Domestic political alliances with conservative forces in the US is costing women their health at home and abroad

Domestic political alliances with conservative forces in the US is costing women their health at home and abroad

BMJ Opinion
August 19, 2019

The Trump administration’s ideological commitment to the domestic anti-abortion lobby is endangering women across the Americas, say Hani Serag et al

The history of the “Global Gag Rule” is one of tragic irony and misguided energy from conservative foreign policy elements within the United States. The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, restricts the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developing countries that receive USAID family planning from engaging in abortion-related activities, including advocacy, regardless of the funding source for these activities. It is even more ironic that abortion rates increase where the Global Gag Rule disrupts family planning services. [1] Inability to access safe abortions does little to prevent women from seeking unsafe abortions which harm the wellbeing of women. [2] Although this is well-documented, one of the first things that Donald Trump did when he became President was to sign an executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule. In March 2019, the Trump administration expanded the rule. Previously it only applied to family planning assistance ($575 million in FY2016) but the expanded law includes all “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies”⁠— an estimated $9.5 billion or 16-fold increase in restricted funding. [3] A recent report shows the impact of this rule and the detrimental effect that it is having on women and girls.


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India – A change in the abortion law?

A change in the abortion law?

August 8, 2019
By Kerean Watts

Could India’s abortion law soon change? Steps may be taken towards amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, as the Centre has informed the Delhi High Court it is consulting with ministries on the same.

Social activist Amit Sahni filed a public interest litigation (PIL) before the High Court earlier this year, seeking that the gestation period in which abortion is permitted be extended to between 24 and 26 weeks. Currently, Indian law permits abortion only in the first twenty weeks of pregnancy in cases where “the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury physical or mental health; or there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.” This would require the assent of one medical practitioner in the first twelve weeks and two medical practitioners thereafter.


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Kenya – Denial of abortion services violates women’s rights

Denial of abortion services violates women’s rights
Ruling allowing abortion will reduce maternal deaths, give women right to health

by Evelyn Odhiambo
07 August 2019

Approximately seven women and girls die daily as a result of unsafe abortion whereas Sh533 million is used in treating complications related to unsafe abortion. Many of these women are left infertile or with lifelong disabilities and haemorrhage.

Girls and women in informal settlements are mostly affected, coupled with abortion-related stigma. Restrictive laws on termination of pregnancy result in women seeking services from unqualified medical personnel where the minimum cost is Sh1,500 not forgetting the limited chances of survival and complications.


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Kenya – ‘We lose so many women’: the tragedy of unsafe abortion in Kibera

‘We lose so many women’: the tragedy of unsafe abortion in Kibera
With terminations outlawed in Kenya, women and girls in its largest slum have to rely on expensive and unreliable under-the-counter pills, toxic chemicals or other homemade remedies. The consequences can be fatal

Tracy McVeigh in Kibera
Mon 5 Aug 2019

Edita Ochieng sashays up in her “This is what a feminist looks like” T-shirt – bright and new in a place where clothes are aged and faded.

“Got them,” she stage-whispers, a flash of silver foil in her hand. Four pills carefully cut from a longer strip. Ochieng has just been attempting to buy abortion pills from among the numerous kiosk-sized “quack” chemists in the Nairobi slum of Kibera. Just to show how easy it is.


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Nigeria – Why adolescents form major abortion victims

Why adolescents form major abortion victims

July 25, 2019

News of Aduke, 16 years was shocking and unbelievable. Based on profuse bleeding, from Aduke who collapsed suddenly on that fateful day, concerned persons that were sympathetic to her plight rushed her on emergency to the nearest health centre. After close examination, the care providers on duty, promptly referred Aduke who was a secondary school student to a general hospital. She had become unconscious.

Further medical tests on the patient however showed that there has been attempts to terminate a pregnancy. Doctors subsequently carried out some surgical procedures to perfect the abortion so as to save the life of Aduke. Sadly, she died on the operating theatre.


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Opinion: India’s government must prioritize women’s needs — including SRHR

Opinion: India's government must prioritize women's needs — including SRHR

By Vinoj Manning
24 July 2019

The 2019 general elections in India saw a record turnout of women — equal to the percentage of male voters — and indicating that women expect the majority government of the day to prioritize and address their needs.

One of their primary expectations is improved access to women’s sexual reproductive health and rights services.


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Nigeria: Not left out of the global rollback of sexual and reproductive rights

Nigeria: Not left out of the global rollback of sexual and reproductive rights
“What is going on?”

23 July 2019 | By OluTimehin Adegbeye

A few weeks ago, police officers conducted a raid on a Marie Stopes clinic in Lagos. They harassed patients, temporarily detained a doctor, and illegally accessed confidential documents. Immediately following this deeply unnerving attack, which came on the trail of other anti-rights incidents involving state agents, a group of Nigerian feminists, women’s rights campaigners and LGBTQI+ activists came together to ask, “what is going on?”. In the course of the digital conversation that ensued, a consensus was reached: a strategic effort to undermine the sexual and reproductive health and rights of Nigerians is underway, and women’s bodily integrity is on the frontlines.

Nigeria’s patriarchal conservatism is hardly news; women, girls and queer folks in this country are regularly and legally denied their bodily autonomy, and the rate of sexual violence is high.


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How Trump’s latest efforts to stop abortion increasingly undermine global 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.


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Abortion Has Been Illegal in El Salvador for Two Decades. Here’s What Activists Say U.S. Feminists Should Know.

Abortion Has Been Illegal in El Salvador for Two Decades. Here’s What Activists Say U.S. Feminists Should Know.
"It’s vulnerable women who are criminalized. It’s exactly the same thing that will happen in the United States.”

Jul 16, 2019
Kathy Bougher

Legislatures around the United States have passed increasingly tight restrictions on abortion in the past few years. As the overturning of Roe v. Wade becomes a more realistic possibility, some activists have looked to those in other countries with abortion bans for guidance.

In El Salvador, where abortion has been banned in all circumstances since 1998, activists drew similarities between the two countries’ situations—and told Rewire.News that those concerned about reproductive rights should look to unite with allies beyond their own borders.


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Kenya – Health ministry must obey court on abortion guidelines

Health ministry must obey court on abortion guidelines

Tuesday July 16 2019

The High Court recently nullified the Ministry of Health’s withdrawal of service delivery standards and guidelines and a training curriculum on abortion that had been in force for close to six years.

When the current Constitution was being written, abortion was a major contentious issue. Some campaigners against the draft used abortion to get votes at the referendum. Many of abortion-based arguments were confusing, with opponents out to convince all and sundry that the new Constitution would open floodgates for abortion.


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