USA – Abortion ‘reversal’: the latest sham from anti-choice activists trying to end women’s rights

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USA – Abortion ‘reversal’: the latest sham from anti-choice activists trying to end women’s rights

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Aug 18, 2017

For years, the US anti-abortion movement has promoted various falsehoods, e.g. that women regret their abortions. Now, some of them are claiming that an unproven treatment can counter the effect of mifepristone, the first pill used in the two-drug regimen of medical abortion, thereby giving women a “second chance” to keep their baby. Despite the hype, there is no evidence that flooding the body with progesterone – a hormone pregnant patients already have a lot of – increases the chance of continuing the pregnancy. In fact, in the extremely rare case that a patient changes their mind before taking the second pill, watchful waiting and inaction appears to be just as effective.

Use of medical abortion pills has steadily risen in the US, now representing almost half of all abortions. Medical abortion has the potential to radically transform the way patients access and experience abortion by moving it out of a clinic and more directly into the hands of the user. It also challenges the anti-abortion movement’s long-standing strategy of demonizing clinicians who do surgical abortions and the instruments they use.

In an independent clinic in North Carolina, a woman who counsels 20-40 patients a week on medical abortion, said that over the past five years since she has been working at the clinic, she has seen only one patient express remorse immediately after swallowing the mifepristone pill. She and the clinic staff helped the young woman to vomit the medication and counselled her on what to do if she began to abort. They did hear from the woman again: one week later when she came back to the clinic for a surgical abortion.

This article  was written in response to an article in the New York Times about so-called abortion pill reversal. The NY Times article is a long, detailed history of the changes in anti-abortion tactics in the USA over a long period of time, opening with the story of a very religious woman who got pregnant with someone who was not the partner she wanted, sought an abortion though it was against her beliefs, and after taking mifepristone, decided it was a mistake. Through a web search she came across an anti-abortion group who oppose the use of medical abortion pills and claimed the effect can be cancelled out by taking progesterone. This claim is based on the experience of only four women whose pregnancies might well have continued anyway. But that has not stopped several anti-abortion state legislatures in the US from passing laws requiring that women be told that “reversal” is possible.

Women who take the mifepristone pill, regret the decision and seek “reversal” are in fact very few and far between. But the anti-abortion view, as explained by Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University, is that peddling “reversal” is worth it “even if the laws are eventually struck down or the protocol turns out to be ineffective. Just raising the question of uncertainty and regret affects the abortion pill’s reputation. You’re changing… what people think about this kind of abortion. You can do that regardless of what the research ultimately shows.’’

In other words, if you tell people the same lie often enough, they may believe you.

SOURCES: The Guardian, by Renee Bracey Sherman, Daniel Grossman, 2 August 2017 ; New York Times, by Ruth Graham, 18 July 2017 ; VISUAL

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/usa-abortion-reversal-the-latest-sham-from-anti-choice/

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Chile abortion bill: ‘My pregnancy was torture’

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Chile abortion bill: 'My pregnancy was torture'

By Jane Chambers Santiago
17 August 2017

Paola Valenzuela was 40 years old when she found out she was pregnant with her second child.

"My husband and I were so excited about having another child and my son, who was nine at the time, was very happy about the idea of having a little brother," she recalls.

But when she went for her first scan, Ms Valenzuela was told the foetus was not developing properly. "It was a terrible blow for all of us," she says.

Continued at source: BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40937771

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Ireland: ‘Our reproductive health laws have come to the attention of the UN Torture Committee’

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'Our reproductive health laws have come to the attention of the UN Torture Committee'

Ireland’s abortion laws are cruel, inhuman, degrading and discriminatory, writes Niall Behan.

Aug 4, 2017
Niall Behan CEO, Irish Family Planning Association

WHEN THE INTERNATIONAL experts on the United Nations Convention Against Torture reviewed Ireland last week, one of their principal areas of concern was reproductive coercion.

Felice Gaer, the Committee’s Vice-Chair and its longest serving member, grilled the state delegation about Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution—the Eighth Amendment—and the ways in which a woman’s right to informed consent and bodily autonomy during pregnancy and childbirth are affected by this provision.

And she had many questions about what she termed “this serious, difficult subject in Ireland of abortion”.

Continued at link: The Journal: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/our-reproductive-health-laws-have-come-to-the-attention-of-the-un-torture-committee-3526954-Aug2017/

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Nicaragua: Abortion Ban Threatens Health and Lives

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Nicaragua: Abortion Ban Threatens Health and Lives
Publisher: Human Rights Watch
Publication Date: 31 July 2017

Nicaragua's total ban on abortion is putting women and girls' health and lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The country's 2006 law punishing abortion - without any exceptions, even if pregnancies are life-threatening or resulted from rape - has driven abortions underground. The ban has not stopped abortion, but has made it more unsafe.

Women and girls with crisis pregnancies are getting unsafe clandestine abortions. Often too afraid to seek medical care when complications arise from such abortions, some women and girls delay seeking care and do not disclose to doctors the cause of complications. Medical providers, caught in a conflict between the law and medical ethics, have reported women and girls to police for suspected abortions. Under Nicaragua's criminal code, women and girls who terminate pregnancies face sentences of

Continued at source: Ref World: http://www.refworld.org/docid/597f3e094.html

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Ireland: Anti-abortion groups to display graphic images at protests

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Anti-abortion groups to display graphic images at protests
Displays due to take place on Dame Street in Dublin, and Belfast and Manchester airports

Sat, Jul 29, 2017
Paul Cullen

Anti-abortion groups plan to display graphic images of aborted babies at events in Dublin, Belfast and Manchester today.

Three groups say they are organising “public education displays” in response to the recent decision of the British government to pay for abortions for Northern Irish women travelling to England.

Continued at source: Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/anti-abortion-groups-to-display-graphic-images-at-protests-1.3171304

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US anti-abortion group quietly fights bid to end El Salvador’s draconian ban

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US anti-abortion group quietly fights bid to end El Salvador's draconian ban

- Human Life International has been directing funds to El Salvador since 2000
-Thousands of women have been denied abortions even in cases of rape

Molly Redden and Nina Lakhani

Thursday 27 July 2017

El Salvador’s absolute ban on abortion – long considered one of the world’s most ruthless – is facing its greatest challenge in years. Buoyed by shifting public attitudes, reproductive rights activists are making headway on a bill to loosen the law for victims of rape and human trafficking, women carrying nonviable pregnancies, and women who risk death or illness.

But support for keeping the ban is formidable – and may have an outside source of help: a US-based anti-abortion group that has quietly funneled funds to El Salvador’s main advocates for the ban.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/el-salvador-abortion-ban-human-life-international

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US: Dear Secretary Tillerson: This is Why I Had to Resign

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Dear Secretary Tillerson: This is Why I Had to Resign

By: Varina Winder
July 25, 2017

On my first day at the State Department, nearly six years ago, I cried. Standing in a bare-bones conference room under an American flag, I choked up with pride as I repeated the oath of office:

“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Six years later, I cried again when I walked out the State Department door one last time. Only this time, those tears were for the loss of American leadership, and the needless, tragic deaths of far too many women and children under the heartless policies of the Trump administration.

Continued at source: Womens e-news: http://womensenews.org/2017/07/dear-secretary-tillerson-this-is-why-i-had-to-resign/

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Sierra Leone: teenage girls are dying from unsafe abortions and risky pregnancies

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Sierra Leone: teenage girls are dying from unsafe abortions and risky pregnancies


Abortion is illegal in Sierra Leone, with one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world. Attitudes need to change to save the lives of young girls

Hannah Mitchell
Thursday 20 July 2017

I recently saw a girl in clinic with terrible complications following a caesarean section. The operation had been botched and she had an infection around her uterus. She was in terrible pain and critically unwell. This was in the children’s clinic; the girl was 14 years old.

This scenario is all too common. She is just one of the thousands of adolescent girls estimated to have become pregnant this year in Sierra Leone. In 2013 the country had the 7th highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world, 38% of women aged 20-24 had their first baby before the age of 18. Sierra Leone is by no means an exception. Worldwide teenage pregnancy is a huge issue, 11% of births globally are to women aged 15-19, with the majority of these taking place in low- and middle-income countries.

Continued at The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jul/20/teen-pregnancy-sierra-leone-involve-men

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MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE: Young Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years for miscarriage

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MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE: Young Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years for miscarriage

July 7, 2017

On 27 June we reported in the Campaign newsletter that a young girl, Evelyn Beatriz, at the age of 18, was the victim of rape in her community and became pregnant without realising it. She miscarried the pregnancy, without even having realised she was pregnant. When she went to the hospital for care, it was treated as suspicious and she was taken away to prison and charged. She was so frightened by everything that happened to her that she did not report the rape to anyone.

The case was heard yesterday, on 5 July. Her defence called for the case to be dismissed because she was innocent of any wrongdoing and there was no evidence that she had killed the baby. However, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for “aggravated homicide” by the Tribunal de Sentencia de Cojutepeque.

Her defence team, Bertha María Deleón and Dennis Muñoz, expressed their disagreement with the ruling. They described it as “lacking technical arguments and based on prejudice”. They said “it was determined without taking into account that two expert witnesses, one in charge of the autopsy and the other in charge of the pathology study, pointed out that they had found the presence of meconium in the bronchia of the baby and this could have caused its death”. They also mentioned an irregularity that existed in the process, to do with contamination of the scene – that the police had washed the baby before it was examined by the Medecina Legal (Legal Medicine).

They said they will appeal the ruling and take it up to the Supreme Court of El Salvador if necessary.

This is only one of many other cases of women in El Salvador, mostly young and very poor, who have been sent to prison on such charges with little or no evidence. All over Latin America, women’s movement groups are condemning the courts whose judgements in El Salvador create an injustice through the lifelong sentences they are imposing on innocent young women like Evelyn Beatriz without just cause.

This court judgement is a gross violation of justice and of the human rights of all women who have miscarriages and stillbirths, for which they should never be held responsible in any form, and particularly not criminally responsible. We call on the government of El Salvador to pass legislation that will prevent women being sent to prison in this manner. We also call on them to decriminalize abortion, because it is the criminal law on abortion that the police and judges are confusing here and as a result are criminalizing any delivery of a pregnancy that does not result in a live birth. Lastly, we urge the human rights system in Latin America to offer to the government of El Salvador to provide the police and judges with training in these medical issues if they are going to continue to be forced to hear cases in which they have no medical expertise or background. This trial, like others before it, shows that the realities of women’s reproductive health matters, whether miscarriages, stillbirths or induced abortions, do not belong in a criminal court.

We are ready to organise international solidarity at the request of the movement in El Salvador.

SOURCES: Reportaje en español: http://www.elsalvador.com/noticias/nacional/370385/joven-condenada-a-30-anos-por-homicidio/, por Stanley Luna, 5 July 2017

For an in-depth analysis of all the cases in El Salvador like this one, see: Pregnancy and the 40-Year prison sentence: How “abortion Is murder” became institutionalized in the Salvadoran judicial system, by Jocelyn Viterna and José Santos Guardado Bautista, Health and Human Rights, June 2017, at: https://cdn2.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2017/06/Viterna.pdf

For responses on Twitter from the women’s groups in El Salvador who have supported Evelyn Beatriz and all the women in prison like her, see: https://twitter.com/Unaflorporlas17/status/882723644660756480 and https://twitter.com/AbortoPORlaVIDA

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/miscarriage-of-justice-young-salvadoran-woman-sentenced-to-30-years-for-miscarriage/

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Poland limits access to morning-after pill

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Poland limits access to morning-after pill

June 26, 2017
By Beata Stur

A new law in Poland restricts access to emergency contraception and will have a “catastrophic impact on rape survivors,” warned a leading human rights organisation.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on June 23 approved legislation that will end prescription-free access to the morning-after pill. The new law comes into effect next month.

“We consider it as another blow to women’s rights, and will affect teenagers and those in remote rural areas, and will have a particularly catastrophic impact on rape survivors,” said Draginja Nadazdin, director of Amnesty International in Poland, in a statement issued on June 25.

Continued at link: New Europe: https://www.neweurope.eu/article/poland-limits-access-morning-pill/

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