Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface

Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface
22 May 2020
Preface, by Marge Berer

Today’s newsletter includes five statements – by the Campaign, an international group of CSOs, and IAWG, IPPF and Ipas – all in response to demands by the US government on the UN and the World Health Organization to omit any language or policy related to abortion and sexual and reproductive health from the Covid-19 response. This issue was not at all the focus of the World Health Assembly (WHA) on 18-19 May, however, as Trump hoped them to be. Instead, the other issues raised in his three letters to the heads of WHO and the UN – got all the attention, as well as a few more.


USA – Research on claims of “abortion pill reversal” stopped early

USA – Research on claims of “abortion pill reversal” stopped early

International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Dec 10, 2019
by Marge Berer

Amongst the seemingly endless anti-abortion efforts to destroy the provision of safe, legal abortion in the USA, has been an unproven claim that it is possible to reverse the abortifacient effects of mifepristone by taking progesterone. As the editor of this newsletter, I decided against reporting this up to now because the only “evidence” put forward (by a handful of anti-abortion doctors in the USA) was and has remained too thin to draw any conclusions from it, based literally on a handful of cases and without a control group. Unfortunately, the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care published the study in December 2017, giving it a veneer of scientific respectability that it did not deserve. Some anti-abortion politicians in the USA, who weren’t apparently concerned about the lack of evidence, put laws through the national legislatures of eight US states requiring doctors to offer “abortion pill reversal” to any woman who had taken mifepristone, but not yet taken the misoprostol 24 hours later (if she changed her mind). I wrote a comment criticising the article, which was published in April 2018: Response to “Progesterone for preventing pregnancy termination after initiation of medical abortion with mifepristone”: what’s the real point here? Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2018 Apr;23 (2):169. The original article was not removed but “corrected”.


Slovakia’s Latest Regressive Abortion Bill Rejected: How Can Regressive Measures Against Women’s Reproductive Rights Be Countered?

Slovakia’s Latest Regressive Abortion Bill Rejected: How Can Regressive Measures Against Women’s Reproductive Rights Be Countered?

8 Dec, 2019
by Adrianne Ramirez
Organization for World Peace

On 5th December, the proposed regressive abortion law in Slovakia was rejected following a Parliamentary vote. The draft legislation required women seeking abortion care to undergo a mandatory ultrasound scanning, to view and obtain the embryo or foetus’ ultrasound image, and where technically possible, to listen to its heartbeat. Furthermore, it sought to prohibit abortion advertising as well as imposing a fine of up to 66,400 EU on those who order or disseminate it. Proposed by a centre-right party in the ruling coalition, it was the latest step in a campaign to tighten restrictions on abortion in Slovakia, in wake of the September protests that demanded a total ban. Though rejected, the mere possibility of this legislation being approved depicts tangible hazards on women’s reproductive rights. Beyond its local implications, it consequently contributes to the recent erosion of these rights worldwide.


Slovakia – in sixth vote – backs abortion rights

Slovakia - in sixth vote - backs abortion rights

December 5, 2019
Molly Millar

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Slovakia narrowly defeated a bill on Thursday that would have forced women seeking an abortion to see images of their unborn child - and hear its heartbeat - in the country’s sixth vote on reproductive rights this year.

The legislation in overwhelmingly Catholic Slovakia would have been the first of its kind in the European Union, raising fears among human rights organizations of setting a precedent in nations pursuing a conservative social agen


Report: International Conference on Population & Development+25

International Conference on Population & Development+25
Nairobi, Kenya, 12-13-14 November 2019

Press Release: 22 November 2019

What was it about: some history

This conference has taken place every five years, beginning in 1994. At each follow-up meeting, the overarching purpose has been to measure progress (and the lack of progress) in implementing the 1994 Programme of Action, which was agreed by acclamation by the representatives of 179 countries, and the follow-up actions added at subsequent conferences. An excellent summary of the aims, goals and history of the conference can be found here and a 20th anniversary edition of the Programme of Action can be found here along with a global report on progress published in 2014.

In 1994, UNFPA, the conference convenor, described the Programme of Action as: “a bold new vision about the relationships between population, development and individual well-being… remarkable in its recognition that [sexual and] reproductive health and reproductive rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes. The Consensus is rooted in principles of human rights and respect for national sovereignty and various religious and cultural backgrounds.


Ireland – Abortion campaigners protest ‘restrictions’ in legislation

Abortion campaigners protest ‘restrictions’ in legislation
Hundreds march through Dublin and call for introduction of safe zones around facilities

Sep 28, 2019
Shauna Bowers

Abortion rights activists marched through Dublin on Saturday to protest against the “restrictions” in the Ireland’s abortion legislation.

The theme of the 8th annual march, which was the first since Ireland legalised abortion in December last year, was “nobody left behind”.


What’s been happening in Ireland & International Women’s Day in Norway

FEATURE: What's been happening in Ireland & International Women’s Day in Norway

International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
18 March 2019

In the midst of the continuing shower of news from all over the world that I share with you, I’ve been collecting stories for a feature on Ireland. This is not a definitive piece, that will come from those who have been on the frontlines, but is based primarily on written information from a few key people and what has been in the media. This history describes an almost unique series of events, and one worth learning from. It’s a story of optimism winning over pessimism, of passionate positive action breaking down out-of-date barriers, and particularly of women’s personal stories, doorstep advocacy, highly visible supportive doctors and policymakers, all working with government to change the mindset of a nation and win a critical mass of support. They successfully created a sea-change in law, policy and service delivery in the blink of an eye. Edited by Marge Berer

The story in a nutshell
It took only seven months from the referendum that repealed the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in May 2018 for the law to be changed, providers trained, methods approved and ordered, and abortion services to become available officially in Ireland on 2 January 2019, free for everyone who is covered by existing schemes, such as the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme.


Developing an Advocacy Agenda for Abortion in the 21st Century and Making Change Happen

Developing an Advocacy Agenda for Abortion in the 21st Century and Making Change Happen

Jan 21, 2019
An International Forum, 5-6-7 September 2018, Lisbon

On 5-7 September 2018, the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion hosted an International Forum in Lisbon, Portugal. The aim of the forum was to bring together thought leaders from around the world to examine synergies and discuss how to move global, regional and national work for the right to safe abortion forward.

Some 100 participants from 54 countries attended the Forum. They were abortion rights advocates, health policymakers and professionals, human rights and legal experts, youth activists, researchers, members of civil society organisations and academics. The combination of participants from the grassroots to the UN level secured a dynamic exchange of knowledge and experience.


Letters to Pope Francis

FEATURE: Letters to Pope Francis
(three letters at the link, from the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion, Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, and Catholics for Choice.)
TO: His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City
c/o Vatican Press Office

14 November 2018

Dear Pope Francis,

We are writing to express our disappointment at two recent pronouncements you made related to abortion, which seemed to contradict statements you had made earlier in your Papacy.

After you became Pope, you made two important statements in relation to women and abortion. First, you said that the Church should stop its obsession with the subject of abortion, and spend more time on its primary roles. We found that very hopeful because we think abortion is a public health and human rights issue, not a religious one, and we hoped your statement was an expression of understanding of the reality of women’s lives. We knew that you would not reverse the formal position the Church has taken since the mid-19th century, but we read your statement as a possibility that you might ever so slowly take the Church in a different direction.


CONFERENCE REPORT – Decriminalisation of Abortion, Medical Abortion and Advocacy for Change

CONFERENCE REPORT - Decriminalisation of Abortion, Medical Abortion and Advocacy for Change
Oct 26, 2018

Three Discussion Workshops
At: 3rd Abortion & Reproductive Justice Conference: The Unfinished Revolution
Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa, 9-12 July 2018

Report by Marge Berer with Christina Boateng and Pauline Diaz, 25 October 2018

This is an informal report of a set of three workshops, facilitated by Marge Berer, that took place over three days with almost 10 hours of in-depth discussion and sharing of information and experience among the participants. This report was written by Marge Berer, International Campaign Coordinator, and is based on notes taken by Christina Boateng, Pauline Diaz and several other participants.

Continued: cons