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


An Abortion Doula On Canada’s Problematic Lack Of Access

Sarah Ratchford
Last Updated July 28, 2020

As an abortion doula, Shannon Hardy spends her days driving people to appointments or taking care of them afterwards. That all changed when the pandemic started. Sharing a car with a stranger, not to mention helping them convalesce, has been out of the question since COVID-19, leaving many without access to this crucial healthcare service.

Getting an abortion in Atlantic Canada, where Hardy lives, was a challenge even before coronavirus. Though abortions have been decriminalized in Canada since 1988, provinces have jurisdiction over access. As a result, where and at what point in a pregnancy you can get an abortion is influenced by the local political climate, and varies widely. Mifegymiso, the pill that induces what's called a medical abortion, is available and covered by provincial healthcare, but not every doctor will prescribe it. In some places, there's access to surgical abortions, but parts or all of it are not covered or you have to pay up front and seek reimbursement afterward.

Continued: https://www.refinery29.com/en-ca/abortion-doula-canada-access


USA – Despite Supreme Court Win, Abortion Rights Are Still Not Safe

Attacks on reproductive freedom have the greatest effect on communities that already face significant barriers to accessing health care.

Jul 20, 2020
Kirsten Gillibrand

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the implementation of a law that would have left just one clinic and one doctor authorized to perform abortions in Louisiana, a state of more than 4.5 million people and 50,000 square miles.

Even though four justices ignored the Court’s own precedent, the ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo gave reproductive health, rights, and justice supporters across the country the chance to breathe a sigh of relief. But as we began leafing through the pages of the opinions, cracks started to appear, reminding us that our freedom remains up for grabs and our fight is nowhere near over.

Continued: https://rewire.news/article/2020/07/20/despite-supreme-court-win-abortion-rights-are-still-not-safe/


Kenya is having another go at passing a reproductive rights bill. What’s at stake

July 12, 2020
Anthony Idowu Ajayi, Meggie Mwoka

Kenya’s Senate is considering a reproductive healthcare bill, which seeks to address reproductive health gaps. This is the second time the bill has come before the senate. It has, once again, drawn fire from religious groups, some politicians and civil society lobbies opposed to its proposals. Anthony Ajayi and Meggie Mwoka unpack the bill and the lessons from previous failed attempts.

What is the substance of the bill?

Kenyan women and girls face an array of reproductive health risks that can be addressed by comprehensive reproductive health care services. These include sexually transmitted infections, HIV, unsafe abortion and unplanned pregnancies.

Continued: https://theconversation.com/kenya-is-having-another-go-at-passing-a-reproductive-rights-bill-whats-at-stake-142387


Supreme Court says employers may opt out of Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate over religious, moral objections

Supreme Court ruling may cause tens of thousands to lose birth control coverage

By Robert Barnes

July 8, 2020

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may allow employers and universities to opt out of the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide contraceptive care because of religious or moral objections.

The issue has been at the heart of an intense legal
battle for nine years — first with the Obama administration sparring with
religious organizations who said offering contraceptive care to their employees
violated their beliefs, and then with the Trump administration broadening an
exemption, angering women’s groups, health organizations and Democratic-led
states.


US Supreme Court Undercuts Access To Birth Control Under Obamacare

July 8, 2020
Nina Totenberg

The U.S. Supreme Court has made it more difficult for women to get access to birth control as part of their health plans if their employer has religious or moral objections to contraceptives.

The opinion upheld a Trump administration rule that significantly cut back on the Affordable Care Act requirement that insurers provide free birth control coverage as part of almost all health care plans.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/08/884104509/supreme-court-undercuts-access-to-birth-control-under-obamacare


Doctors accused of blocking abortions in Northern Ireland despite legalisation

Doctors accused of blocking abortions in Northern Ireland despite legalisation
Patients forced to buy pills online or go overseas for terminations

Lucy Mansfield
Published on Sat 13 Jun 2020

Women seeking abortions in Northern Ireland are still struggling to access services. Although abortion was legalised more than two months ago, claims persist that healthcare professionals are refusing to treat patients.

A leading reproductive rights group and a doctors’ organisation say that GPs are refusing to refer pregnant women to hospital services so they can access the tablets needed to undergo a medical abortion. They are also aware of midwives and nurses refusing to care for patients before and after the procedure.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/13/doctors-accused-of-blocking-abortions-in-northern-ireland-despite-legalisation


Abortion ‘doulas’ in Chile risk prison, saying women need their help

Abortion 'doulas' in Chile risk prison, saying women need their help
“We are doing this because the law is insufficient."

May 28, 2020
By Liam Miller

SANTIAGO, Chile — The woman anxiously removes the SIM card from the cheap cellphone and cuts the chip into pieces before sweeping the fragments into the trash. When her nerves pass, she allows herself a small sigh of relief.

Despite using a "burner" phone like those associated with drug deals in TV crime series, this woman is using it for a different purpose. A college-educated professional, she's one of several women in a group of abortion "doulas," part of a clandestine network willing to break the law and face prison to help women obtain abortions, as long as it's medically safe to do so.

Continued: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/abortion-doulas-chile-risk-prison-saying-women-need-their-help-n1154506


N. Ireland: Now that abortion is legal, services need to be available across the region

Goretti Horgan: Now that abortion is legal, services need to be available across the region

26 May, 2020
Goretti Horgan

THE redrafted regulations governing the provision of abortion in the north of Ireland were laid at Westminster on Wednesday May 13.

These regulations have been described as "extreme". In fact, they are not at all extreme but mirror the recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly in the south in relation to the kind of abortion law that should be available.

Continued: https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2020/05/26/news/goretti-horgan-now-that-abortion-is-legal-services-need-to-be-available-across-the-region-1951500/


In Poland, Abortion Access Worsens Amid Pandemic

In Poland, Abortion Access Worsens Amid Pandemic
Abortions were already difficult to obtain and then came the coronavirus.

By Jessica Bateman, Marta Kasztelan
May 1, 2020

The woman was 21 weeks pregnant when she contacted Abortion Without Borders (AWB), a network of activist groups that advises Polish women on how to access safe terminations. Normally, it would have been relatively simple to book a flight to the United Kingdom, where she could legally access a second-trimester abortion. But the coronavirus outbreak changed everything.

“We got her an appointment, but travel was a different matter,” said Mara Clarke, the founder of Abortion Support Network (ASN), which is part of AWB and helps women obtain abortions overseas. Poland closed its borders and grounded all flights and cross-border public transportation on March 15, meaning the woman would have had to travel to the German border, cross it, and take a train to one of Berlin’s airports.

Continued: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/01/poland-abortion-access-worsens-coronavirus-pandemic/