COVID-19 exposed how women continue to be ‘disproportionately affected in society’

COVID-19 exposed how women continue to be 'disproportionately affected in society'

Giulia Magri
Sunday, 31 May 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, both locally and on a global scale, how women continue to be disproportionately affected; whether with regard to violence, losing their jobs, or not gaining full accessibility to the contraceptive pill, women’s rights activist and lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

“In the ideal post-COVID-19 reality, authorities need to stop throwing the word equality around. Policymakers need to truly see how women are being affected and ensure that the required change takes place. We need to be practical and listen to one another if we genuinely want to reach equality. Women are suffering and I believe that sexual reproductive rights are an integral part of women’s rights and we need to acknowledge that.”

Continued: https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-05-31/local-news/COVID-19-exposed-how-women-continue-to-be-disproportionately-affected-in-society-6736223695


India – Abortion During Pandemic: Whose Crime Is It Anyway?

Abortion During Pandemic: Whose Crime Is It Anyway?

This article has been collectively written by members of NGOs working on safe abortion advocacy.
May 30, 2020

On 12th May 2020, mainstream newspapers reported that an abortion pill overdose allegedly resulted in a woman’s death in Mumbai. Her husband, in-laws, family doctor, husband’s friend and the medical representative who supplied the pills have all been booked under Section 314 of the Indian Penal Code as well as Sections 4 and 5(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. While the police were prompt in responding to the complaint of foul play, the news items raise some questions about the process of investigation, reporting as well as the restrictions on pregnant persons’ access to the healthcare services they need, especially in the context of the current pandemic crisis.

To begin with, it is not clear from the report how the conclusion about “overdose” of medical abortion pills was reached. Autopsy reports usually indicate the cause of death in terms of the complication or physical condition which led to death; in this case it was excessive bleeding. The reports do not mention whether the autopsy was followed by further investigations that suggested drug overdose. Moreover, there is no mention of whether the woman’s medical history was explored to rule out any other contributing cause or complication.

Continued: https://feminisminindia.com/2020/05/30/abortion-whose-crime-anyway/


USA – Coronavirus pandemic is fueling efforts to increase access to abortion pills

Coronavirus pandemic is fueling efforts to increase access to abortion pills

Marie McCullough - The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
May 29, 2020

The pandemic is helping U.S. abortion-rights advocates achieve a long-standing goal: Make it easier for women to use pills to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks.

Federal and state regulations have restricted access to “medication abortion” ever since the Food and Drug Administration approved it two decades ago. Nonetheless, use of the two-drug regimen has grown steadily, accounting for at least 40% of all abortions, even as the national abortion rate has fallen to historic lows, data show.

Continued: https://www.readingeagle.com/living/health/coronavirus-pandemic-is-fueling-efforts-to-increase-access-to-abortion-pills/article_7e9ee4b3-0d65-5160-8d96-481d14e7ee63.html


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


Kenya – Menstruation, sex, and abortion do not stop for pandemics

Menstruation, sex, and abortion do not stop for pandemics
Comprehensive access and uptake of the above care and services will ensure we are not fighting another pandemic post-coronavirus.

by ALVIN MWANGI, Star Blogs
28 May 2020

With the rise in the number of coronavirus infections in the country, the health system risks being over-stretched to levels that the Ministry of Health might not contain.

Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi has said the government is concerned with reports that many Kenyans have stopped going to hospitals for fear of contracting Covid-19. Among the affected services is reproductive health.

Continued: https://www.the-star.co.ke/opinion/star-blogs/2020-05-28-menstruation-sex-and-abortion-do-not-stop-for-pandemics/


Thai pro-choice activists push for tele-medicine abortion pills during COVID-19 outbreak

Thai pro-choice activists push for tele-medicine abortion pills during COVID-19 outbreak

by Teirra Kamolvattanavith
May 28, 2020

Despite an increase in unplanned pregnancies in Thailand, safe access to legal abortion has diminished amidst the pandemic. The groups believe tele-medicine could be a solution especially for women in remote areas.

On Friday May 15, choose network Thailand, 55 other civil society organizations and 559 petitioners handed in a letter to the Department of Health, to demand for measures to ensure women can access safe abortions during the pandemic and in the future.

In a country where safe and legal abortions are available — most women with unplanned pregnancies resort to unsafe procedures due to many reasons including social stigma, lack of information and access to safe facilities.

Continued: https://thisrupt.co/videos/thai-pro-choice-activists-push-for-tele-medicine-abortion-pills-during-covid-19-outbreak/


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/


United Nations: U.S. Authorities manipulating COVID-19 crisis to restrict access to abortion, say UN experts

United States: Authorities manipulating COVID-19 crisis to restrict access to abortion, say UN experts

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
May 27, 2020

GENEVA (27 May 2020) ­– UN experts* said today that some US states appear to be manipulating the COVID-19 crisis to curb access to essential abortion care.

The UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls said COVID-19 emergency orders suspending procedures not deemed immediately medically necessary had been used by states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee to restrict access to abortion.

Continued: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25907&LangID=E


USA – New Lawsuit Challenges FDA Restriction That Imposes Life-Threatening Risks on Patients Seeking Abortion and Miscarriage Care

New Lawsuit Challenges FDA Restriction That Imposes Life-Threatening Risks on Patients Seeking Abortion and Miscarriage Care
ACLU, leading medical experts and reproductive justice advocates ask court to block FDA restriction that subjects patients and clinicians to needless COVID-19 risk

May 27, 2020

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit today on behalf of a coalition of medical experts led by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The legal action challenges a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that subjects patients to unnecessary COVID-19 risks as a condition of receiving a medication used for early abortion and miscarriage treatment.

Continued: https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/new-lawsuit-challenges-fda-restriction-imposes-life-threatening-risks-patients


Africa – Protecting Rights of Women

Protecting Rights of Women

26/05/2020
Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry
Amnesty International Regional Director for West and Central Africa

Sir,

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world causing untold suffering and misery. Millions of people, particularly the elderly, have fallen critically ill; and thousands more, including health workers, have died after contracting the deadly virus.
....
Women, to a large extent, are more adversely affected than men by the crisis due to existing patriarchal norms and deep-rooted inequalities. They bear the heaviest burden of the outbreak because in their traditional roles as mothers and wives, they are responsible for ensuring that life goes on even as everything around them is falling apart.

Continued: http://www.times.co.sz/letters/128416-protecting-rights-of-women.html