New Zealand – Big Read: Abortion law reform – what’s at stake?

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Big Read: Abortion law reform - what's at stake?
17 Jun, 2018
20 minutes to read
By: Dawn Picken

Abortion is in the spotlight again, after voters in Ireland voted overwhelmingly late last month to overturn the largely Catholic country's ban by 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent. The Emerald Isle's referendum comes as a law commission in New Zealand considers removing abortion from the Crimes Act. Bay of Plenty Times Weekend reporter Dawn Picken spoke with advocates, activists and women who've had or considered abortions about what decriminalising the procedure means to them.

*note: names of women who've had abortions have been changed to protect privacy.
Heartbreaking Pregnancy

Tania and Scott were thrilled when they learned they were pregnant with their second child. Everything was going well when the couple went for their 20-week ultrasound to learn the baby's sex. It was a boy, says Tania.

Continued: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12070558

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‘My body, my choice’: Argentina moves closer to legal abortion with key vote

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‘My body, my choice’: Argentina moves closer to legal abortion with key vote
The chamber of deputies is voting on a crucial bill that would legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy

Elizabeth Sulis Kim
Wed 13 Jun 2018

Even as calls for women in Argentina to be given the legal right to abortion have grown louder on its cities’ streets, a change in the law had seemed unlikely – until now.

But a vote on abortion on Wednesday could transform Pope Francis’s homeland from a country where women can go to jail for having an unlawful termination to one of Latin America’s most progressive countries on reproductive rights.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jun/13/my-body-my-choice-argentina-moves-closer-to-legal-abortion-with-key-vote

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Ireland’s abortion referendum raises the bar for U.S. abortion politics

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Ireland’s abortion referendum raises the bar for U.S. abortion politics

By Abigail R.A. Aiken
June 9, 2018

Ireland’s landslide vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment of its Constitution signaled the end of one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws. Just as remarkable as the “yes” vote itself, however, was the debate that led to the result — and how refreshingly different it was from the debate here at home. In Ireland, politicians actually listened to evidence, and they listened to women. In America, too many politicians have done neither.

The United States and Ireland have long seemed far apart on abortion. The U.S. Constitution protects the right to choose, whereas until last week, the Irish Constitution explicitly equated the life of a fetus with the life of a pregnant woman. Yet the two countries are much more similar than they seem at first glance.

Continued: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Ireland-s-abortion-referendum-raises-the-bar-12981492.php#photo-15697587

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UK- An abortion at the age of 23 gave me freedom

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An abortion at the age of 23 gave me freedom
During the Irish referendum, there was a lot of talk about abortion in extreme cases, but some – like mine – are banal but necessary

Hadley Freeman
Sat 2 Jun 2018

When I was 23, my life forked. Until then, it had felt like one of those LA freeways with half a dozen lanes: I had options in terms of which path I took, but they were all going in the same general direction.

I was barely making a living in a job I enjoyed, and living in a dump with friends I adored. Life was wide open. Then one day I took a pregnancy test and suddenly there were two directions for me: have the baby or don’t. I cried on the bathroom floor with my best friend, but the tears were out of embarrassment that I had been so careless. They weren’t out of fear. It was years before I appreciated what a privilege that was.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/02/an-abortion-at-the-age-of-23-gave-me-freedom

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New Zealand – Abortion: We made the right decision

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Abortion: We made the right decision

NAME WITHHELD
May 29 2018

I've had an abortion. And up until this day the only people that know about it are my husband, mother, and one friend.

We have two living children, and a third lost in pregnancy.

I always fell pregnant easily with my husband for some unknown medical reason. I was a stickler for taking my pill at the same time every day. If I was unwell then we also used condoms.

Continued: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/104297203/abortion-we-made-the-right-decision

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New Zealand – Simon Bridges says NZ’s abortion laws work well. Here’s what you say

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Simon Bridges says NZ's abortion laws work well. Here's what you say
Abortions should be "rare, safe, legal", says National Party leader Simon Bridges. Not everyone agrees with that.

May 29, 2018
National Party leader Simon Bridges says he's opposed to taking abortion out of the Crimes Act.

Abortions should be "rare, safe, legal" - with an emphasis on rare, he said on Monday morning.

"Overall, I think the regime we have for abortions is working well," Bridges told RNZ's Morning Report.

Stuff asked its readers for their opinions on abortion and abortion law. Here's what some of you had to say.

Continued: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/104264791/simon-bridges-says-nzs-abortion-laws-work-well-heres-what-you-say

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Ireland – Personal stories are precious things and they made the difference

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Anne Enright: Personal stories are precious things and they made the difference
‘How did we turn ourselves from fallen women into women rising? By telling the truth. It was that simple’

May 27, 2018
Anne Enright

The Eighth Amendment was always a failure - medical, practically, geographically - the only thing it did was make people’s lives worse.

Seventy five per cent of voters knew their mind before the campaign began, according to exit polling on Friday. Some would vote for pragmatic reasons, some for sympathetic ones, more than three quarters said they were influenced by personal stories they had heard in the media or from people they knew.

Personal stories are precious things. To speak can be to suffer twice, especially if you do not know how your story will be heard. People do need to speak, however. They know that if they tell it true, if their story is accurate to the experience, emotionally honest, unafraid of its own contradictions, then something else happens. A story of hurt becomes one of healing.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/abortion-referendum/anne-enright-personal-stories-are-precious-things-and-they-made-the-difference-1.3510189

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I killed Savita Halappanavar by choosing to stay silent about my abortion – and I’m so sorry

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I killed Savita Halappanavar by choosing to stay silent about my abortion – and I'm so sorry

I never did have the hard conversation with my family about my abortion. They continue to float on in blissful ignorance, thinking that abortion is something that happens to other people. Heartless people. Or that an Irish abortion in the UK means there is no abortion in Ireland

Suzie Kerrigan
Tuesday 22 May 2018

I killed Savita Halappanavar.

Every time I see her image, the one with the broad smile, I am disturbed. I knew it back in 2012, when Savita died after being refused an abortion. Now with the repeal vote coming up – as her friends and her parents give us a full view of the woman, young and vital, living in Galway, as I once did – the full horror of the situation hits me again. I killed Savita.

The sickness from the pit of my stomach, the constriction of my throat and the tears come automatically. My head starts to pound, my toes go cold. The guilt. I’m sorry, I’m so very sorry.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/savita-halappanavar-ireland-abortion-referendum-vote-latest-eighth-amendment-a8363166.html

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‘We sat in the airport crying’: Irish couple describes travelling to England to abort terminal pregnancy

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'We sat in the airport crying': Irish couple describes travelling to England to abort terminal pregnancy
The country's strict abortion laws meant the couple couldn't end the pregnancy in Ireland

Helen Hoddinott Dublin
May 20, 2018

When Caroline and Michael McCarthy were told at their 20-week pregnancy scan that their third child wouldn’t survive outside the womb, they were devastated.

They learnt that their baby’s kidneys hadn’t developed in the first weeks of pregnancy, a condition called bilateral renal agenesis. As a result, there was no amniotic fluid and the baby had no chance of survival after birth.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ireland-abortion-referendum-eighth-amendment-travel-liverpool-video-a8360226.html

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Ireland – ‘I needed surgery but because I was pregnant, I was left to rot’

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‘I needed surgery but because I was pregnant, I was left to rot’
Kate Campbell developed a cyst and was in constant pain, but doctors refused to test or operate

May 19, 2018
Kate Campbell

There are many different reasons women terminate their pregnancies, or continue with them in challenging circumstances. In advance of the referendum on whether to retain or repeal the Eighth Amendment on May 25th, The Irish Times has asked readers to share their personal experiences. This is one of the stories we received. To submit yours, click here.

I needed surgery but because I was pregnant, I was left to rot instead.

When I was three months pregnant with my third child in 2007 I found a lump in my abdomen about the size of a pear. I was referred to my local hospital as my GP was unable to diagnose using palpitation alone. At the hospital I was examined but the only diagnostic tool offered was an ultrasound, where I was told the baby was fine and the lump was 7cm across.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/abortion-referendum/i-needed-surgery-but-because-i-was-pregnant-i-was-left-to-rot-1.3500349

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