Abortion rights around the world
October 22, 2019
Abortion laws vary around the world, some countries have outright bans while others maintain highly restrictive laws.
After the liberalisation of abortion laws came into force in Northern Ireland on Monday, here is a snapshot of the global situation.
What’s Become of All the Extreme Abortion Bans From This Year?
By Amanda Arnold
Oct 2, 2019
The first six months of the year saw relentless attacks on abortion rights on the state level. Five states passed bills banning the procedure after six weeks, before many women even realize they’re pregnant. And in May, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed a near-full ban on the procedure. The same month, Missouri — a state with only one abortion clinic — passed an extreme eight-week ban that didn’t include any exceptions for instances of rape, incest, or human trafficking. In all, seven states have passed similarly stringent laws in 2019, and more are considering them.
But in recent months, judges in many of these states have started to issue preliminary injunctions, which allow patients to continue accessing important reproductive care while the court hears the case in full to determine whether or not the bill is constitutional. In short, these court orders — also known as temporary blocks — maintain the status quo, allowing abortion to remain legal. Most recently, on October 1, a federal judge temporarily blocked Georgia’s ban.
Explained: Abortion Rights in Mexico and Latin America
Here are some key facts and figures for specific countries
By Amy Guthrie
Published Sep 29, 2019
Mexican women on Saturday marched for abortion rights, highlighting increased efforts across Latin America to lift some of the world's most restrictive abortion laws.
Efforts to legalize abortion have emerged in the region as some societies become more liberal and the Roman Catholic Church loses sway amid clerical sex abuse cases. Mexico City, along with Cuba and Uruguay, are the only places in the region where women can undergo abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the circumstances.
Abortion Bans Strip People of Their Human Rights. Here's Why We Must Stand In Solidarity Against Them
By Uma Mishra-Newbery and Jaime Todd-Gher
September 27, 2019
Banning abortions isn’t particularly effective. When governments restrict access to abortion, abortions actually continue to take place at roughly the same rate, according to the World Health Organization. But they get less safe. When abortion services are denied or limited, coat hangers, toxic herbal medicines and unqualified practitioners step into the breach, while medical professionals who provide proper care are criminalized.
Total bans or restrictive abortion laws in countries like El Salvador, Poland and more recently several U.S. states (including Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and Missouri) are designed to control and confine women and girls to stereotypical gender roles. They are an affront to their human rights and dignity and constitute gender discrimination. For transgender and queer people who need abortions, such restrictive laws are the latest in a long line of attacks on their rights and freedoms.
After Abortion Ban Attempt in Alabama, a Flood of Confusion and Phone Calls
August 27, 2019
by Catherine Trautwein
Pro-choice demonstrators protest outside the state capitol during the March For Reproductive Freedom in Montgomery, Alabama May 19, 2019. (Seth Herald/AFP)
Almost daily, the Reproductive Health Services clinic in Montgomery, Alabama, receives several versions of the same call: “Are y’all still doing abortions? Have they outlawed it in Alabama? Where can I go?”
The confusion is understandable. In May, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which aimed to outlaw abortions in all cases except when the mother’s life was at risk. The passage of the strictest anti-abortion measure in the country made national news.
Why anti-abortion groups are backing away from abortion bans
Debate around a Tennessee bill shows a big shift in anti-abortion strategy.
By Anna North
Aug 22, 2019
When legislators in Tennessee debated a bill earlier this month that would ban abortion as soon as a pregnancy can be detected, opposition came from a surprising place: anti-abortion groups.
Though the groups National Right to Life and Tennessee Right to Life oppose abortion, they also oppose the Tennessee ban, because they believe it would never stand up in court. If such a ban were to make it to the Supreme Court, the groups worry it would fail: “There is no objective evidence that we have more than one vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said James Bopp, general counsel of the National Right to Life Committee, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization,” in testimony against the bill.
The Last Places in Europe Where It’s Illegal to Get an Abortion
European microstates are some of the richest countries on the continent, but human rights, including abortion, are curtailed.
by Sarah Souli; illustrated by Cathryn Virginia
Aug 19 2019
Lara hadn’t wanted to see the baby.
It wasn’t supposed to be hers, anyway; when she accidentally got pregnant at 18, she had decided the child would be raised by her aunt while she went off to university. The first few months of the pregnancy were normal: doctor’s visits, ultrasounds, the abrupt abandonment of cigarettes and beer. Then, around five months into her gestation, the pain and bleeding started. At the emergency room, a surprising diagnostic—fatally missed by her primary gynecologist—was announced. The baby was lacking two nerve bundles in its neck. A few days later, a second test with Lara’s gynecologist revealed a diagnosis of Down syndrome. The baby, doctors briskly explained to Lara, would be born “a vegetable.”
The last taboo: Malta is the last EU country to have a full ban on abortion
Pro-choice activists will struggle to overturn it
Jul 27th 2019
POPE PIUS XI, who died in 1939, described Malta as “Malta Cattolicissima”. Today, that is not quite as true as it once was. The first schism with Catholic doctrine came in 2011, when divorce was legalised after a bitterly fought referendum. For the past four years, Malta has retained its top spot in ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Index, a ranking of policy towards LGBT people in 49 European countries. Same-sex couples now have equal marriage and adoption rights.
Yet Malta remains the only European Union member state which bans abortion in all circumstances. Under a law dating to 1724, women who procure an abortion in Malta risk being imprisoned for up to three years. The second-most-stringent EU country, Poland, allows abortion in very limited circumstances (as does Northern Ireland, which is even stricter, though a law passed in Westminster earlier this month could change that).
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
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.
The informal networks resisting Honduras's abortion ban
Through hotlines and clinics, activists and health experts are trying to change the stigma associated with abortion.
July 12, 2019
Tegucigalpa, Honduras - At 22 years old, Ana Padilla was certain of one thing: she did not want to be a mother. So when she found out she was pregnant six years ago, she frantically called a friend to see if she knew how to get an abortion, which is illegal under all circumstances in Honduras. The friend calmed her nerves and gave her the phone number of someone she knew who clandestinely sold mifepristone and misoprostol, pills used for at-home abortions.
"I was desperate in that moment," says Padilla, adding that the experience of buying the pills was "mysterious", like a drug deal.