Malta: Youths call for consultation on abortion

Youths call for consultation on abortion
Sept 13, 2017
Mtella' Settembru

In Malta, a group of nine youths presented a resolution at the National Youth Parliament titled "Sexual health and reproduction in Malta", that calls for abortion to be openly discussed and not treated as taboo. Many young women travel to other nearby countries to have abortions, which may be illegal and unsafe.

Continued at source: TVM:

Read more

Kenyan women denied access to safe abortion services

Okun Oliech
Mon 24th Oct 2016, Standard Media

In 2012, the Google Zeitgeist Report ranked abortion as top on the list of the subjects Kenyans search for in the ‘How To’ category. This clearly showed that many young girls and women were looking for information on how to abort and that abortion is real in Kenya.

According to the ministry of health, about 310,000 abortions occur every year in Kenya. 22,000 women are admitted each year due to unsafe abortion related complications and 2,600 of these eventually die. Out of the women admitted, 12% are usually older than 34years, 40% are between the ages of 25 and 34 years while 16% are adolescents and teenagers.

[continued at link]
Source: Standard Media

Read more

‘I’ve seen horrible things’: photographer Laia Abril on her history of misogyny

Poison herbs, handcuffs on a hospital bed, death threat voicemails … the subtle but chilling exhibits in the photographer’s powerful show about abortion capture the horror of a largely invisible war on women

‘My project begins in the 19th century,” says Laia Abril, as she guides me through A History of Misogyny, Chapter 1: On Abortion, her sometimes disturbing exhibition at the Arles photography festival. “Back then, the problems facing women trying to control their reproduction were medical and technological. Now we live in a technological age and the problems women face are linked to politics and religion. But in many countries, where abortion is still illegal, they have to resort to life-threatening procedures. So for them, nothing has changed.”

Although Abril’s exhibition is not for the faint-hearted, she does not resort to shocking imagery or polemics. Instead, the show shifts between the personal, the historical and the cultural. It begins with her artful photographs of objects from the archive of the Museum of Contraception and Abortion in Vienna – a condom made from a fish bladder, an array of surgical instruments and medical illustrations – which s he presents as painterly still lifes, either singularly or in groups.

Soap and syringes used for abortion, from the Museum of Contraception and Abortion in Vienna, photographed by Laia Abril.
Soap and syringes used for abortion, from the Museum of Contraception and Abortion in Vienna, photographed by Laia Abril. Photograph: Laia Abril/Institute

From there, she leaps to what she calls photo-novels, which consist of personal stories that graphically illustrate the consequences – both physical and psychological – of unsafe abortion. A young Polish woman recalls a 15-hour illegal procedure in an overcrowded, airless clinic. When she described the ordeal to her boyfriend, he said: “That’s seems right – murderers should be treated like cattle.” An Irish man describes how his pregnant and terminally ill wife was prescribed an abortion because chemotherapy had damaged the foetus. “Michelle did not want to, but we had no other option,” he says. “To our surprise, Cork University Hospital refused to do it.”

laia abril by piero martinello
Laia Abril. Photograph: Piero Martinello

Abril, 30, hails from Barcelona, and is a graduate of Fabrica, the Benetton arts project in Italy. Working closely with the designer Ramon Pez, who is crucial to the layouts of her shows and photobooks, Abril is a thoughtful conceptualist who tells metaphorical stories about difficult subjects using a mixture of research and whatever raw material comes to hand: found photos, her own images, family photographs, personal testimonies, official archives, interviews and diaries. The Epilogue, her previous project, tackled eating disorders though the tragic tale of Mary Cameron Robinson, an American woman who died of heart failure in 2005, at the age of 26.

An image titled Hippocratic Betrayal and Obstetric Violence, by Laia Abril, referring to the case of a woman in Brazil who was handcuffed to her hospital bed after trying to give herself an abortion.
An image titled Hippocratic Betrayal and Obstetric Violence, by Laia Abril, referring to the case of a woman in Brazil who was handcuffed to her hospital bed after trying to give herself an abortion. Photograph: Laia Abril/Institute

This time, the found material and loaded objects – from an operating chair to a tangled heap of coathangers – make the testimonies all the more stark. One of the most resonant images is a staged photograph of a pair of handcuffs hanging from the rail of a hospital bed. It is titled Hippocratic Betrayal and refers to the case of a 19-year-old woman from São Paulo, who was taken to hospital with severe abdominal pains after ingesting abortion pills. After treating her, the doctor called the police, saying he would autopsy the foetus if she did not confess to trying to abort. She was handcuffed to her hospital bed and freed only after agreeing to pay £200 bail. Denunciation by doctors is common in Brazil, Peru and El Salvador.

“There are so many stories,” says Abril, “and it was important to find ways of telling them visually. The image of the handcuffs is a reconstruction because, of course, I was not present. No one was. The stories are true, the research is journalistic, the imagery is sometimes imaginative and sometimes documentary.”

Ancient Herbs and Oral Solutions, depicting herbs used in El Salvador to induce abortion.
Ancient Herbs and Oral Solutions, depicting herbs used in El Salvador to induce abortion. Photograph: Laia Abril/Institute

Abril has photographed bundles of toxic-looking herbs she bought on the black market in El Salvador, and one wall of her show is papered with adverts for Peruvian clinics that “fix” and “regulate” what they call “menstrual delays”. In Peru, abortion is illegal except when the life of the mother is at risk, and anyone caught self-aborting faces up to two years in prison.

The most chilling exhibit, though, is not a photograph or a text, but a voice. On a small shelf rests an old-fashioned telephone. When you hold it to your ear, you hear a recording of a prolonged threat left on the phone of someone who worked at a clinic in Orlando, Florida. “You like killing babies, don’t you?” the caller says in a quiet but simmering voice. “You like to sell death parts for a dirty profit while you get funded by my taxpayer money.”

An FBI warrant for James Kopp, a member of The Lambs of Christ, who killed a doctor who worked at an New York abortion clinic in 1998.
An FBI warrant for James Kopp, a member of The Lambs of Christ, who killed a doctor who worked at an New York abortion clinic in 1998. Photograph: Laia Abril/Institute

It is a glimpse of the frontline of the abortion wars in the US, where staff at pro-choice clinics live with the fear of fire-bombings and shootings from extremist pro-life groups such as The Lambs of Christ and The Army of God. Last year, an attack on a family-planning clinic in Colorado killed two civilians and one police officer. To date, anti-abortion violence in the US has led to 11 murders and 26 attempted murders.

Why has Abril chosen such a loaded subject as the first chapter in her history of misogyny? “It seemed timely,” she says, “because of the Pope’s ruling on forgiveness, which just seemed so strange.” In September 2015, Pope Francis announced the beginning of a one-year-long abortion amnesty entitled the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, in which he granted permission for every priest in the world to forgive the sin of abortion for a period of one year. With this one edict, he seemed to overthrow the declaration of his predecessor, John Paul II, that abortion was murder and that women who have terminated a pregnancy should be excommunicated. When the year is up, though, the Catholic church reverts to that ruling.

Abril’s image Boiling Bath, Tooth and Superstition, referring to the centuries-old idea that a scalding bath could induce a miscarriage.
Abril’s image Boiling Bath, Tooth and Superstition, referring to the centuries-old idea that a scalding bath could end a pregnancy. Photograph: Laia Abril/Institute

For her project, Abril has recreated a confession made by a woman who had an abortion. “I use whatever I need,” she says, “because I am really dealing with an invisible subject, one that it is hard for women in these countries to talk about because they feel ashamed or threatened or afraid. Even in confession, they are treated as murderers. It is important to confront this. In El Salvador today, 17 women who were pregnant and had late miscarriages have been charged with homicide and are serving prison sentences of between 20 and 40 years. Not for abortions, but miscarriages.”

She sighs. “I have heard and seen so many horrible things while making this work. So many horrible things.”

A History of Misogyny, Chapter 1: On Abortion is at Magasin Électrique, Arles, until 25 September. See more here.

Source: The Guardian.

Read more

Kenya: 13-year-old girl dies while performing an abortion in Mamboleo

by Okun Oliech

A 13-year-old girl died in Mamboleo in Kisumu County on Monday, after she performed unsafe abortion to herself. The girl used a cloth hanger while trying to abort her 4-weeks pregnancy, which led to the injury of her womb resulting to over bleeding. She lost her life while being rushed to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga teaching and referral hospital.

According to a doctor at the medical facility, the girl died because she had lost a lot of blood.  The doctor said that they were shocked because the girl had destroyed her womb completely with the hanger. There were big cuts inside her womb and despite her trying to abort the pregnancy, she wasn’t successful.

The girl was in class seven and came from a very strict and poor background. She was very scared of her parents because they had warned her earlier, that if she got pregnant it was better she terminated it before coming home,  if she dared came home pregnant, they would skin her alive. She got desperate and decided to terminate her pregnancy the crude way.

I believe that the girl would still be alive if she had access to safe abortion services. In Kisumu safe abortion services are very expensive and limited. The minimum one can pay for safe abortion services is 2,500 shillings. This has forced young girls and women to turn to quacks or midwives or other dangerous options. As a result, an estimated two-thirds of Kisumu’s abortions are unsafe.

Each year, 300,000 abortions are procured here in Kenya. Moreover 25,000 women go to government hospitals with complications due to unsafe abortion. It is estimated that more than 2,600 women die annually from unsafe abortion here in Kenya. Unsafe abortion is rampant in Kisumu county, Kisii county and Siaya County.

Unintended pregnancy is the leading cause of unsafe abortion in Kenya. It is estimated that adolescents and young people account for 70% of all pregnancies. Lack of access to quality information on contraceptive use and services has contributed to the increasing cases of unintended pregnancies. It is estimated that 44% of adolescents in Kenya have never heard of family planning or contraception methods.

If we are to win the battle against unsafe abortion and unwanted pregnancy, accurate and complete information about sex and provision of contraceptive methods are first-line defenses.

Access to safe abortion services is critical to prevent potentially fatal injury and infections from unsafe abortion. Where safe abortion is not available, post abortion care services are necessary to treat the complications that result from unsafe procedures, the most severe of which can result in infertility and death.

Moreover, the youth and teenagers should abstain from sex and reduce these cases of unwanted pregnancies and abortion. They should also remember that abortion is illegal; unless the fetus is a threat to the mother’s health.

Source: Standard Media, Kenya

Read more

Thailand: Dept. of Special Investigation Hunting Doctor Selling Abortion Pills Online

DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang, right, inspects packs of abortion pills seized in Nakhon Pathom province, during a press conference at his office in Bangkok on Friday. (DSI photo)
DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang, right, inspects packs of abortion pills seized in Nakhon Pathom province, during a press conference at his office in Bangkok on Friday. (DSI photo)

15 Jul 2016 at 13:33

Writer: King-Oua Laohang

Source: Bangkok Post

Read more

Cambodia’s garment workers vulnerable to unsafe abortions

Workers in a textile factory in Thanaut Tee village, in Cambodia’s Takeo province, in 2014. Photograph: Friedrich Stark/Alamy Stock Photo

Women in the garment industry – away from their homes and support networks – are inhibited from accessing healthcare, including abortion services

Marta Kasztelan in Phnom Penh

Wednesday 13 July 2016 07.00 BST

Sopheak, a young woman employed at one of Cambodia’s many garment factories, is sitting on her bed, crying. She has just learned she is pregnant – and her boyfriend left her the minute he heard the news.

“No boyfriend, no husband, no money, nothing but a baby coming,” she laments as her friends try to console her. She is adamant she’ll go “to one of those secret places, where they can take the baby out”. Looking up at her friends, she adds: “I should have never told you.”

While this scene is from a video series produced by the NGO Care, the drama that unfolds on screen is a reality for many Cambodian garment workers.

The garment industry is the linchpin of Cambodia’s economy, and the single biggest employer of women. Some 500 factories hire almost 500,000 female workers, many of whom are young and have migrated to the city from the countryside.

Away from their homes and support networks, and with low levels of education and income, these women are particularly vulnerable (pdf) and may be inhibited from accessing healthcare information and services, including abortion, according to the UN population fund, UNFPA.

Although Cambodian law allows women to terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks, studies suggest that many garment workers are not aware the procedure is legal. As a result, they do not know how to access safe abortion services and predominantly choose expensive and potentially unsafe services from the private sector.

A 2014 survey (pdf) published by Partnering to Save Lives – a collaboration of three NGOs – found more than 90% of women working in garment factories didn’t know abortion was legal. It also found that out of 900 garment workers interviewed for the study, 18% said they had had an abortion. The national average at the time (pdf) was 5%. Almost 75% of women couldn’t indicate where to seek a safe abortion.

Dr Chok Chanda, a manager of 13 years at a small Phnom Penh clinic run by Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia, a non-profit, admits she has treated many patients, including garment workers, who went to “unsafe places”.

“Most patients with post-abortion complications visiting the clinic have incomplete abortions, from incorrectly taking the medical abortion pill or the Chinese pill – a traditional medication,” she says. “They buy the pill at the pharmacy and take it at home but they don’t know how to use it – that they need to take it twice and come for a medical check-up.”

Many women, Chanda says, go to private clinics, some of which are unlicensed or charge high fees, or to pharmacies, because they don’t know where to seek abortion services or because these facilities are closer to where they work.

Women who are unmarried – the notion of pre-marital sex is still frowned upon – Chanda says, choose to travel long distances to terminate their pregnancy to avoid the shame. “They go to unsafe places, and afterwards they come to us with complications,” she says.

In 2008, the World Health Organisation estimated that each year unsafe abortions account for 47,000 deaths globally and leave millions of women temporarily or permanently disabled.

Julia Battle, the sexual reproductive maternal health and rights adviser at Care, acknowledges that “there is a lot of confusion around abortion”. This is one of the reasons why, she says, her organisation trains female garment workers in 16 factories in the capital and in Kandal province to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive rights.

Aside from screening an educational mini-drama series, which can be shared on smartphones and has been well received by workers, according to Battle, the training sessions “move from discussion of sex, modern contraception and emergency contraception to safe abortion”.

There is evidence the training is raising the level of knowledge at the factories – the mid-term review (pdf) this year showed that almost 45% of workers knew at least one place where to obtain safe abortion, compared with 27% two years ago (pdf).

However, with the number of factories in the country, Battle acknowledges that many women are likely to fall through the cracks. “There are hundreds of factories. I do think that those we are not reaching probably are less aware of how to prevent unplanned pregnancy and how and where to access safe abortion,” she says.

Asked what the government was doing to facilitate access to safe abortion, a ministry of health spokesperson referred the Guardian to Professor Tung Rathavy, director of the National Maternal and Child Health Centre, who declined to comment.

Source: The Guardian

Read more