Why the fight for legal abortion is only half the battle

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Why the fight for legal abortion is only half the battle

July 13, 2018
By Shannon Kowalski and Susan Wood

For years, Irish women have been forced to travel abroad or seek underground abortion services. But, a historic vote in May delivered a landslide rebuke that rescinded the country’s constitutional provision recognizing the equal rights to life of both a woman and a fetus, opening the door to expanded reproductive autonomy. The euphoria over this victory has barely settled, and already steps are being taken to curb Irish women’s hard-won right. The new front of resistance to women’s rights emerges from those who seek to allow medical professionals to deny women abortion services based on their own religious or moral beliefs. It would be a mistake for Ireland’s legislators to allow such refusals, which ultimately endanger and discriminate against women.

Since 2000, 28 countries have liberalized their abortion laws. In response to this progress, anti-choice advocates and policy makers have mounted a deliberate campaign to undermine women’s access to legal abortion services. A primary tactic has been establishing laws and policies that allow doctors to opt out of fulfilling their professional obligation to provide health care services on the basis of their personal beliefs. The use of these so-called “conscience” claims is on the rise worldwide.

Continued: http://www.euronews.com/2018/07/13/why-the-fight-for-legal-abortion-is-only-half-the-battle-view

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Expert group denounces the refusal to treat under ‘conscientious objection’

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Expert group denounces the refusal to treat under 'conscientious objection'

Joyce Arthur
July 5, 2018

For the first time ever, an expert group has arrived at a majority consensus that the practice of so-called "conscientious objection" by health-care professionals should not be allowed. The experts agreed that the practice of refusing to provide legal and essential health care due to a doctor's personal or religious beliefs is a violation of medical ethics and of patients' right to health care. Abortion and other reproductive health care are the most commonly refused services.

Unconscionable: When Providers Deny Abortion Care is the title of the expert group's just-released report with recommendations. It is a product of the first global meeting on the topic of "conscientious objection," which took place in Montevideo, Uruguay in August 2017 because the refusal to treat is a major barrier to abortion access in many Latin American countries.

Continued: http://rabble.ca/columnists/2018/07/expert-group-denounces-refusal-treat-under-conscientious-objection

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After the Eighth: A fatal foetal diagnosis, but too sick to travel

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After the Eighth: A fatal foetal diagnosis, but too sick to travel
‘It was awful ... I was wanting something bad to happen to me so they’d induce me’

Mon, Jul 2, 2018
Kitty Holland Social Affairs Correspondent

Aisling McNevin (26) was diagnosed with having a fatal foetal abnormality less than a week after the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment was passed.

She was 21 weeks pregnant, bleeding heavily and had high blood pressure. She was too ill to travel abroad for a termination but could not have one in Ireland because there was “still a foetal heartbeat”.

It had “all started” the day of the referendum, she says.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/abortion-referendum/after-the-eighth-a-fatal-foetal-diagnosis-but-too-sick-to-travel-1.3550290

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South Africa – ‘Conscientious objection’: when doctors’ beliefs are a barrier to abortion

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'Conscientious objection': when doctors' beliefs are a barrier to abortion
As a report highlights the ruinous impact of denying abortion, two medics offer opposing views on the role of personal belief

Hannah Summers
Fri 22 Jun 2018

A rise in the number of healthcare providers who refuse to provide abortion services based on their personal beliefs is having a devastating impact on women and girls around the world, a new study has claimed.

Over the past two decades, at least 30 countries – including, most recently, Ireland, Chile and Argentina – have taken steps to improve access to abortion through legislative changes.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jun/22/should-doctors-be-free-to-refuse-patients-an-abortion-on-personal-grounds

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Unconscionable: Health workers’ right to refuse abortions vs women’s right to choose

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Unconscionable: Health workers' right to refuse abortions vs women's right to choose
When religion trumps science in medicine, women's bodies and Constitutional rights may be caught in the crossfire.

21 Jun 2018
Marion Stevens, Mandi Mudarikwa

South Africa‘s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act legalises voluntary abortion at different stages of pregnancy. Although viewed as a generally liberal law, the Act has not effectively enabled broad and consistent access for women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.

One of the reasons has been some health providers’ and facilities’ refusal to treat women who need abortion care.

Continued: http://bhekisisa.org/article/2018-06-21-00-unconscionable-a-doctors-right-to-refuse-abortions-versus-a-womens-right-to-choose

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Unconscionable: When Providers Deny Abortion Care

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Unconscionable: When Providers Deny Abortion Care

June 19, 2018
Click here to download the report [PDF]

The global women’s movement has fought for many years to affirm safe and legal abortion as a fundamental right, and the global trend has been the liberalization of abortion laws. Progress is not linear, however, and persistent barriers prevent these laws and policies from increasing women’s access to services. One such obstacle is the growing use of conscience claims to justify refusal of abortion care.

Often called “conscientious objection,” a concept historically associated with the right to refuse to take part in the military or in warfare on religious or moral grounds, the term has recently been co-opted by anti-choice movements. Indeed, accommodations for health care providers to refuse to provide care are often deliberately inserted into policies with the aim of negating the hard-fought right to abortion care.

Existing evidence reveals a worrisome and growing global trend of health care providers who are refusing to deliver abortion and other sexual and reproductive health care. This phenomenon violates the ethical principle of “do no harm,” and has grave consequences for women, especially those who are already more vulnerable and marginalized.

Continued: https://iwhc.org/resources/unconscionable-when-providers-deny-abortion-care/

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Ireland – No GP should be allowed opt out of abortions

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Newton Emerson: No GP should be allowed opt out of abortions
Conscientious objection amounts to saying ‘We don’t serve your sort around here, love’

Thu, Jun 14, 2018
Newton Emerson

The UK supreme court sat for the first time in Belfast last month, hearing an appeal into the “gay cake” case, among others.

“People will of course not expect an answer any time soon,” the president of the court said upon reserving judgment.

Another thing nobody expects is for the court to let bakers opt into a register of those willing to ice gay cakes, comprising only a handful of bakers in the country, with people obliged to travel to find them.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/abortion-referendum/newton-emerson-no-gp-should-be-allowed-opt-out-of-abortions-1.3529281

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Italy: Thousands of Women Marched to Demand Pro-Choice Laws

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Italy: Thousands of Women Marched to Demand Pro-Choice Laws

Published 27 May 2018

Thousands of Italian women marched across the country Saturday, under the banner, 'My Body, My Choice' to mark 40 years of the passing of the historic 1978 law, Law 194, which legalized abortion in a largely Catholic country.

The 194 law legalized the voluntary termination of pregnancy (VTP), however, the law, which has been criticized by women’s groups for restricting "self-determination", is being threatened by a growing far-right and anti-choice movement in the country as well as a neoliberal approach to the restructuring of the health system.

Continued; https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Italy-Thousands-of-Women-Marched-to-Demand-Pro-Choice-Laws--20180527-0006.html

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Europe – Even where abortion is legal, access is not granted

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Even where abortion is legal, access is not granted
In several European countries tough abortion laws are not necessary, as the lack of available gynecologists makes it almost impossible for women to access abortion.

Thursday 24 May 2018
Paola Tamma

Ireland will hold a referendum on 25 May, asking voters whether they want or not to repeal the so-called Eight amendment to the Irish Constitution, guaranteeing the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother, and prohibiting abortion in almost all cases, making it one of the world’s toughest abortion laws in the world.

But tough law is not always needed to actually restrict access to abortion: in some countries where abortion is legal, women face increasing problems to access it because non-objecting gynecologists are simply not available.

continued: https://www.europeandatajournalism.eu/eng/News/Data-news/Even-where-abortion-is-legal-access-is-not-granted

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Italy’s far right uses Irish vote to boost anti-abortion campaign

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Italy's far right uses Irish vote to boost anti-abortion campaign
ProVita activists boost campaign in run-up to 40th anniversary of legalisation of abortion

Angela Giuffrida in Rome
Sat 19 May 2018

Activists and far-right politicians have seized on Italy’s low birth rate and the attention on Ireland’s referendum on abortion to boost their own campaign to outlaw the practice.

As the 40th anniversary of Italy’s legalisation of abortion approaches, the renewed effort also comes as the far-right League, which contains many anti-abortion militants, stands on the brink of forming a government with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement following inconclusive general elections in March.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/19/italys-far-right-use-irish-abortion-referendum-to-boost-pro-life-campaign

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