U.S.: Telling the story behind Roe v Wade: ‘The play illuminates choice’

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As Roe, a stage production centered on the landmark abortion case of the 1970s, hits Washington DC, playwright Lisa Loomer discusses its prescience

David Smith in Washington (The Guardian)

Monday 9 January 2017 16.13 GMT

In a normal election year, without the dozens of distractions, it would have been a jaw-dropping moment. “Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v Wade?” Donald Trump was asked during the final presidential debate. His initial answer meandered but then became blunt: “That’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the [supreme] court.”

He went on to accuse his opponent, Hillary Clinton, of advocating that babies be ripped out of their mother’s wombs just before birth, a bogus claim she dismissed as “scare rhetoric”. But come election day, he won and she lost.

Now Trump is bound for the White House and a stage play about Roe v Wade, the 1973 case at the supreme court that firmly established a woman’s right to abortion, is arriving in Washington DC, with remarkable prescience. The first night curtain will go up just 40 hours before the bellicose billionaire is sworn in as US president.

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Source: The Guardian

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US: A Century of Abortion Onscreen, 1916-2016

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Dec 20, 2016, Rewire
by Gretchen Sisson

The end of 2016 marks the close of a century since the first silent film in the United States addressed abortion. In these past 100 years, film, television, and our popular culture have addressed abortion in evolving ways: from the pre-code films of the 1920s, to the exploitation films of the 1940s, to television plotlines in support of legal abortion in the 1960s, to the alternately stigmatizing and stigma-busting portrayals of the 1990s and early 21st century. The incorporation of abortion into onscreen storylines has been done for shock value, for sex educational purposes, for humor, for drama, and for horror. This presentation is not an exhaustive list of abortion stories in U.S. film and television (there are over 200 of them!), but it is meant to illustrate some of the notable examples, groundbreaking firsts, and trends that have emerged over time.

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Source: Rewire

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Ireland: Lynda McCarthy: Our fight for abortion rights will go global

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By Lynda McCarthy
Nov 7, 2016

WE ARE Irish and the whole world cheerfully tries to claim our heritage as their own, and why wouldn’t they?

We are Irish and you cannot claim Saoirse Ronan or Katie Taylor, Britain – they’re ours, thank you very much.

We are Irish, and in the four corners of the earth, they have bars and parades to celebrate us, they dye their rivers green in solidarity on Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Source: Sunday World

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Why not Bridget Jones’s Abortion?

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When it comes to movies, babies are better for the box office
by Mary Kenny
Published 09/10/2016

Everyone seems to love Bridget Jones. The cinema was full - 98pc female - and the audience laughed, clapped and empathised with Bridget (the fabulous Renée Zellweger) and her zany antics. She drinks a bottle of vodka at a rock concert, falls on her face in the mud, and then falls into bed with a hunky stranger in his yurt.

Bumping into her ex at a christening party, she slugs back the wine and he slugs back the whiskey and the next thing they're deep into the four-poster bed, and, as one American critic so reticently puts it, "nature duly takes its course". What a lark!

And thus we have the very popular new movie Bridget Jones's Baby. But wait: why didn't producers Working Title consider a film called Bridget Jones's Abortion? Look at the facts. Bridget is 43; she's got a big job at a London TV channel; she carries around a dolphin-friendly female contraceptive indicating she wants to avoid a pregnancy; and she can't figure out who's the daddy.

And yet, in this whole scenario, the one word never, ever mentioned is "abortion". The more euphemistic allusion to "choice" isn't even brought up.

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Source: the Independent

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No evidence that unsafe abortion cases are on the rise in Nepal

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by Safe Abortion, Sept. 21, 2016

On 11 September 2016, the Himalayan Times published an article making a series of claims that were very problematic, while offering no evidence for its claims. It claimed first that “cases of illegal and unsafe abortion have been on the rise in Bajura district lately”. As evidence, the article states that one woman had been hospitalised and was “on the verge of death [a week] after taking pills from a local ayurvedic medicine shop…to terminate her pregnancy without any medical consultation”. Although the shop was ayurvedic, the article claims the pills were mifepristone 200mg and misoprostol 200mg, that she had suffered heavy bleeding shortly afterwards, but was hospitalised only two days later. It reports that the hospital chief had informed that she had a very low haemoglobin level and was fighting for her life. The actual cause and diagnosis is unclear.

The article also claims that: “The Hospital has stated that both the medicines are banned for use.” This is in fact not true about mifepristone or misoprostol.

Most of the rest of the claims in the article are even more problematic. For example, it states: “[Her] husband… was unaware about the medications being illegally sold at the local Hospital.” Yet the article had said the pills had been sold to the woman at a local ayurvedic shop, implying they were ayurvedic pills. The article then states: “The ayurvedic shop operator… also said he was unaware about the ban.”

The article then claims that “Though illegal, the medicines are brought from India via Dhangadhi, Mahendranagar, Nepalgunj and other far-western cities. Till date, no any authority has made proper inspection regarding the matter and the medicines are being sold rampantly. However, it also states: “The Chief District Officer … said he is unaware of the situation.”

In fact, medical abortion pills are available legally in Nepal for first trimester abortion from a medical provider. The report of the seriousness of the woman’s condition could have been used to distinguish between medical abortion pills and other pills of unknown content and safety. It could have reported that medical abortion is available free from the public health system if women are within the first trimester of pregnancy, and encouraged women to seek help as early as possible. It should not have made medical abortion pills sound dangerous, when they are very safe, let alone claiming they are banned.

Awareness-raising sessions with journalists that provide them with accurate and evidence-based information and share ideas about how to investigate and report experiences like these in a critical way can help to influence and inform public thinking. The woman in this article was of an unknown age and number of weeks pregnant. Because she was very anaemic, she was likely to be poor, may have had several children already, and the overall state of her health was unknown. A safe abortion may have saved her life and health, while continuing the pregnancy may have put her at great risk, just as an unsafe abortion apparently did.

Anand Tamang, Executive Director of the Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities (CREHPA), commented in response to the article: “It is a shame that some local media tend to blow up a case to maximum proportion. The article first reports the woman went to an ayurvedic medicine shop and then switches it to mifepristone and misoprostol without any evidence. We are going to do workshops with media to raise issues like this for 28 September this year.”

ARTICLE SOURCE: Himalayan Times, by Prakash Singh, 11 September 2016 + PHOTO

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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New Zealand: Chinese most likely to seek abortion

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Sunday, 11 September 2016, The New Zealand Herald

By Lincoln Tan

Young Chinese migrants are misinformed about sex and move to New Zealand with little or no sexual knowledge, a University of Auckland study found.

They are being told masturbation is dangerous and gendered sexual norms prevent some from practising safe sex, making them vulnerable to sexual risks.

Asians have the highest abortion rates and ratio among all ethnic groups in New Zealand.

Chinese born in China who had been in the country for five years or less made up a majority of those who sought abortions, the report said.

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Source: New Zealand Herald

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UK: ‘Why I chose to have an abortion at 39’

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A growing number of women in their 30s and 40s are opting to have terminations. The vast majority – 70 per cent – are in a relationship.

by Jennie O’Sullivan

11 September 2016, The Telegraph

If you’d have told me when I was in my 20s that I’d one day need an abortion, I’d never have believed it – nor agreed with it. Especially not if you’d have told me that I’d have one while happily married with a supportive husband.

And standing alone in the bathroom, at the age of 39, seeing the positive result on the test stick, I felt sure that I wanted this baby.

My heart thumped, but I smiled. Seeing that little pink line – it’s always a miracle, whether planned or not. This certainly hadn’t been planned; it was totally unexpected.

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Source: The Telegraph

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India, Bulandshahr: Teenage girl says forced to undergo abortion after rape

A teen was allegedly forced to undergo abortion by the culprit’s family after being raped, in Bulandshahr, UP. (Representative image)

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ANI, Bulandshahr, UP | Updated: Aug 30, 2016 12:54 IST

Just a month after the brutal gangrape in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district, a teen was allegedly forced to undergo abortion by the culprit’s family after being raped.

The incident took place five months ago when the victim was allegedly raped by a boy in Bhaipura village. According to the victim, the accused threatened her not to disclose the incident to anyone.

Days after the incident, the victim was admitted to a nursing home when her health deteriorated. It was then found that the victim was pregnant.

“I did not tell anyone out of fear. The mother of the rapist told me that she would pay me Rs 1,000 if I undergo abortion,” the victim said.

Dharmendra Yadav, a police official, said the victim told them that she was raped by a person who lived in her neighbourhood five months ago.

“She had an abortion at the nursing home last night. We have the aborted foetus with us and have started the investigation,” he said.

The police have registered a case in this regard and have also started searching for the accused. The cops have also arrested the nursing home officials for doing the abortion.

The state’s health department has seized the nursing home.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Ireland: ‘My mother tried to abort me but I am still pro-choice’

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Broadside: ‘It would have been much better for my mum’s mental and physical health if she had had the abortion,’ says Maria

Mon, Aug 29, 2016, 01:00
Emer O'Toole, The Irish Times

Those of us involved in the fight to win reproductive rights for Irish women are familiar with the term “abortion survivor”. This refers to an anti-choice advocate who claims to have been born following an unsuccessful abortion. Smiling pictures of these people are trotted out alongside quotes about being “saved by the sheer power of Jesus”. The existence of such Bible-thumpers is supposed to act as proof that women shouldn’t have abortion rights.

I have a good friend whose life is the result of a failed abortion: an accomplished scientist, and a warm, witty, life-affirming person. She is also firmly pro-choice. Like me, she’s from a country where women do not have abortion rights. She generously agreed to share her story. Due to potential repercussions in her community, she must remain anonymous.

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Source: Irish Times

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Abortion can be a lonely experience — which is why I openly talk about mine

(Washington Post illustration; iStock)

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By Britany Robinson, August 22
Washington Post

Technically, I wasn’t alone when I had my abortion. There was a doctor at my feet. A nurse at my head. She offered to hold my hand, but I dug my fingernails into my palms instead — hoping one type of pain might distract from another. I wasn’t alone, but in so many ways, I was.

An hour later, I returned to the waiting room. My not-quite-boyfriend’s chin was folded against his chest. I poked his shoulder and motioned toward the door.

“Let’s go,” I said.

I tried to slip my arm through his as we walked through the parking lot on that frigid Chicago morning, but he was stiff and unresponsive. I pulled back and held my elbows tight instead.

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Source: Washington Post

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