COVID-19 has “devastating” effect on women and girls

Sophie Cousins, The Lancet
August 01, 2020
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31679-2

Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund, is among experts warning about disrupted health services and a surge in gender-based violence. Sophie Cousins reports.

As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, fears are increasing about the effect of the pandemic on women's and girls' sexual and reproductive health and their access to care. In response to COVID-19, in March, WHO issued interim guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak, which included advice to prioritise services related to reproductive health and make efforts to avert maternal and child mortality and morbidity.

Continued: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31679-2/fulltext


India – The Question of Mother’s safety in Abortion: Is the Indian system progressive?

Dushyant Kishan Kaul
August 1,2020

India is largely seen a progressive regime on right to abortion. However, there have been multiple instances where courts have denied to grant abortion even in medically important cases. The author notes a case where the abortion procedure itself posed risks to the life of the mother. In this context the article analyses Indian courts and laws approach to mothers well being and reproduction rights.

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The Supreme Court recently allowed the medical termination of twin pregnancies of a twenty-five-week pregnant woman. In Komal Hiwale v. State of Maharashtra, a bench, comprising of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Aniruddha Bose, allowed for the abortion of a fetus which had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Continued: https://theleaflet.in/the-question-of-mothers-safety-in-abortion-is-the-indian-system-progressive/ 


Latin America – Covid-19 hospital beds and abortion

There is hard evidence that the pandemic presents a heightened risk to reproductive health

DEBORA DINIZ and GISELLE CARINO
31 JUL 2020

“Abortion is a public health matter,” scientists say. This notion seems a bit abstract – how can a criminalized practice constitute a public health need? The Covid-19 pandemic is a teachable moment. But it is the teaching of horror: according to the World Health Organization, thousands of women visit health services every month to receive care for incomplete abortions. In Argentina, the figure was 3,330 women; in Chile, 1,522; in Colombia, 7,778; and in Mexico, 18,285, in different years. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 760,000 women in Latin America and the Caribbean are treated annually at healthcare services because of complications from unsafe abortions, averaging out to 63,000 beds a month. When a woman goes to a hospital for complications from an unsafe abortion, she might end up needing a bed twice: once, to treat the unsafe abortion and next, to be treated for the Covid-19 she contracted in the hospital.

Continued: https://english.elpais.com/opinion/2020-07-31/covid-19-hospital-beds-and-abortion.html


Trump Just Stacked A Fetal Cell Research Panel With Abortion Opponents

Seen as the “gold standard” in many areas of medical research, fetal cells are widely used in coronavirus vaccine research.

Dan Vergano, BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on July 31, 2020

On Friday, a Trump administration panel erected to judge the ethics of federally funded research relying on human fetal cells met more than a year after it was first announced. Just hours before the meeting, the panel was revealed to be stacked with abortion opponents hostile to such research.

Human fetal cells are widely used in medical research to develop vaccines — notably in at least a half dozen current candidate coronavirus vaccines — as well for studying diseases including AIDS. The National Institutes of Health Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board was initially announced in June of last year, putting a hold on grant applications for medical research involving human fetal cells. It followed the Trump administration’s moves to cancel related federal research contracts and audit human fetal cell research.

Continued: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/danvergano/trump-fetal-cell-ethics-panel-abortion


Landmark measure to repeal ‘racist,’ anti-choice Jesse Helms amendment hailed as step to a ‘more equitable world’

July 30, 2020
By Common Dreams

“Abortion care is healthcare and healthcare is a fundamental human right.”

Reproductive rights advocates on Wednesday cheered the introduction of the first-ever legislation to repeal the Helms Amendment, which has prevented millions of women across the globe from accessing safe abortion care.

Introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the “Abortion Is Health Care Everywhere Act” would rescind the 1973 amendment that blocks U.S. foreign aid funding for abortion and would help support comprehensive reproductive healthcare for women worldwide.

Continued: https://www.rawstory.com/2020/07/landmark-measure-to-repeal-racist-anti-choice-jesse-helms-amendment-hailed-as-step-to-a-more-equitable-world/


COVID-19 is changing the way Canadians have abortions

BY TEGWYN HUGHES
POSTED ON JULY 30, 2020

As health care providers continue to adapt to the demands of COVID-19, doctors in Canada say that the crisis proves we need accessible abortion services more than ever.

From routine procedures to life-saving surgeries, health authorities have deemed different services either essential or non-essential to prioritize emergency care. This need to prioritize health care based on urgency has reopened debates about the kinds of services we consider important.

Continued: https://the-pigeon.ca/2020/07/30/covid-19-abortions/


Italy: Covid-19 Exacerbates Obstacles to Legal Abortion

Inadequate Measures Heighten Existing Risks for Health, Lives

July 30, 2020

(London) – Government inaction has left women and girls facing avoidable obstacles to accessing legal abortion in Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic, putting their health and lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said today.

The government’s failure to ensure clear pathways to essential, time-sensitive medical care during the pandemic caused interruptions to abortion services and prevented some women from accessing abortion within the legal time limit, exacerbating longstanding barriers to safe and legal abortion in Italy.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/30/italy-covid-19-exacerbates-obstacles-legal-abortion


Brazil: Access to abortion during Covid-19

July 29, 2020 (International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion)

An initiative to help women to have a safe, legal abortion: a network of women, proactive, advocating for the decriminalisation of abortion in Brazil. An initiative of mutual solidarity: horizontal and self-sustaining.

by Maíra Marques, Director of Communications, Milhas Pela Vida das Mulheres

During the morning of 21 October 2019, a 31-year-old woman (J.) was admitted to the Pérola Byington Hospital in downtown São Paulo (SP), where she had an appointment for psychiatric counselling. A victim of gang rape, she had been receiving treatment for 20 days. Once again, she passed by the tents of “40 Days for Life in SP”, a group of anti-abortion activists who had decided to settle there during the Covid-19 quarantine, trying they said, to convert health professionals and women who have come to the hospital for a legal termination of a pregnancy. According to a report by the Public Journalism Agency, J. attempted to talk to the group that morning, to tell them her story, but without success. Instead, she was beaten up by these militants, some of whom were women, who punched her and put her in a headlock. These violent acts were witnessed by a lawyer, who accompanied her to the nearest police station.

Continued: https://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/blog/brazil-access-to-abortion-during-covid-19/


Abortion rates don’t drop when the procedure is outlawed. But it does make it more dangerous

Though abortion restrictions are incredibly harmful and coercive in the U.S., they aren't a primary driver in the national decline in pregnancy terminations.

July 29, 2020
By Zara Ahmed, associate director of federal issues for the Guttmacher Institute

Anti-abortion advocates working to criminalize abortion in the United States and abroad will always be stymied by a crucial fact: People everywhere want, need and find ways to get abortions.

I observed this firsthand while working as a public health adviser in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and now new research from the Guttmacher Institute demonstrates just how misguided and dangerous it is to try to limit abortion access. The data shows that abortion rates are roughly the same in countries where abortion is broadly legal and in countries where it isn't. And abortion rates are actually four times higher in low-income countries where abortion is prohibited than in high-income countries where it is broadly legal.

Continued: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/abortion-rates-don-t-drop-when-procedure-outlawed-it-does-ncna1235174


UK – Rise in abortions as more than 200 Norfolk women unable to access contraceptive care in lockdown

28 July 2020
Sarah Burgess

Abortion services have seen an increased demand during lockdown as more than 200 women across Norfolk have struggled to access contraceptive care.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant many women’s preferred choice of contraception is unavailable - such as the fitting of long-acting contraception like implants and coils.

Continued: https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/abortions-and-contraceptive-care-coronavirus-lockdown-1-6765738