ARMENIA – Network of advocates for women’s reproductive rights launched in Armenia


ARMENIA – Network of advocates for women’s reproductive rights launched in Armenia

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
March 13, 2018

In 2017 the Women’s Resource Centre Armenia has launched an initiative to develop a network of experts to advocate for women’s reproductive rights. The Network members are representatives from different organizations and activists who have a background in reproductive rights. An issue of the highest importance currently, on which the network is focussing, is access to abortion.

In August 2016 the Armenian Government passed an amendment to the Law on Human Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights prohibiting sex-selective abortions. State policy is in reality trying to address the increase in overall number of abortions in Armenia. The law also introduces counselling, as well as a three-day period of reflection before the final decision is made on the request for a termination, and defines procedures to be taken against medical staff acting against this legislation.


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USA – State Department report will trim language on women’s rights, discrimination


State Department report will trim language on women's rights, discrimination


State Department officials have been ordered to pare back passages in a soon-to-be-released annual report on global human rights that traditionally discuss women’s reproductive rights and discrimination, according to five former and current department officials.

The directive calls for stripping passages that describe societal views on family planning, including how much access women have to contraceptives and abortion.


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Advocates make progress on access to safe abortion in humanitarian crises


Advocates make progress on access to safe abortion in humanitarian crises

By Sophie Edwards
29 November 2017

LONDON — Advocates campaigning for refugees to have access to safe abortion in humanitarian settings say they have made major progress at a recent high-level meeting — but they added that “political sensitivities” among countries and some United Nations agencies are holding back efforts to get the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services to those who need them.

Some experts also warned that pushing the abortion agenda could derail efforts to reach refugees in some settings and distract from more immediately urgent obstetric needs.

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Australia: When a woman can control when she has children, she can control her future


When a woman can control when she has children, she can control her future
Chris Turner

In Australia we often take the access to contraception for granted. We have to talk about the right to reproductive choice for women globally

Friday 24 November 2017

With issues of reproductive rights being raised in the senate and abortion law reform on the agenda for the election in Queensland on Saturday, it’s time to stop and think about what it might be like if we had no choice in planning our own families.
Cory Bernardi's provocative motions on abortion divide Coalition
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Earlier this year my wife and I had our first child. She was 37 and I was 39. I couldn’t imagine being better prepared than we were and yet today our house looks like one of the Wiggles exploded inside it and we are both very, very tired. I often asked myself, how would I ever have coped as a teenage father? What would my life be like if I had not one, but 10 children? While I can never know the answer, my job has given me some reliable insight; it would probably be really tough.

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UK: Do You Have A Right To An Abortion?


Do You Have A Right To An Abortion?

By Michael Goldin
26th September 2017

Abortion can be an emotive topic. It’s also a human rights issue, falling within the area of reproductive rights.

It’s often an area of intense debate, and the rules even differ within the UK. In Northern Ireland, for example, you can only get an abortion where the mother’s life is in dander. This doesn’t include cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities.

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Ireland Just Reached A “Milestone” In Its Fight To Legalise Abortion


Ireland Just Reached A "Milestone" In Its Fight To Legalise Abortion

A referendum edges closer after a group of members of the public assembled by the Irish government voted overwhelmingly to allow abortion for a wide range of reasons.

Posted on April 24, 2017

Laura Silver
BuzzFeed News Reporter

The prospect of abortion being legalised in Ireland moved a step closer at the weekend after an advisory group of members of the public indicated they would like to see radical reform to the country's abortion laws.

Abortion is currently illegal in almost all circumstances in Ireland. The eighth amendment of the constitution states that the procedure can only be carried out if a women's life is in immediate danger.

On Saturday, 87% of the 99 members of the Citizens' Assembly – a group of ordinary people established by prime minister Enda Kenny to advise on changes to the law regarding several key issues – voted in favour of repealing the eighth amendment.

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U.S.: Democrats Ready Congressional Resistance to Looming Anti-Choice Attacks


Nov 10, 2016
by Christine Grimaldi, Rewire

“Democrats will be completely unified under the Senate in beating back any attempts to curtail reproductive rights,” a Senate Democratic leadership aide said in an email to Rewire. “It’s an issue that binds our caucus together.”

Republican President-elect Donald Trump alleged that the system was “rigged” against him, even after he won the nation’s highest office early Wednesday morning.

Now that he’s preparing to helm the executive branch, advocates for reproductive rights fear that another system, the checks and balances underscoring U.S. democracy, won’t be able to stop him from pursuing a radical anti-choice agenda.

Election Day 2016 resulted in two solidly anti-choice branches of the federal government, and Trump threatening to stock the third, the judiciary, with justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Congressional Democrats had expected to wrest control of the U.S. Senate from anti-choice Republican leadership and had hoped they might significantly narrow the gap in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Neither happened.

Most House and Senate Democrats remained publicly silent Wednesday, presumably grappling with how to respond to the election results. Aides who privately spoke with Rewire, however, indicated Democrats will wield whatever power they have to protect reproductive rights from the Trump administration and GOP majorities in the impending 115th Congress.

“Democrats will be completely unified under the Senate in beating back any attempts to curtail reproductive rights,” a Senate Democratic leadership aide said in an email. “It’s an issue that binds our caucus together.”

Had Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the presidency, many congressional Democrats wanted her to fulfill the 2016 party platform’s promise to repeal the Hyde Amendment, even if she lacked the Republican majorities to do so. At the very least, they expected a vocal opponent of the yearly federal appropriations rider that restricts federal funding for most abortion care.

Though Trump’s murky abortion record once embraced reproductive rights, he pandered to anti-choice voters in selecting Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The current Republican governor of Indiana is behind some of the nation’s most onerous abortion restrictions and the expansion of crisis pregnancy centers, fake clinics that routinely lie to pregnant people to persuade them not to seek abortion care.

Pence during the campaign pledged that a Trump presidency would work to end legal abortion, “stand[ing] for the sanctity of life and defend[ing] the unborn from the first day we take office.”

Emboldened congressional Republicans could mount a serious attempt to codify Hyde. Fueled by reproductive justice groups like All* Above All, House Democrats in the current 114th Congress campaigned against Hyde, arguing that it places an “undue burden” on people of color and those with low incomes. They secured 124 co-sponsors from their ranks for the EACH Woman Act, which would ensure all people have access to insurance coverage for abortion care.

Republicans in the House are all but certain to reintroduce anti-choice measures in the first days of the new congressional session, as is their custom, timed to align with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. They almost immediately pushed through legislation codifying Hyde in the 114th Congress and later sought to criminalize a common medical procedure used after miscarriages and during second-trimester abortions.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) introduced an identical version of that ban in the Senate, even though most virulent abortion restrictions only make it through the House.

Will a Trump administration change that dynamic? A House Democratic aide took comfort in the fact that voters chose to quadruple the number of senators who are women of color—the very same group that anchors the reproductive justice movement and shoulders disproportionate consequences from anti-choice policies.

“Providing those sorts of perspectives” in the upper chamber will be crucial to “one, create a resistance to what we’re going to see, and two, look toward opportunities in the future,” the aide said in a phone interview.

The Senate’s new women of color are all pro-choice Democrats: Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California; Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the House member representing Illinois’ 8th district; and Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada’s former attorney general.

Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, is no stranger to fighting for reproductive rights. Her office was among the first to investigate the Center for Medical Progress and the anti-choice front group’s leader, David Daleiden, following the group’s series of deceptively edited videos attempting to smear Planned Parenthood. The videos continue to serve as the basis for the House’s “McCarthyesque” Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives—proceedings that could cost taxpayers up to $1.2 million.

Women of color notched additional historic wins in the 2016 elections. Ilhan Omar became the first Somali American to be elected as a state legislator and the first Somali-American woman to be elected to public office in the United States when she won her race in Minnesota.

And voters sent several women of color—Rep.-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), progressive state Sen. Pramila Jayapal (WA), and Stephanie Murphy (FL), all pro-choice Democrats—to the House.

“The people who won are progressive,” the House Democratic aide said, name-checking Murphy. “Democrats that are picking up these seats are Democrats that are going to be with us on these issues. They’re not those Blue Dogs that … aren’t there on the reproductive justice agenda.”

The aide said that the modest pickups of Republican seats mean “that our margins should improve in the committees—for Hyde, specifically, we might get another Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.”

Appropriations will yet again become the battleground for many fights around reproductive rights, according to All* Above All Co-Director Destiny Lopez. House Republicans in 2016 used the fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health, and Human Services funding bill as a vehicle to gut Teen Pregnancy Prevention grants and Title X family planning services for people with low incomes. They also hijacked the National Defense Authorization Act, leading to an ongoing, partisan House-Senate deadlock over “sweeping taxpayer-funded discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, and reproductive health-care decisions about contraception and abortion care.

“So much of this comes to a head in the budgeting process,” Lopez told Rewire in a phone interview. “We will need to, as a community, also be very clear with the new administration where we stand vis-à-vis the President’s budget and then work with the House and Senate on their budgets to ensure that our voice is heard and we provide that shield where we should.”

Democrats hope to eventually win back control of the House and Senate, even though the 2018 election landscape, Politico reported, will include five members of Congress who will have to defend seats in “ruby red” states. Much of the party’s work toward that goal will converge with safeguarding reproductive rights over the next two years, the House Democratic aide said.

Fighting for reproductive justice and related issues, the aide said, “puts us … into a place where we have to really double down on our investments.”

“We have two options,” the aide continued. “We can either curl in a hole and sob, or we can strap on our armor and get to work.”

The fighting spirit was similarly alive and well among reproductive rights and justice groups regrouping after the election.

“We need to continue to educate the public about the impact of what a Trump presidency will do and what impact it will have on our communities, especially folks of color,” Lopez said. “We’ve got to continue to take our case directly to the American people and really build our movement and build our base like never before.”

Reproductive justice groups have and will always organize on the ground, she said. “We need to do that, and we need to continue to stand with folks fighting for racial justice, fair wages, environmental justice, tribal sovereignty. Now more than ever, [if] this election tells us nothing, it is that if we do not stand at the intersections … we will lose again and again and our communities will ultimately be impacted.”

Kierra Johnson, executive director of the pro-choice advocacy group URGE and member of All* Above All’s steering committee, echoed the same sentiment in a phone interview. Johnson testified before one of Rep. Trent Franks’ (R-AZ) House judiciary subcommittee hearings this year pushing back against racially biased anti-abortion myths. She’s now ready to stand against whatever comes out of the Trump administration.

“He made it clear that he was going to wage war on women and on issues of abortion rights and sexual health and bodily autonomy,” she said. “We know we’ve got a fight ahead of us, and we’re committed to engaging in it. We’re going to work like hell to continue to move the needle on repealing Hyde, and we’re going to be even more ferocious in our fight for justice at the state level.”

Source: Rewire

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Stigma and Silence: Welcome to Abortion in Rural Australia


by Katherine Gillespie
Sep 12 2016, Broadly

Women in far-flung Australian towns bear the brunt of outdated abortion laws, often traveling overnight to escape local conservatism and reach abortion clinics. Could telemedicine be the answer?

With a total of 3,062 residents, Tennant Creek is the fifth largest town in Australia's Northern Territory. The closest urban center is Alice Springs, which is six hours away. For a Tennant Creek resident in need of an abortion clinic, that's a long and lonely drive.

Rural Australians make up a third of this country's population, and many have difficulty accessing the services city-dwellers take for granted. That includes abortions, which one in three Australian women will seek in their lifetime. All of which means a huge number of rural Australian women must travel vast distances to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

[continued at link]
Source: Broadly

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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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