Ireland: Amnesty refuses to pay back cash linked to abortion repeal

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Amnesty refuses to pay back cash linked to abortion repeal

Michael Cogley, Ireland Reporter
December 9 2017, 12:01am, The Times

Amnesty International Ireland may face a criminal investigation for refusing to return money donated by a fund backed by the philanthropist George Soros.

The human rights organisation has been told to pay back €137,000 from Open Society Foundations, to ensure that Ireland’s abortion laws comply with human rights, by the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo). Amnesty has been campaigning for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Continued at source: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/amnesty-refuses-to-pay-back-cash-linked-to-abortion-repeal-3fxbxgmrm

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BRAZIL – Developments regarding Amendment No.181 banning abortion

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BRAZIL – Developments regarding Amendment No.181 banning abortion
Nov 24, 2017

Amendment No.181, a provision to include protection of life from conception to the text of the Constitution of Brazil, was approved by the Special Commission of the Chamber of Deputies on 8 November. It would criminalize abortion under all circumstances. Since it was passed by 18 men to 1 woman, the mobilization against the measure has been intense. A few days ago, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, declared the amendment would not pass in the Congress. An article in Folha de São Paulo argued that the President intends to keep spirits appeased inside the Chamber, due to his hopes of being re-elected in 2018. Debating abortion could create negative consequences for him. On the other hand, Maia is from a conservative party and has joined with religious groups inside the Chamber many times, under the pro-family/pro-life flags. The stakes are high and even with his strategy of stalling the processing of the amendment, the scenario is frightening and his position remains ambiguous.

Very shortly after the Commission’s vote, the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, instead of opposing the measure as regressive, published an editorial proposing to hold a referendum – to resolve the matter via public opinion, thus ignoring the right to abortion as a human rights issue and giving it the status of something that has to pass popular scrutiny. If there were to be a referendum, the odds would not be in favour of women, as the capacity to mobilise public opinion is much greater for conservative religious sectors, who own TV and radio channels and who receive generous international funding and resources in Brazil.

Subsequently, however, members of the Congress have been overwhelmed by a stream of public statements and opinion pieces in the main news and media channels, depicting this measure as absurd. The solidarity letter of the Special Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago, Chile on 9 November 2017 garnered 341 signatures by 18 November.

Then a Joint Note by UN agencies – UNFPA, UN Women, Pan American Health Organization (WHO) and the OHCHR Regional Office for South America – was published on 20 November. It expressed grave concern that the measure, if passed, would create a great risk to the health and lives of women and girls.

The feminist movement has been leading the debate, as political pressure is paramount and it has been expressed and supported on many different fronts: social media, newspapers, the streets, press releases, and more. There were rallies in 24 cities in the country on 13 November, including as many as 7-10,000 people in São Paulo alone. In addition, Amnesty International was able to gather 40,000 signatures in a call to action and Avaaz, with its first petition related to abortion, obtained over 100,000 signatures. This is all the fruit of joint organizing and resistance by progressive sectors of civil society, gathered together in the Frente Nacional Contra a Criminalização das Mulheres e pela Legalização do Aborto (National Front against the Criminalization of Women and for the Legalization of Abortion), who lobbied extensively with parliamentarians in order to bring all our reasons why this amendment must not pass into the public debate.

On 21 November, another demonstration took place in Brasilia, the day the Special Commission was due to start reviewing amendments to the amendment banning abortion. Without hesitation, women went into the streets once more (photos) and reached out to allies and potential allies in both houses of the Congress, as well as its President. Our Congressional allies started to pay more attention and said they would attend the Special Commission in order to dispute the terms of the amendment. This signaled to the Special Commission that this amendment must be discussed thoroughly and cannot be decided by an empty Chamber. The review was postponed until 22 November, and the Commission is expected to return to debating the amendment next week. In the meantime, we will seek to mobilize in the context of the International Days against Violence against Women around 25 November. In a desperate counter-measure, a Republican Party congressman tabled four proposals to curtail feminist advances and to increase the penalty for all parties involved in an abortion procedure. Meanwhile, the feminist movement has been targeted by far-right conservative and religious sectors on social media, but this is not new.

Abortion is a subject at the centre of the tension between conservative and progressive sectors. With the rise in the number of seats occupied by religious legislators, it has become a minefield, widening the terms of the dispute from abortion to embrace any subject related to discrimination and gender equality, such as confessional religious education, and attempts to prohibit discussion of gender identity in schools and elsewhere by evoking “family values” as the basis of opposition.

The risk is that although ideologically the progressive parties agree with and support the right to abortion, the electoral situation may jeopardize their rightist alliances, which are part of their voter base. Further, the rightist parties are being contacted by the right to try to find ways to reach and influence the House President Maia. He is key in the upcoming progress of the amendment as soon as it leaves the Special Commission. While he has declared the amendment will not pass, he is also inclined to the right as he and his party have joined forces with the most religious sectors.

Thanks from the movement in Brazil to everyone who signed the solidarity letter and the petitions! We received 390 signatures, which were sent to allied congressmen and to the Frente Nacional Contra a Criminalização das Mulheres e pela Legalização do Aborto (National Front against the Criminalization of Women and for the Legalization of Abortion).

SOURCE: E-mail/photos from Angela de Freitas and Rajnia Rodrigues, Sexuality Policy Watch, 22 November 2017

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Source: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/brazil-developments-regarding-amendment-no-181-banning-abortion/

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Crucial vote in Brazil could lead to ban on abortion for rape victims

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Crucial vote in Brazil could lead to ban on abortion for rape victims
Karla Mendes
November 21, 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More pregnant women could die in Brazil if it passes a law banning all abortions on Tuesday, including in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is in danger, critics said.
Women’s rights activist protest against a bill to ban abortion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 13, 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Karla Mendes

Thousands of women took to Brazil’s streets earlier this month to protest against the bill, which is supported by increasingly influential evangelical Christian groups.

Continued at source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-abortion-rights/crucial-vote-in-brazil-could-lead-to-ban-on-abortion-for-rape-victims-idUSKBN1DL2FU

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Does it Matter if Abortion Is Legal?

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Does it Matter if Abortion Is Legal?
A new book warns that even with Roe v. Wade intact, the procedure is still effectively banned in some places.

By Rebecca Grant
November 8, 2017

In 2013, 22-year old Beatriz Garcia found herself in the middle of the global abortion debate, a symbol and a lightning rod for what happens when a woman who lives in a country with a total abortion ban faces a life-threatening pregnancy.
.....
Michelle Oberman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, opens her new book Her Body, Our Laws: On the Front Lines of the Abortion Wars, From El Salvador to Oklahoma, with Beatriz’s story. The case gives grounding to this ambitious book, which looks at the effects of abortion restrictions in Latin America and the United States. Oberman has spent her career studying the murky ethical waters of pregnancy and motherhood. She’s done research about pregnant women who abuse drugs and written two books about mothers who have killed their children. Her mission with this book is not to argue whether or not abortion should be legal, but to interrogate the impact of laws that restrict it.

Continued at source: https://newrepublic.com/article/145700/matter-abortion-legal

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Supreme Court examines NI abortion law appeal

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Supreme Court examines NI abortion law appeal

25 October 2017

A barrister has claimed that Northern Ireland's abortion legislation has "saved 100,000 lives". He was speaking for the Christian Action and Research in Education (CARE), on the second day of an appeal relating to the laws.

Supreme Court judges are being asked to consider whether the existing rules breach a woman's human rights.

A lawyer for Amnesty International challenged the figure put forward by CARE's legal representative.

Continued at source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-41743629

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Supreme court to hear challenge to Northern Ireland abortion law

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Supreme court to hear challenge to Northern Ireland abortion law

Amnesty International among organisations and individuals bringing case on human rights grounds

Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent
Monday 23 October 2017

The supreme court will this week hear a case to overturn the restrictions on abortions in Northern Ireland on the grounds that the laws breach human rights.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) failed at the court of appeal in June to convince judges that the rights of victims of sexual assault and women with fatal foetal abnormalities are violated because they cannot terminate their pregnancies in the country.

Continued at source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/23/supreme-court-to-hear-challenge-to-northern-ireland-abortion-law

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Beatriz, Who Brought El Salvador’s Abortion Ban to the World Stage, Dies Following Motorcycle Accident

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Beatriz, Who Brought El Salvador’s Abortion Ban to the World Stage, Dies Following Motorcycle Accident

Oct 11, 2017
Kathy Bougher

"Beatriz was our friend, a warrior, who never stopped fighting for her life," said the local feminist group Agrupacion Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto, in a statement.

Beatriz Garcia, whose fight against El Salvador’s draconian prohibitions on abortion moved the country—and the world—in 2013, died October 8 from complications after a motorcycle accident a few days prior.

Garcia, who chose to be known only as “Beatriz” during her struggle to interrupt her life-threatening pregnancy in 2013, suffered from the autoimmune disease discoid systemic lupus erythematosus, which was aggravated by lupus nephritis, an incurable disease that affects multiple organs. According to the Salvadoran Institute of Forensic Medicine, the lupus, combined with a case of hospital-acquired pneumonia, ultimately led to her death.

Continued at source: Rewire: https://rewire.news/article/2017/10/11/beatriz-brought-el-salvadors-abortion-ban-world-stage-dies-following-motorcycle-accident/

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El Salvador: What women’s lives are like when abortion is a crime

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What women's lives are like when abortion is a crime

By Alice Driver
Thu October 5, 2017

Story highlights
Alice Driver: Passage of a recent bill in the House of Representatives shows that for some Republicans, criminalizing abortion is a priority. If Americans want to know what women's lives are like in a country where abortion is a crime, they should listen to women in El Salvador, she writes

(CNN)During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously said that there should be "some form of punishment" for abortion. Although he later tried to walk these remarks back, he and his mostly male fellow Republicans have quietly been making headway since he took office on an agenda to make sure women have as few options as possible for reproductive choice and education, including limited access to birth control and the preventative care offered by Planned Parenthood.

Continued at source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/05/opinions/united-states-el-salvador-abortion-prison-driver-opinion/index.html

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No prosecution risk for Northern Ireland medical staff over abortion referrals

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No prosecution risk for Northern Ireland medical staff over abortion referrals
Medical professionals told they will not face prosecution if they refer women to clinics in England and Wales for abortions

Amelia Gentleman
Thursday 7 September 2017

Medical staff in Northern Ireland have been told they will not face prosecution if they refer women to clinics in England and Wales for abortions, a development that campaigners say will ease the climate of fear under which many have been operating.

In a significant clarification of the law, the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Barra McGrory, has said he does “not see the issue of criminal liability arising in the context of NHS staff advising or informing patients of the availability of abortion services in England and Wales”.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/sep/07/no-prosecution-risk-for-northern-ireland-medical-staff-over-abortion-referrals

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‘A triumph of reason’: Chile approves landmark bill to ease abortion ban

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'A triumph of reason': Chile approves landmark bill to ease abortion ban

Campaigners hail President Michelle Bachelet’s bill legalising abortion in some circumstances as a victory that opens the way for possible further liberalisation

Piotr Kozak in Santiago
Tuesday 22 August 2017

The decision by Chile’s constitutional court to approve a bill that will allow abortion in some circumstances has been hailed as “a triumph of reason and an act of justice” by campaigners.

The legislation, a victory for the centre-left president, Michelle Bachelet, will allow abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, in case of rape and when a foetus is not viable.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/aug/22/chile-abortion-bill-michelle-bachelet-a-triumph-of-reason-ease-abortion-ban

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