: What Happens When Access Is Limited?

June 8, 2020
Isabella Gomez Sarmiento

In April, Johanna Cruz terminated her pregnancy with drugs obtained through a telemedicine consultation.

Abortion is legal in Colombia. And Cruz, a street performer from Chile who was backpacking through the Colombian state of Antioquia, did not feel she was in a position to raise a child. She didn't have a steady income or stable housing. And with stay-at-home orders in place to control the spread of coronavirus, she found herself facing homelessness in the town of San Rafael and unable to travel to Medellin, the nearest city with an abortion clinic.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/06/08/864970278/lockdown-limits-access-to-legal-abortion-in-colombia-telemedicine-is-now-an-opti


Abortion ‘doulas’ in Chile risk prison, saying women need their help

Abortion 'doulas' in Chile risk prison, saying women need their help
“We are doing this because the law is insufficient."

May 28, 2020
By Liam Miller

SANTIAGO, Chile — The woman anxiously removes the SIM card from the cheap cellphone and cuts the chip into pieces before sweeping the fragments into the trash. When her nerves pass, she allows herself a small sigh of relief.

Despite using a "burner" phone like those associated with drug deals in TV crime series, this woman is using it for a different purpose. A college-educated professional, she's one of several women in a group of abortion "doulas," part of a clandestine network willing to break the law and face prison to help women obtain abortions, as long as it's medically safe to do so.

Continued: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/abortion-doulas-chile-risk-prison-saying-women-need-their-help-n1154506


Argentina’s abortion campaign launches virtual events to revitalise movement

Argentina's abortion campaign launches virtual events to revitalise movement
Activists seemed on the brink of victory when they were stalled by the pandemic and a historic bill wasn’t formally introduced

Natalie Alcoba in Buenos Aires
Published on Thu 28 May 2020

Feminists in Argentina like to say: “la lucha está en la calle” — the battle is in the streets. But with the country under a strict coronavirus lockdown, the women’s movement can no longer flood the streets.

So on Thursday, activists have planned a series of virtual events to mark 15 years of their campaign to legalize abortion – and inject new momentum to campaign which was stalled by the pandemic, just as it seemed on the brink of victory.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/28/argentina-abortion-activism-coronavirus-government


From Poland To Uruguay, What The Pandemic Means For Abortion

From Poland To Uruguay, What The Pandemic Means For Abortion

Michaela Kozminova, WORLDCRUNCH
2020-05-13

Across the globe, swamped hospitals and shelter-in-place measures have impacted people's access to healthcare for any number of non-COVID-19 issues. One of them is abortion, a time sensitive procedure that is also — even the best of times — both emotionally and politically charged.

Now, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, some countries have used emergency decrees to change their policies related to pregnancy terminations. While several have extended access to abortions in an effort to ease pressure on women and guarantee their rights, others have seen the situation as an opportunity to make abortions more difficult to access.

Continued: https://worldcrunch.com/coronavirus/from-poland-to-uruguay-what-the-pandemic-means-for-abortion


Colombia drops FARC’s mass forced abortion claim after 5 years

Colombia drops FARC’s mass forced abortion claim after 5 years

by Adriaan Alsema
May 10, 2020

A former guerrilla associate was sentenced to 40 years in prison for carrying out forced abortions on former ELN and ERG guerrillas, according to the prosecution, which had blamed the FARC for years.

In a press release, a judge in the city of Pereira confirmed Hector Albeidis Arboleda carried out forced abortions for demobilized rebel group ERG and the active ELN guerrillas.

Continued: https://colombiareports.com/colombia-drops-farcs-mass-forced-abortion-claim-after-5-years/