Italy: Covid-19 Exacerbates Obstacles to Legal Abortion

Inadequate Measures Heighten Existing Risks for Health, Lives

July 30, 2020

(London) – Government inaction has left women and girls facing avoidable obstacles to accessing legal abortion in Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic, putting their health and lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said today.

The government’s failure to ensure clear pathways to essential, time-sensitive medical care during the pandemic caused interruptions to abortion services and prevented some women from accessing abortion within the legal time limit, exacerbating longstanding barriers to safe and legal abortion in Italy.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/30/italy-covid-19-exacerbates-obstacles-legal-abortion


South Africa: Providing safe abortion care during a national lockdown

03 July 2020
Kgaladi Mphahlele, Doctors Without Borders

In 2015, MSF surveyed 800 women between the ages of 18 and 49 in Rustenburg and found that one in four women had been raped in her lifetime, yet fewer than 5 per cent of those women reported to a health care facility. Since then, MSF has run several sexual and reproductive health programs for the community— including for survivors of sexual violence— across Bojanala district, where Rustenburg is located, in partnership with local health authorities.

In addition to community outreach and health
education in more than 20 schools in the district, MSF supports four Kgomotso
Care Centers (KCC) providing sexual violence care.

Continued: https://www.msf.org.za/stories-news/fieldworker-stories/south-africa-providing-safe-abortion-care-during-national-lockdown


Why COVID-19 Must Not Constrain Access to Abortion in India

Why COVID-19 Must Not Constrain Access to Abortion in India
During the pandemic, India must ensure that access to critical women’s health facilities remain unimpeded.

By Tarini Mehta
June 24, 2020

Some things cannot be stopped and started as we please, not even if a highly contagious virus demands it. A case in point is development through the different stages of pregnancy. The Indian government did declare safe abortion an essential health service on April 14, when the country was still under a COVID-19 lockdown. It brought some relief to a few women who urgently required those facilities. But things are not that simple.

According to a report by the IPAS Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to manage unwanted pregnancies in India, 73 percent of abortions that take place in India annually are done via medical abortion (MA) drugs that are accessed outside of facilities. Private health facilities take care of 16 percent of cases, while public health facilities cover another 6 percent. The remaining 5 percent are conducted through traditional methods that are considered unsafe. These include, but are not limited to, the usage of sticks, roots, and herbal medicines.

Continued: https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/why-covid-19-must-not-constrain-access-to-abortion-in-india/


The Inside Story Of How Arkansas Exploited COVID To Stop Abortions

The Inside Story Of How Arkansas Exploited COVID To Stop Abortions
Under pressure by anti-abortion activists ― including a board of health member ― the state health department became a weapon in the war against abortion.

By Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost US
June 22, 2020

On the first day of April, Marsha Boss, a 68-year-old Catholic pharmacist, uploaded a photo to Facebook. Snapped on a sunny day, it showed the parking lot outside Little Rock Family Planning Services, one of two abortion clinics left in Arkansas. “We watched three cars from Texas come in, three from Tennessee and one from Alabama all coming to our great state to get an abortion,” she wrote in her post. “How sad is that?”

In private, around the same time, Boss was extending her disapproval to state health officials. Over text messages and in phone calls, she complained that the clinic was violating social distancing guidelines, performing “25 to 30” abortions a day, and warned that out-of-town patients ― many of whom were fleeing abortion bans their states put in place after coronavirus hit ― might spread the infectious disease in Arkansas. She also said she saw someone carrying coveted surgical masks into the clinic, as well as beer.

Continued: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/arkansas-coronavirus-abortion_n_5eeba27ac5b6413b964e4caa?ri18n=true


USA – The Fight to Protect Abortion Access Amid the Pandemic

The Fight to Protect Abortion Access Amid the Pandemic

Jordan Smith
June 15 2020

It wasn’t much past 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning in late April, and anti-choice protesters outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, were already cantankerous: There were three men with bullhorns, including one on top of a ladder; a 1,200-watt speaker pointing toward the clinic’s front door; and another protester blowing a shofar. “Welcome to the circus,” said Kim Gibson, a clinic escort who works to keep the mayhem away from patients.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic has gripped the nation (new cases are still on the rise in Mississippi), protesters disregarded Jackson’s stay-at-home order and have consistently failed to wear masks or keep appropriate social distance — not only from one another, but also from patients, whose cars they readily approach in an effort to “counsel” them and hand out anti-abortion propaganda.

Continued: https://theintercept.com/2020/06/15/coronavirus-pandemic-abortion-acces


Coronavirus Created an Obstacle Course for Safe Abortions

Coronavirus Created an Obstacle Course for Safe Abortions
But during the pandemic, a few countries liberalized their requirements, allowing at-home medical terminations.

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Monika Pronczuk
June 14, 2020

BRUSSELS — When a 19-year-old woman from southern Poland decided to end her pregnancy at 18 weeks, she knew the only way to get an abortion was to rush to a neighboring European country.

Abortion is illegal in most circumstances in Poland, and so for years, many women have traveled within Europe to seek the procedure.

But it was April, and across the continent, borders were closing fast because of the coronavirus pandemic. So she and a friend loaded up their Renault with instant noodles and candy for a 14-hour race to Utrecht, in the Netherlands. They made it just in time for her to have the procedure and return home, her friend said.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/world/europe/coronavirus-abortion-obstacles.html


USA – Medication Abortion and Telemedicine: Innovations and Barriers During the COVID-19 Emergency

Medication Abortion and Telemedicine: Innovations and Barriers During the COVID-19 Emergency

Amrutha Ramaswamy, Gabriela Weigel, Laurie Sobel
Jun 08, 2020

State actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted their divergent approaches to abortion access. Some states classified abortion as a non-essential service, effectively banning services, while others have clarified that abortion is an essential service. In a handful of states, some clinics have begun to offer medication abortions using telemedicine. This approach maintains access to abortion while social distancing, preserving personal protective equipment (PPE), and limiting in-person health care visits and risk of exposure.

In 2017, 39% of all abortions in the U.S. were medication abortions (also known as abortions induced by pills). These abortions are provided using two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol. While public knowledge about medication abortion is very low, even fewer people may be aware that telemedicine can aid in the provision of this service. Research shows that providing medication abortion by telemedicine is clinically feasible and safe, but COVID-19 has highlighted the impact of new and existing federal and state restrictions on providing abortions using this approach.

Continued: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-policy-watch/medication-abortion-telemedicine-innovations-and-barriers-during-the-covid-19-emergency/


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


USA – Abortion is essential, especially during this pandemic | Opinion

Abortion is essential, especially during this pandemic | Opinion

Posted Jun 06, 2020
By Kristyn Brandi

I heard it twice in one day: “I don’t know what to do.”

As a doctor practicing in Newark, I see patients with a broad diversity of lived experiences. Itis unusual to hear the same story back to back. But we are in unusual times. Two people: one, a patient in my obstetrics clinic, the other a close friend. Both were concerned about being pregnant in the time of COVID-19.

Continued: https://www.nj.com/opinion/2020/06/abortion-is-essential-especially-during-this-pandemic-opinion.html


Australia – Improving access to early medical abortion amid COVID-19

Improving access to early medical abortion amid COVID-19

May 28, 2020
Monash University

To mark today’s International Day of Action on Women’s Health (May 28), a newly formed coalition of key stakeholders and clinician experts is advocating rapid policy and practice-based changes to improve the accessibility of early medical abortion (EMA) in Australia during COVID-19 and beyond.

Early medical abortion (EMA), along with contraception, has been declared an essential service during the pandemic but it is not always easy to access. This is particularly the case for highly time-sensitive EMAs that must be undertaken before nine weeks’ gestation in Australia. As a result of the pandemic access may be further challenged by delays in accessing ultrasounds, an inability to travel (especially for women living in remote and regional areas) and cost-barriers including those caused by job losses due to COVID-19.

Continued: https://www.miragenews.com/improving-access-to-early-medical-abortion-amid-covid-19/