The Most Traumatic Thing About Abortions Is the Judgment

The Most Traumatic Thing About Abortions Is the Judgment

By Rajvi Desai
May 22, 2020

Cynthia was 20 when she got pregnant. She wasn’t allowed to go out with anybody, let alone have sex. Breaking the news to her parents was an unimaginable act. The apprehension that came with the pregnancy was so intense for her, Cynthia says it never even crossed her mind to keep the child.

“It was like I was not pregnant, and I had to get the abortion to ensure I continue to be not pregnant,” Cynthia says. “It wasn’t even a child I aborted — more like a cold that had to be cured.”


How the Pandemic Is Changing Abortion Care in Vulnerable Countries

How the Pandemic Is Changing Abortion Care in Vulnerable Countries

By Rachelle Hampton
May 18, 2020

This as-told-to essay from Dr. Manisha Kumar has been edited and condensed for clarity from an interview with Rachelle Hampton.

I am currently the head of Médecins Sans Frontières’ task force for safe abortion care. It’s a relatively new initiative that started in 2016 to increase provision of contraception and safe abortion care in MSF projects. Before this role, I worked for MSF in many different capacities. I was both a field staff doctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a medical coordinator in DRC and Bangladesh. Just like many people, I’m working from home now, in Amsterdam. I’ve never spent this much time in my apartment, behind my computer, on Zoom meetings and calls. So much of MSF and who we are is based in the field.


India – Women are finding it difficult to access abortion care, an essential service during lockdown

Women are finding it difficult to access abortion care, an essential service during lockdown
The closure of private clinics, lack of mobility and lockdown rules are restricting women from access to abortion care.

By Nirandhi Gowthaman
6th May 2020

The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has adversely affected many communities and subsections of society especially the poor, migrant labourers, marginalised communities and women. Particularly, pregnant women, new mothers and women seeking abortions have been affected due to lack of resources during the lockdown.

The Ministry of Health in its note on providing essential healthcare services said, “Focusing on COVID-19 related activities, and continuing to provide essential services, is important not only to maintain people’s trust in the health system to deliver essential health services, but also to minimise an increase in morbidity and mortality from other health conditions.”


Ghana – Towards an End to Abortion Stigma

Towards an End to Abortion Stigma

By Joshua Okyere

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are imperative components of ensuring good health and wellbeing of all. It covers issues of family planning, contraceptive use, abortion, comprehensive sexuality education and gender equality. As a matter of fact, it is the fundamental human right of individuals to decide freely and responsibly without coercion and violence, the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health (ICPD 1994). Hence, the global community has championed the need for SRHR to be prioritized with UNICEF and UNDP being at the forefront of this.

The world has made great strides in this regard yet there is more to be done. Among all of these SRHR issues, abortion has been a perennial concern for individuals and decision makers. In the true sense of it, abortion can happen clinically, hence, it is dubbed as spontaneous abortion. The main issue of contention has to do with induced abortion.


Why We Need Literature on Abortion

Why We Need Literature on Abortion
In this excerpt from Choice Words, Annie Finch's anthology of abortion poems, stories, and essays, she reflects on how literature on abortion is necessary on both a personal level and a larger societal one.

May 1, 2020
Annie Finch

I had an abortion in 1999.

Searching for literature to help me absorb my experience, I realized that I had rarely read anything about abortion (and I have a Ph.D. in literature). I was astounded to discover that there was no major literary anthology about one of the most profound experiences in my life and that of millions of others. A physical, psychological, moral, spiritual, political, and cultural reality that navigates questions of life and death, abortion should be one of the great themes of literature.

My anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, which was published recently, was the result of the 20-year search that grew out of this initial sense of shock and loss.


India’s Liberal Abortion Law, Nullified by Social Stigma

India’s Liberal Abortion Law, Nullified by Social Stigma

By Stella Paul

NEW DEHLI, Apr 14 2020 (IPS) - Arti Zodpe is from the Tamasha (folk dance-drama) theatre in Sangli, in India’s Maharashtra state. After evening performances, some of the singers and dancers offer sex work services to the audience.

“We [Tamasha sex workers] live outside of the city as people feel disturbed by the sound of our ghunghroo [anklet bracelets with bells] and music. When we go to the city, especially to a sex health clinic, the staff say, ‘so you have come to spread your filth here’. If we get an abortion, they make us clean the floor afterwards,” she had said at a recent gathering of doctors and abortion rights experts.


Pratigya Campaign: overcoming access barriers to safe abortion in India

Pratigya Campaign: overcoming access barriers to safe abortion in India

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Mar 30, 2020

This blog post was written before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Women’s ability to access safe and legal abortion is restricted in law or in practice in many countries around the world. As a result, tens of thousands of women die every year due to the complications arising from unsafe abortion. Access to safe abortion is not just a basic reproductive right, but also an integral part of a woman’s bodily autonomy and integrity.

In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 (“MTP Act”) allows women to undergo an abortion up to 20 weeks, subject to certain conditions. The legislation is outdated as it has not kept up with the changing discourse on sexual and reproductive rights and advancements in medical technology. It is estimated that 15.6 million abortions take place annually in India[1], however, there are just 60-70,000 providers who can legally provide abortions under the MTP Act[2] which inevitably leads to a considerable number of unsafe abortions.


What It’s Like to Get an Abortion in Idaho

What It's Like to Get an Abortion in Idaho
The closest clinic was more than 6 hours away, so this woman actually went to another state.

by Claire Lampen
Mar 22 2020

Idaho’s abortion policy hasn’t received much stage time in the national debate about reproductive health, but the conservative-led state has, unsurprisingly, some of the more restrictive laws on the books.

Some measures, like one passed in 2018 requiring the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to gather information on abortion-related health complications (exceedingly rare, particularly in the first trimester, when most abortions take place), seem to exist solely to stigmatize the procedure; others, like one proposed but not passed in 2019, seek to punish patients and providers by reclassifying termination as murder. Last year, two Republican representatives tried to repeal the segment of state law that guards people who get abortions and the doctors who perform them against criminal prosecution. They weren’t successful, but the motivating sentiment gives you an idea of the political landscape.


USA – The Harassment We Face as Abortion Storytellers

The Harassment We Face as Abortion Storytellers
In a recent study, 60 percent of abortion storytellers reported experiencing harassment and other negative incidents after sharing their stories.

Mar 5, 2020
Jordyn Close & Paige Alexandria

I had an abortion five years ago when I was 18. Ever since I began sharing my story publicly, I’ve received online harassment and death threats—and I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

My name is Jordyn Close, and I’m an abortion storyteller.


Thailand – End stigma of abortion

End stigma of abortion

published : 4 Mar 2020

Abortion has long been a highly stigmatised issue in Thailand given that it is considered "sinful" under Buddhist beliefs. Unsafe abortion at illegal clinics has remained an open secret for years.

However, calls for the legalisation of abortion have not been supported by lawmakers mostly due to religious concerns. Sadly, women and girls with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies have been deprived of their right to choose what they want to do with their bodies and their future.