by Anu Kumar and Serra Sippel
You’ve likely never heard of the Helms Amendment, or perhaps not until now that Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), along with Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee(D-Texas), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.), have introduced legislation to repeal it. But our guess is you’ve heard of the late North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms.
In 1973, Helms, an outspoken opponent of civil rights — really, he opposed rights for anyone not white, male, heterosexual, American and Christian — introduced the Helms Amendment. The policy prohibits any U.S. foreign assistance funds from being used for “the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.” As written, the Helms Amendment allows for the provision of abortion information and counseling in cases of rape, incest and if a woman’s life is in danger. But in effect, it has been interpreted as a total ban on abortion-related services and information in developing countries.
A helping hand, a listening ear: abortion
helpline in India, where 10 women a day die from unsafe terminations, offers
counselling and access to a safe clinic
6 Aug, 2020
Yet another consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been to restrict the
access of millions of women in lockdown to their choice of birth control. India
is seeing millions of unintended pregnancies – and risky abortions.
Zainab Mandlawala will never forget her own experience on a March afternoon in
2018. After waiting for hours, a gynaecologist finally led her into the
operating room and numbed her cervix with a local anaesthetic. She then
performed a “D&C” – dilation and curettage – abortion.
Aug. 5, 2020
By Megan Burbank, Seattle Times features reporter
“Did you feel they treated you like a person?” The question is posed near the end of the new documentary “Personhood” to Tamara Loertscher, a Wisconsin woman who was imprisoned in 2014 while pregnant after disclosing prior drug use to her doctor; tests showed traces of methamphetamine in her body.
Loertscher and her attorneys have maintained that she stopped using drugs when she found out she was pregnant, but as the case unfolded, her history of drug use and Wisconsin’s “Unborn Child Protection Act” became the state’s justification for giving her fetus more legal rights than she had. Loertscher’s fetus was appointed an attorney; she, initially, was not. When Loertscher refused drug treatment, she was jailed, which effectively cut off the prenatal care she had sought.
Sri Lanka’s abortion laws are among the world's most restrictive, yet hundreds of women risk their lives every day with illegal terminations
By Meghan Davidson Ladly
5 August 2020
In an unassuming house in the Sri Lankan city of Negombo, Achala is bravely
breaking a taboo. With poise and calm the 36-year-old is talking about her
abortion, three years previously. While she is hardly alone in terminating a
pregnancy, few Sri Lankan women are willing to openly discuss their experiences
in a country where the issue remains legally and culturally off limits.
Sri Lanka’s abortion laws are among the most restrictive in the world and
attempts at legal reform are held up in parliament. Yet every day hundreds of
women are thought to obtain illegal abortions, risking their lives and
Published August 5, 2020
Morenike Fajemisin is a pharmacist and multiple-award winner in sexual and reproductive health innovation. In this interview with GRACE EDEMA, she speaks on how the culture of silence and stigmatisation has contributed to the sexual and reproductive health challenges of Nigerians
How would you rate Nigerians’ awareness of sexual and reproductive health?
Nigerians’ awareness of their sexual and reproductive health and rights is very low. Young adults who lack sexual health knowledge grow to become older adults with the same problem. This cycle of silence, shame and stigma over sexual and reproductive health matters keeps repeating itself with each generation and only gets better by a small margin. We need new bolder solutions.
"It's not enough for abortion to be legal. It must also be affordable and available to all people, however much money they have or however they get their insurance."
By Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams
Tuesday, August 04, 2020
Progressive advocacy groups are urging presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to commit to fighting for reproductive rights for all by releasing a concrete plan to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old measure prohibiting federal funding for most abortion procedures.
On Monday, the ACLU and the All* Above All Action Fund launched a digital postcard campaign aimed at pressuring Biden to "make a firm commitment to remove all abortion coverage restrictions from his first budget, and tell Congress he won't sign bills with abortion coverage restrictions, if he is elected."
Renee Bracey Sherman
Today is an anniversary for me. Fifteen years ago today, I woke up pregnant—when I truly didn't want to be—for the last time. My day started out in a very ordinary way. I riffled through my closet, proclaiming nothing to wear, but eventually choosing a tee shirt, tight jeans, and a thong. What does one wear to an abortion? I drove my then-boyfriend's house to pick him up so he could drop me off at the clinic.
When I arrived at the clinic, the only sense of nervousness and panic occurred when I saw all of the security cameras and bullet proof glass greeting me at the door. I instinctively knew these precautions were to keep me safe from those who are anti-abortion and choose to threaten people undertaking abortions at clinics. It just left me feeling more sure in my decision.
A concurring opinion leaves the standard for determining the constitutionality of abortion restrictions in doubt.
Aug 4, 2020
At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in June Medical Services v. Russo. At issue was a Louisiana law, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. Like hundreds of similar state laws across the country, this law would have made abortion services difficult, if not impossible, to obtain in Louisiana.
A majority of the Court struck down the Louisiana law, but five justices did not agree on why the law was unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts concurred only in judgment—and his concurrence may be the key to understanding what regulations the Court will or will not permit in the future.
By Richard P. Ngbokai, Kano
Aug 4, 2020
Women‘s Integrated Services for Health (WISH), an international women reproductive health advocacy group has called on the federal and states government to prioritise funding of family planning services for enhanced health and economic dividends.
The National Sustainability Lead, WISH, Dr Michael Olawuyi who made the call in Kano at a media briefing stressed that prioritizing family planning has the potential to optimize the country’s population age structure such that the working population is more than the dependent population which translates to increased productivity and economic growth.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
In 2018, Ipas Central America and Mexico (Ipas CAM) created an informational video in Spanish on how women can safely self-manage an abortion using misoprostol, a safe and effective drug readily available in most pharmacies in Mexico without a prescription. Staff started using the video to train Mexican pharmacy workers so they could advise and support women seeking abortion pills.
But they quickly realized that views of the video on their YouTube channel far outpaced the number of trainings they were doing. People searching the internet for information on abortion with pills were finding and watching their video (“Safe Abortion with Misoprostol”) by the thousands, and a robust discussion had also started in the comments section.