Criminalizing the right to health: The shared struggle of the HIV and safe abortion movements

Criminalizing the right to health: The shared struggle of the HIV and safe abortion movements
Both HIV and unsafe abortion endanger life and health and have a disproportionate impact on people living in developing countries

by Reuters
Thursday, 11 October 2018
By Edwin Cameron and Anand Grover

This month, India’s Supreme Court struck down Section 377 - a colonial-era law that banned same-sex activity and led to the systemic discrimination and persecution of LGBTQ Indians. This was a huge victory for India and - as two lawyers who have spent decades fighting for the rights of LGBTQ individuals - a very personal one.

Yet, while we celebrate this incredible achievement, we must remember that criminalization remains a potent threat for the health and lives of many people around the world. And those that often bear the largest burden are people living with HIV and AIDS and women and girls seeking abortion services.


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South Africa – Anti-Choice Culture Is Allowed To Flourish At UCT. Why?

Anti-Choice Culture Is Allowed To Flourish At UCT. Why?

Aug 22, 2018
Temwa-Dango Mwambene

I am not one to write open letters, but I am enraged. I am very tired but unfortunately for “racist cishetero patriarchal Christian torture” not tired enough (yet) to take action. I am tired of the University of Cape Town (UCT), particularly the Faculty of Health Sciences, taking ethically weak stances on issues that they are meant to be at the forefront of advocating for, writes TEMWA-DANGO MWAMBENE.

I have been at UCT for four years and I remember the then vice-chancellor Dr Max Price welcoming us on the first year MBChB registration day and speaking about how UCT is a place for rigorous academic debate and contrasting views and as an example invited us to participate in the upcoming ‘Israeli-Apartheid’ week. A week, if UCT had any ethical integrity, that should rather be dedicated to collective initiatives around awareness and actions in support of the Palestinian liberation struggle. But this open letter is not about UCT’s inability to take a pro-Palestine position but about abortions.


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USA – Over 200 state legislators announce their commitment to advance abortion rights and reproductive justice in state capitals

USA – Over 200 state legislators announce their commitment to advance abortion rights and reproductive justice in state capitals

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Jan 18, 2018

Just a few days before the 45th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) announced the launch of the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council, a national network of US state legislators committed to leadership on reproductive rights.

State capitals have been central to the fight over reproductive freedom in recent years, and now, over 200 state legislators from 40 of the US’s 50 states have joined the Council and committed to promoting and protecting abortion rights in state legislatures.


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USA: Self-Managed Abortion and Embodying the Principles of Reproductive Justice

Self-Managed Abortion and Embodying the Principles of Reproductive Justice

Jan 12, 2018
Marlene G. Fried & Susan Yanow

Legal and policy barriers too often render the legal right to abortion meaningless, especially for those individuals and communities who are already the most vulnerable.

Worldwide, there is an enormous gap between having the legal right to abortion and being able to access one. This is painfully obvious in the United States. While abortion is legal, its opponents have successfully decreased access to services through restrictive laws; bans on Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance coverage; and violence directed at clinics and providers.

These strategies have successfully put abortion clinic services out of reach for many people. Their long-range goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and re-criminalize abortion. In the meantime, legal and policy barriers too often render the legal right to abortion meaningless, especially for those individuals and communities who are already the most vulnerable.

Continued at source:

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#25YearsOfWomen’sHell – 25th disgraceful anniversary of the Polish anti-abortion law

#25YearsOfWomen’sHell – 25th disgraceful anniversary of the Polish anti-abortion law
Jan 9, 2017
Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning

7th January 1993 Act on Family Planning, Human Embryo Protection and Conditions of Legal Pregnancy Termination (later: the Act) has had a detrimental effect on women’s reproductive and sexual health and rights for 25 years. Due to the anniversary and upcoming debates about two abortion-related citizens’ bills[1] in the Parliament, the Federation for Women and Family Planning has launched the #25YearsOfWomen’sHell campaign so as to illustrate the fictional character of the Act and its multiple negative effects. Follow memes with the hashtag to learn and share facts about SRHR in Poland.

80 pro-choice organizations have supported and signed the Federation’s statement concerning the “Save women” bill on women’s rights and conscious parenthood so as to appeal to the MPs for a fact-based, open-minded and genuine debate in the Parliament as well as for a vote in favour of the bill.

Continued at source:

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US: SIA In Our Communities: A Conversation

SIA In Our Communities: A Conversation
Dec 7, 2017

SIA In Our Communities: A Conversation was a community-engaged research project involving people who work with populations likely to be targeted by law enforcement for ending pregnancies outside the formal healthcare system. Reproductive justice activists, community-based abortion providers, and other advocates who center potentially impacted communities in their work came together to explore the cultural origins of, growing need for, and legal risks associated with supported and self-induced abortion ("SIA") in non-clinical settings. This report captures the hopes, concerns, and recommendations for the RHRJ movement(s) from the critical perspectives of some of the communities that have the most to gain or to lose through advocacy efforts to decriminalize and normalize non-clinical abortion.


Continued at source:

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Northern Ireland: This anti-abortion hijacking of Black Lives Matter is cynical and offensive

This anti-abortion hijacking of Black Lives Matter is cynical and offensive
Both Lives Matter has got away with a misleading ad. But using the language of human rights can’t hide its true agenda: subjugating women

Elizabeth Nelson
Friday 4 August 2017

It’s a fairly large number, 100,000, but nice and round. Easy to compute. Most of us could even divide it by 10, at a push. Apparently it is this convenient roundedness that led the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week to dismiss complaints about recent claims on a billboard that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws have saved “100,000” lives. In its statement, the ASA said: “We considered that 100,000 was a large, round number that readers would typically associate with estimates” – and was therefore unproblematic.

Continued at source: The Guardian:

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Who Should You Listen to on Abortion? People Who’ve Had Them

Who Should You Listen to on Abortion? People Who’ve Had Them

MAY 20, 2017

When I arrived at the clinic in Washington, I looked for the young woman I was waiting for. Her body was covered with tattoos of birds and stars. She hugged me with a warm smile and introduced me to her boyfriend. He didn’t look at me. In fact, he didn’t look me in the eye for the five hours we sat together in the waiting room.

I assumed it was out of shame until I noticed the white supremacist tattoos on his shaved head, neck, forearms and knuckles. As a black woman, I was scared of him. Yet I felt a bond. They had driven several hours from Virginia to avoid the numerous restrictions on abortions there. He was returning from jail. She already had a child and wasn’t ready for another. I knew the feeling well.

She asked for an abortion doula because she wanted unconditional support, no matter what she decided. She wanted me, a total stranger, to reinforce her trust in herself. After she went to the procedure room, her boyfriend and I went outside, me to make a call, him to smoke. In the elevator down, he finally spoke: “Thank you.”

Continued at source: New York Times:

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U.S: The Hyde Amendment on abortion: four decades of injustice

September 29, 2016 4:17 PM, News & Observer

By David A. Grimes

The Hyde Amendment denies Medicaid funding for poor women seeking abortion, except in rare circumstances. Forty years ago, and every year since, the U.S. Congress has passed it as a budget rider. As a social experiment, the Hyde Amendment has been a singular failure: It codifies social injustice, harms the most vulnerable among us and drives up costs to society. About 7 million Medicaid-eligible women of reproductive age live in the 32 states that do not cover abortion. Regrettably, North Carolina is one of these.

The amendment’s sponsor, the late Republican Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, opposed reproductive rights. Since the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1973 that abortion was a constitutionally protected civil right, Hyde could attack abortion only through the power of the purse. An elderly, affluent and white man, Hyde was candid about his strategy, “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the ... Medicaid bill.” By default, he targeted poor women, the most vulnerable among us.

[continued at link]
Source: The News & Observer

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Making the Moral Case for Abortion

Audio recording hereIn a lecture last night, Ann Furedi, Chief Executive of bpas, set out the ethical arguments for a woman’s right to choose to launch her new book: The Moral Case for Abortion. Drawing on sociological thought and moral philosophy, Furedi argued that there is a strong moral case for recognising autonomy in personal reproductive decisions, and that supporting a woman’s right to abortion has ethical foundations and integrity.

Furedi was introduced by Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at bpas. She highlighted the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act – an opportune moment to consider how far we have come, celebrate the doctors, nurses and midwives who made it all possible, and look to the future of abortion care.Furedi began with discussion of the dedication in her book: Dr Wilbur Larch, the obstetrician in Irving’s The Cider House Rules. As a character, he considers delivering babies and performing abortions to be equally moral; after all, both deliver women. This recognises the goodness of abortion care. Yet those who work in the field are so often unable to talk about it with pride. Furedi argued that abortion should not be such a ‘dirty little secret’. Abortion doctors are some of the most moral she has ever met.

She went on to deliver a summary of the argument in her book. So often, the anti-choice movement gets to monopolise morality. And while there are myriad pragmatic arguments in favour of abortion, Furedi questioned whether this is enough. Instead, she presented the moral case in favour of abortion, arguing that an embryo is not yet ‘one of us’. Ending life means something different to humans, compared to a being that does not know it’s alive. We have aspirations; we have autonomy to use our minds. That is the real difference.

Furedi recognised that women will have different views on this matter. But what is not debatable is that women themselves have lives, and the value of those lives does not lessen when they become pregnant. A woman’s value is in her biography, not her biology. A woman’s decisions are her own, and it is women who live with the outcomes of reproductive choices, not the politicians who seek to regulate them.

A panel responded to Furedi’s lecture, made up of Prof. Bobbi Farsides, Professor of Clinical and Biomedical Ethics and Law at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Dr. Sheelagh McGuinness, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol Law School, and Jon O’Brien, President of Catholics for Choice. They praised the book for tackling complex issues head-on, and opening up the idea that abortion care workers often see their work as moral.

A lively audience Q&A followed. Furedi argued that there has never been a better time to campaign on these issues. In Ireland, there is a clear sense that the Eighth Amendment should be repealed; the question now is what abortion law there should look like. In the rest of the UK, the decriminalisation campaign is gradually persuading hearts and minds that women can be trusted. With politics in turmoil, a window of opportunity has emerged for us to make the clear and simple argument that these are the services that women need. The #WeTrustWomen campaign has received enormous support in its mission to remove abortion from criminal law and have it regulated like other medical procedures. The royalties from the first year of sales of The Moral Case for Abortion will go towards this campaign, and you can get your copy here.

Find out more about the #WeTrustWomen campaign at

 Source: bpas Tumblr
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