South Africa: Providing safe abortion care during a national lockdown

03 July 2020
Kgaladi Mphahlele, Doctors Without Borders

In 2015, MSF surveyed 800 women between the ages of 18 and 49 in Rustenburg and found that one in four women had been raped in her lifetime, yet fewer than 5 per cent of those women reported to a health care facility. Since then, MSF has run several sexual and reproductive health programs for the community— including for survivors of sexual violence— across Bojanala district, where Rustenburg is located, in partnership with local health authorities.

In addition to community outreach and health
education in more than 20 schools in the district, MSF supports four Kgomotso
Care Centers (KCC) providing sexual violence care.

Continued: https://www.msf.org.za/stories-news/fieldworker-stories/south-africa-providing-safe-abortion-care-during-national-lockdown


BC’s Online Abortion Services Increasing Access in Pandemic

The number of clinics offering access to needed medication without physical appointments has tripled.

Moira Wyton, Today | TheTyee.ca
July 2, 2020

Two clinics that began offering online abortion services during the pandemic are seeing a surge in patients, highlighting the lack of reproductive health services available for patients outside the Lower Mainland.

Before the pandemic hit, the Willow Clinic in Vancouver was the only place in B.C. offering abortion services without requiring an in-person visit.

But the pandemic encouraged Vancouver’s Elizabeth Bagshaw Clinic and sister clinic Everywoman’s Health Centre to move ahead more quickly with plans to offer the service, tripling the number of clinics patients can choose from to obtain the required medication.

Continued: https://thetyee.ca/News/2020/07/02/BC-Online-Abortion-Services/


India – Covid-19 fuelling mother and child mortality rates

Covid-19 fuelling mother and child mortality rates

Jun 16, 2020
Sanchita Sharma, Hindustantimes

Priyanshi Kol was born in her parent’s one-room hutment in Ansara village in the Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh on May 21 because her mother Shivjanki, 26, couldn’t get an ambulance to reach Sanjay Gandhi Medical Hospital 100 km away.

She died on June 13 from childbirth-related complications. She was 23 days old.

Continued: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/covid-19-fuelling-mother-and-child-mortality-rates/story-NvmX3Cn7KMqlff77R9BoZN.html


Canada announces support to Ipas to protect access to safe abortion and contraception during COVID-19 pandemic

Canada announces support to Ipas to protect access to safe abortion and contraception during COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Ipas

The global coronavirus outbreak is a major threat to the health of women and girls globally and is anticipated to disproportionately affect low-resource settings where barriers to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care already existed. Today, the government of Canada affirmed that the failure to meet women’s and girls’ urgent SRH needs, including abortion, is a denial of basic rights to health, autonomy, and gender equality.

Through rapid funding from Global Affairs Canada, Ipas will work in select countries in the global south to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by:

Continued: https://www.ipas.org/news/2020/June/canada-announces-support-to-ipas-to-protect-access-to-safe-abortion-and-contraception-during-covid-19-pandemic


USA – Medication Abortion and Telemedicine: Innovations and Barriers During the COVID-19 Emergency

Medication Abortion and Telemedicine: Innovations and Barriers During the COVID-19 Emergency

Amrutha Ramaswamy, Gabriela Weigel, Laurie Sobel
Jun 08, 2020

State actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted their divergent approaches to abortion access. Some states classified abortion as a non-essential service, effectively banning services, while others have clarified that abortion is an essential service. In a handful of states, some clinics have begun to offer medication abortions using telemedicine. This approach maintains access to abortion while social distancing, preserving personal protective equipment (PPE), and limiting in-person health care visits and risk of exposure.

In 2017, 39% of all abortions in the U.S. were medication abortions (also known as abortions induced by pills). These abortions are provided using two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol. While public knowledge about medication abortion is very low, even fewer people may be aware that telemedicine can aid in the provision of this service. Research shows that providing medication abortion by telemedicine is clinically feasible and safe, but COVID-19 has highlighted the impact of new and existing federal and state restrictions on providing abortions using this approach.

Continued: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-policy-watch/medication-abortion-telemedicine-innovations-and-barriers-during-the-covid-19-emergency/


Ob-Gyn teaching hospitals often restrict abortion beyond state law

Ob-Gyn teaching hospitals often restrict abortion beyond state law

May 31, 2020
Bixby Centre for Global Reproductive Health

Many women, especially those with complex medical needs, often rely on hospital-based abortions. Obstetrics and gynecology residency programs are required to provide access to abortion training but graduates frequently report that hospital policies interfere with their training. These facility-level abortion restrictions can affect both patient care and clinician instruction in teaching hospital settings.

ANSIRH researchers conducted a national survey of 169 OB-GYN teaching hospitals and found that the majority (57%) of residency training program directors reported that their facility had some sort of written or unwritten policy that restricted abortion provision beyond what their state law allowed.

Continued: https://bixbycenter.ucsf.edu/news/ob-gyn-teaching-hospitals-often-restrict-abortion-beyond-state-law


ACOG Suit Petitions the FDA to Remove Burdensome Barriers to Reproductive Care During COVID-19

ACOG Suit Petitions the FDA to Remove Burdensome Barriers to Reproductive Care During COVID-19

May 27, 2020

Washington, DC – The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) took another step toward achieving equitable access to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic by asking a federal court to require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend a harmful FDA restriction on mifepristone. Joining ACOG as plaintiffs in today’s lawsuit are the Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the New York Academy of Family Physicians, and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.

Mifepristone is an evidence-based treatment prescribed for management of early pregnancy loss as well as induced abortion. Although mifepristone has long been proven to be safe and effective when prescribed through telemedicine and can be safely taken in the comfort of a patient’s home, outdated FDA restrictions require mifepristone to be dispensed in a hospital, clinic, or medical office.

Continued: https://www.acog.org/news/news-releases/2020/05/acog-suit-petitions-the-fda-to-remove-burdensome-barriers-to-reproductive-care-during-covid-19


I Traveled To Texas During The Pandemic To Provide Abortion Care. Here’s What I Saw.

I Traveled To Texas During The Pandemic To Provide Abortion Care. Here’s What I Saw.
Closing clinics, banning telehealth and enforcing waiting periods is dangerous and burdensome at any time, but especially during this pandemic.

Glenna Martin, M.D., M.P.H.
May 25, 2020

As I flew out of Texas in February, I never imagined the tragedy and upheaval that would take place before I was able to return eight weeks later.

I travel monthly from Seattle to Texas to help provide abortion care. But at the end of March — as the coronavirus pandemic was ramping up —Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order halting such care, deeming it nonessential — an order reinforced by the state’s attorney general.

Continued: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/abortion-access-texas-covid-19-coronavirus_n_5ec7dcbdc5b67d1308b9c96e


How coronavirus is changing access to abortion

How coronavirus is changing access to abortion
Health care practitioners are struggling to maintain access to contraception and abortions during the pandemic.

By MIRIAM WEBBER
05/21/2020

As the coronavirus steamrolls the global order, reproductive health care practitioners and advocates are struggling to maintain access to contraception and abortions.

Lockdowns and disrupted supply chains have prompted a flurry of action in the sector as governments, practitioners and advocates react to a crisis that has highlighted the often tenuous access to sexual health care products and services.

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/21/how-coronavirus-is-changing-access-to-abortion-273193


How the Pandemic Is Changing Abortion Care in Vulnerable Countries

How the Pandemic Is Changing Abortion Care in Vulnerable Countries

By Rachelle Hampton
May 18, 2020

This as-told-to essay from Dr. Manisha Kumar has been edited and condensed for clarity from an interview with Rachelle Hampton.

I am currently the head of Médecins Sans Frontières’ task force for safe abortion care. It’s a relatively new initiative that started in 2016 to increase provision of contraception and safe abortion care in MSF projects. Before this role, I worked for MSF in many different capacities. I was both a field staff doctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a medical coordinator in DRC and Bangladesh. Just like many people, I’m working from home now, in Amsterdam. I’ve never spent this much time in my apartment, behind my computer, on Zoom meetings and calls. So much of MSF and who we are is based in the field.

Continued: https://slate.com/technology/2020/05/coronavirus-abortion-doctors-without-borders.html