The Damage from Trump’s Global Gag Rule Will Be Greater in this Era of Abortion Rights

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The Damage from Trump’s Global Gag Rule Will Be Greater in this Era of Abortion Rights
By Patty Skuster
May 5, 2017

Women in Malawi are dying in silence from unsafe abortions, says Darlington Hararwa of Malawi. As the founding director of Passion for Women in Children, Hararwa is an outspoken champion of reforming Malawi’s restrictive abortion law. But his advocacy work is about to get more difficult.

President Donald Trump reinstated the global gag rule in the first days of his presidency and expanded the restriction to all recipients of U.S. global health funds. Under the global gag rule, recipients of U.S. funds cannot provide abortion services, information, or referrals and are not allowed to advocate for abortion law reform. The impact of Trump’s uniquely restrictive global gag rule on women’s health and rights will be greater than the gag rule in the past. Since President Barack Obama reversed the global gag rule at the beginning of his presidency, health workers, advocates, and governments have made significant progress toward a future where all women can realize the right to safe abortions. The reinstatement of the global gag rule will stall this progress.

Continued at source: Georgetown Journal: http://journal.georgetown.edu/the-damage-from-trumps-global-gag-rule-will-be-greater-in-this-era-of-abortion-rights/

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Uganda’s Abortion Rate Has Decreased Since 2003, but Unsafe Procedures Resulting in Complications Remain Common

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Uganda’s Abortion Rate Has Decreased Since 2003, but Unsafe Procedures Resulting in Complications Remain Common
February 14, 2017
News Release

An estimated 314,300 Ugandan women had abortions in 2013, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute and Uganda’s Makerere University. This translates to a rate of 39 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–49, a significant decline from the rate in 2003, which was 51. The study also found that 93,300 women were treated across the country for complications from unsafe procedures. The annual hospitalization rate for complications from unsafe abortion is estimated to be 12 per 1,000 women aged 15–49, down from 15 per 1,000 in 2003.

Continued at source: Guttmacher Institute: https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2017/ugandas-abortion-rate-has-decreased-2003-unsafe-procedures-resulting-complications

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Africa: Experts fear higher maternal mortality rates due to reinstated Mexico City policy

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Experts fear higher maternal mortality rates due to reinstated Mexico City policy
By Deepti Agnihotri
Monday, February 13

As one of his first actions taken as president, Donald Trump reinstated what is known as the "global gag rule," and practitioners fear maternal mortality rates will now take a turn for the worse.

Trump signed the executive order reinstating what is formally known as the Mexico City policy just four days after taking office. His doing so did not come as a surprise—since the Ronald Reagan administration, the policy has been reinstated and repealed every time a new Republican or Democratic president has taken office.

The policy prohibits American family-planning funds from going to any foreign organization that provides counseling or referrals for abortion or advocates for abortion access. Critics call it the "global gag rule" because they argue it hinders doctor-patient communication, but its supporters argue that it will lead to a decrease in the overall abortion rate.

Continued at source: The Duke Chronicle: http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2017/02/experts-fear-higher-maternal-mortality-rates-due-to-reinstated-mexico-city-policy

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Uganda: When Restriction On Abortion Turns a Human Rights Issue

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Africa: When Restriction On Abortion Turns a Human Rights Issue
Jan 17, 2017, The Monitor
By Lilian Namagembe

When we meet Asyiah Nagudi, at her a single roomed rented house in Mukono District, tears flow down her cheeks as she recounts the economic hardships she has gone through in the past one year.

Nagudi says her husband abandoned her in 2015 on learning that she was pregnant with their second child.

"I cannot afford two meals a day for my two children," she says.

[continued at link]

Source,  AllAfrica.com: http://allafrica.com/stories/201701170034.html

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UN Human Rights Council says: reduce maternal mortality and amend the abortion law in Uganda

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by Safe Abortion, Nov 25, 2016

Among the recommendations the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) members made to the government of Uganda as part of its review of the country’s human rights record this year was one to revise its abortion legislation.

The Ugandan Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and the Center for Reproductive Rights submitted a shadow letter in March 2016 to the HRC review in which they called for greater attention to all aspects of maternal mortality and morbidity and showed why less improvement has occurred than is hoped for. They also discussed the criminalization of abortion and other reproductive health services as a barrier that interferes with access to safe health care services. They also said: “While the Ugandan government has ratified the Maputo Protocol and has repeatedly recognized unsafe abortion as a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity, the government has entered a reservation on this article which would have expanded access to safe abortion. They also expressed concern about the ambiguity and misinformation surrounding the legality of abortion and post-abortion services.

Under Ugandan law, they say, “abortion is permitted only to preserve the life, mental and physical health of the pregnant woman. However, the Ministry of Health’s National Guidelines and Services Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights expands grounds for permitting legal abortion to include cases such as sexual violence and incest and outlines comprehensive abortion and post-abortion care standards. The narrow interpretation of abortion laws by the courts and other government bodies, as well as extremely restricted access to relevant information, have resulted in misinformation about the legality of abortion among the general public, health care providers, law enforcement officers, the judiciary, and regulators… The ambiguity in the law further deters health care professionals from providing safe abortion services… [Yet] most doctors and other trained providers mistakenly believe that there is a complete prohibition on abortion. Due to this, they are reluctant to provide the comprehensive services outlined in the Reproductive Health Guidelines for fear of being subjected to criminal liability.”

In June 2015, the Ugandan Ministry of Health issued “Standards & Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion in Uganda,” which contains “practical and standardized information to various stakeholders from a range of sectors that will help reduce morbidity and mortality due to unsafe abortion.” However, the publication was delayed until recently.

The Ugandan government supported a number of recommendations made at the HRC review, including that they should strengthen measures to fight against maternal mortality and morbidity with a human rights-based approach, ensure a sufficient health budget and full and equal access to health services. They said there was support for strengthening measures to address maternal deaths and ensuring access to reproductive health services, but that abortion law reform was not a priority.

SOURCE: CEHURD Shadow Letter, March 2016 ; Center for Reproductive Rights, 15 November 2016 ; VISUAL

[continued at link]

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

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Uganda Rejects Calls to Amend Its Abortion Law During U.N. Human Rights Council Review

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11.15.16 - (PRESS RELEASE) The government of Uganda rejected recommendations last week to revise its abortion legislation.

A Uganda delegation responded to a range of issues raised at the U.N. Human Rights Council—the U.N.’s main human rights body—as part of its review of the country’s human rights record. In its response, the Ugandan government signaled that although there is support for strengthening measures to address maternal deaths and ensuring access to reproductive health services, abortion law reform is not a priority.

Abortion in Uganda is legal in cases of life endangerment, yet according to 2013 research from the Guttmacher Institute over 300,00 induced abortions occur annually, with nearly 125,000 women seeking treatment for complications from unsafe abortions.

[continued at link]

Source: Center for Reproductive Rights

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Girls find their voices through “Listen To Me” clubs in grassroots communities in Uganda

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by Safe Abortion, Nov 3, 2016

From a small, slummy village in the outskirts of Kisowera in Kawempe division, on the boundary of Kampala and Wakiso district in Uganda, many adolescent girls spend the whole day sleeping. Why? Because from 6pm in the evening, this small town begins to fill up with young girls in search of survival benefits. Few girls in this area go to school, and those who do so are usually pulled out due to unwanted pregnancies before they graduate and others end up with severe complications due unsafe abortions and sometimes deaths before they turn 18.

But Majorine has different plans for her future. She wants to be a lawyer in order to defend the rights of young people in courts of law whose rights will be violated. Asked why she felt that way, after some minutes of silence, Majorine narrated how she had lost her 16-year-old close friend, who was orphaned and who had HIV but was practising positive living. Her friend was engaging in commercial sex and had failed to raise the 400,000 Uganda shillings she needed to pay for her abortion, the amount demanded by an old lady for the abortion herbs.

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

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Uganda Debates Abortion Bill to Save Lives and Money

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An estimated 300,000 women get illegal, and often unsafe, abortions in Uganda every year, and almost 1,500 die as a result. But a proposed bill to decriminalize the procedure is being stalled by religious leaders and politicians.

Written by William Davies
Published on September 29, 2016, News Deeply

KAMPALA, Uganda – At 17 years old, and four months’ pregnant with twins, Dorothy knew if she gave birth her family would kick her out of the house. So she did what hundreds of Ugandan teenagers do every day and sought out an illegal abortion.

“A friend took me to a health clinic that is hidden away,” she says. “There were lots of girls there, around 15 of them … They were lying on the floor.”

The clinic was clean, she says, but the equipment looked old, and there was just one bed where the operations were carried out. “I was given an injection in my arm that made me go to sleep and it seemed to be over very quickly,” she says. “When I came around, I could see the twins in a basin. I felt like killing myself when I saw them.”

[continued at link]
Source: News Deeply

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Uganda: Rights Activists, Clerics Clash Over Abortion Bill

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By David Mafabi, AllAfrica.com

Kampala — As the drawn-out debate on legalisation of abortion enters a new phase, human rights activists yesterday clashed with religious leaders over a looming 'Abortion Bill'.

The two highly polarising positions were again cast in sharp contrast with religious leaders flatly reminding the government that abortion is murder, plain and simple.

Across the aisle, firebrands in the activist camp raised the ante, claiming that the church, by its obstinacy, was fuelling maternal mortality and morbidity caused by unsafe abortions in Uganda.

[continued at link]
Source: AllAfrica.com

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Alliance of Women to Advocate for Change, sex workers’ group, call for safe abortion in Uganda

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by Safe Abortion, Aug 5, 2016

Once upon a time

Late afternoon. A few wisps of clouds shelter the waning sun in the hot, equatorial sky.

The relative quiet of the ward as day shift changes to afternoon shift suddenly turns into a state of urgency.

“Come quickly doctor … there is a woman bleeding.”

She has been bleeding heavily for one day. On the chart it says she had a previous normal pregnancy. She is now 4 months pregnant.

On the stretcher, an impoverished, emaciated 18 year old from the countryside, barely able to respond to her name.

Blood pressure low … pulse rapid.

Between her thighs, a few cloths heavily soiled with blood.

Many clots and obvious grape like clusters of tissue lying on the plastic sheet.

An IV with blood in one arm, an IV with salt water in the other arm.

Quickly she is moved to the evacuation room.

[continued at link]
Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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