(Podcast, 13 minutes) How The US Went From Advocate to Obstructionist
March 6, 2020
This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in one of the most consequential abortion cases in decades. Meanwhile, next week brings world leaders to the United Nations — if coronavirus doesn’t intervene — to mark 25 years since reproductive rights were enshrined in international law. It happened in 1995 at the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Since then, the US has exchanged its role as a prominent advocate for women’s rights for one that aims to obstruct international agreements that uphold them. Jessica Glenza, who covers health for The Guardian, has the story of how the Trump administration is seeking to re-write international norms about “women’s health,” “women’s rights,” and “gender equality” by seeking to erase those very words. She speaks with Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Sigrid Kaag, minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, about what the changes mean for human rights and health outcomes around the world.
How to Give Yourself an Abortion
January 9, 2020
Posted by Arielle Swernoff
Illustrated by Matt Lubchansky
For as long as people have gotten pregnant, people have given themselves abortions. Historically, these methods have varied from the brutal to the toxic to the bizarre.
But history hasn’t always gotten it wrong. From the Bronze Age until the 1st or 2nd century BCE, silphium, a plant native to Libya, was used as a safe and effective contraceptive and abortifacient. It’s said the plant was so popular that it was harvested to extinction. More recently, enslaved black people in the American South devised numerous herbal treatments to terminate unwanted pregnancies, some of which are still used today.
25 Years of Progress on Women’s Health Is in Danger
Because of course it is.
Words: Serra Sippel
Pictures: UN Women
Date: September 25th, 2019
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and without missing a beat the Trump Administration has pounced on yet another opportunity to renege on US global commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on universal health coverage, which took place on September 23, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary Alex Azar of the US Department of Health and Human Services sent a joint letter to governments asking that they join the US in rejecting longstanding global commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality.
UK announce £600m aid for family planning as US ramps up anti-abortion stance
Sarah Newey, Global Health Security Correspondent
23 September 2019
Britain announced a £600 million aid package for women's sexual and reproductive health and rights at the United Nations on Monday in the face of opposition from the United States.
Alok Sharma, the UK’s International Development Secretary, told delegates the UK would promote and defend “women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights” – despite the Trump administration circulating a letter calling for the phrase to be dropped on the grounds that it was being interpreted as a new international right to abortion.
At U.N., Trump Administration Professes 'No International Right To An Abortion'
September 23, 2019
The Trump administration is calling on U.N. member nations to oppose efforts to promote access to abortion internationally, a move immediately criticized by reproductive rights groups seeking greater access to the services globally.
At a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke on behalf of the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries stating that abortion is not an international human right.
Leaked letter suggests US is rallying UN member states to oppose abortion
Attempt to ‘roll back the clock’ condemned as governments are urged to oppose UN support for reproductive rights
Mon 23 Sep 2019
The US is understood to have written to UN member states urging them to join a “growing coalition” of countries rallying against abortion, in what seems to be the latest attempt by the Trump administration to rollback women’s rights.
A letter, seen by the Guardian, is believed to have been sent to governments deemed sympathetic to the administration’s view on reproductive health.
How Trump's latest efforts to stop abortion increasingly undermine global health
Canada recently committed a record amount toward safe abortion services. Will that be enough to combat the impacts of the US' revised ‘global gag rule’?
By: Urooba Jamal
July 16, 2019
The dilemma for a health organization is hard to fathom.
In 2018, two young women died at the hands of knitting needles and other everyday objects in Kenya, where seven women die each day in an attempt to induce an abortion on their own, bereft of safer options.
Even two years earlier, their deaths might have been prevented. But a local organization that would have previously referred them to abortion provision services was forced to choose between giving sexual and reproductive healthcare advice or signing a “global gag rule” and stopping that program, in order to continue to provide HIV services to its 10,000 clients.
An Update on Abortion Pills From the World Health Organization Undermines How the U.S. Regulates Them
The update may make mifepristone and misoprostol more readily available worldwide. But in the U.S., not much is expected to change.
Jul 15, 2019
Abortion pills should be widely available and affordable, and don't need to be dispensed by highly trained specialists or in specialty facilities, according to a World Health Organization update published last week.
Abortions induced by taking pills are the safest type available. The recommended regimen is two pills, containing the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. The pills work best on early stage pregnancies, around 10 weeks' gestation or less. The WHO has considered mifepristone and misoprostol "essential medicines" since 2005, but in the recent update, WHO experts decided that they had enough scientific evidence to strike the caveat saying the medications require "close medical supervision."
'There are times when the whole country runs out of condoms'
Organisations around the world have been badly hit by Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the so-called global gag rule. Here’s what’s happening in Malawi.
July 13, 2019
Charlotte Ryan reports from Malawi
ANGELA SOUZA CAREFULLY unwraps a large box of condoms, individually packaged in silver foil. There is no branding on each one, though the red-blue-and-white USAID sticker on the side of the box suggests their origin.
In this context, they appear as valuable as silver coins. Rodney Chalera, the programmes manager at the advocacy group where Angela also works in Lilongwe, Malawi, explains that there are times “when the whole country runs out of condoms”. Indeed, by the close of the afternoon, two women had asked for some for the road. Just in case.
Trump's foreign aid policies endanger women, experts say
“If it was done at the end of a gun, it would be denounced before the International Criminal Court,” the U.N. human rights commissioner said.
July 2, 2019
By Linda Givetash
LONDON — Caroline Nyandat will never forget the day she watched a 14-year-old girl die due to complications from an unsafe abortion.
Nyandat, 36, was then completing her training as a nurse midwife in Kisumu, Kenya, when the teen was in need of surgery but suffered from sepsis before doctors in the hospital could react.