Canada: Abortion services is The Guardian’s top news story of the year

Ann Wheatley, co-chairwoman of Abortion Access Now P.E.I., describes as “very significant’’ the government’s move to provide medical and surgical abortions

Jim Day
Published on December 31, 2016

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - There has been so much suffering for such a long time. Now, finally, 2016 has brought much-anticipated change that was sought for decades through rallies and protests to end one harrowing experience after another for Island women.

But nothing short of the threat of legal action, and the associated hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills, moved our political leaders. Still, the decision was made, and nobody will be able to take that right away from Island women. (Wayne Thibodeau, regional managing editor with The Guardian).

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Source: Charlottetown Guardian

Israel: Two MKs seek adding clerics to abortion committees

Rabbi Yehuda Glick and Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya ask Knesset committee to discuss the matter; MK Dr. Aliza Lavie finds the existing legal situation for terminations flawed and is 'baffled' by two men's attempts to further complicate it.

by Amihai Attali
Published: 31.12.16

An initiative of two Knesset members from both the coalition and the opposition would add clerics to the termination committee from which a woman seeking to end her pregnancy must attain approval.

On Monday, the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality will consider the subject "the need to add clerics to the termination committee." The matter was submitted recently by two different MKs—Rabbi Yehuda Glick (Likud) and Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (Joint List)—in separate applications for a "rapid debate."

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US: It’s Time to Talk About DIY Abortions

Dec 27, 2016, Medium
by Amie Newman

When you hear the phrase “self-induced abortion,” it’s hard not to envision the iconic image of a coat-hanger, the tool women were sometimes forced to use to end an unwanted pregnancy before abortion was legal in the United States. And although abortion has been legal for over 40 years now (since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1972), it’s almost always been more difficult for low-income women, Native American women, and women in the military to access safe abortion care because of the passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, a regulation which drastically limits public funding for abortion. Frustratingly, safe abortion care has become even more challenging to access. That’s why there are a growing number of people attempting do-it-yourself (DIY) methods to self-induce an abortion, according to an article in Broadly.

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U.S.: The East Village Church That Helped Women Get Illegal Abortions

December 26, 2016
By Juan Carlos Castillo
Bedford and Bowery

This week, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

On the 16th of November in 1964, four women and four men appeared in their underwear at the Judson Memorial Church, happily cavorting with each other and rubbing their bodies with carefree smiles. They piled up together, humping and sensually touching each other in a mess of raw fish, chicken and sausages. It was an event devoid of modesty, an unapologetic, uncensored expression of sexuality.

Meat Joy was a performance to protest the censorship of sex and of the female body. But even earlier on, the church’s embrace of the liberalization of women’s bodies was a hallmark of its mission.

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Source: Bedford and Bowery

Serbian Government Backtracks on Russia-Inspired Anti-Abortion Council

Posted 26 December 2016, Global Voices

Serbian government officials are claiming that uproar over alleged plans to establish a state body to persuade women to avoid abortions is all a misunderstanding.

Slavica Đukić Dejanović, a minister without portfolio responsible for demography and population policy, reportedly told pro-government tabloid Informer confirming that the state would “form a body that would raise awareness of all women about the harmful side effects of abortions.” Several other media outlets then picked up on the statement. According to news portal, the council would provide counseling on pregnancy and its termination, and “would include the civil sector, priests and various experts that would be able to help.”

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Source: Global Voices

UK: Abortion law in UK is not widely fit for purpose: Study

Dec 25, 2016, India Alive

A UK study shows that among the challenges women seeking abortion face include inequitable access, a lack of trained staff, stigmatisation and a culture of exceptionalism. The law badly needs reform, the study found.

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Source: India Alive

Serbia Activists Suspect Plan to Curb Abortion

23 Dec 16, Balkan Insight
by Milivoje Pantovic

Serbia’s Demography Minister has denied plans to set up a special body advising women against abortion, but rights activists still suspect a hidden agenda to curb women’s rights.

Serbian civil rights activists have raised their voices against the possible formation of a special body, that could include priests, that would advise women on abortions, after Serbia's Demography Minister, Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, hinted at such a plan in an interview. Later she said she had been misunderstood.

“Activities by which women would be forced to go to consultation, in which even a priests were included, are surely not undertaken for the benefit of the women,” the project coordinator of the Belgrade-based NGO, Women's Autonomous Center, Tanja Ignjatovic, said.

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Source: Balkan Insight

Campaigning for the Right to Safe Abortion: Highlights of the Year

22 December 2016, by Safe Abortion

January 2016

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma refuses to sign the Safe Abortion Act, despite it being passed unanimously by the national Parliament twice with widespread support countrywide and from across Africa. He cannot veto it so he referred the new law to the Constitutional Review Committee in March. Then in June he called for it to be put to a referendum.

Peru government compensates young woman almost a decade after she was denied a legal abortion for anencephaly in historic UN Human Rights Committee abortion case, supported by a range of women's rights and abortion rights groups.

African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights calls for decriminalisation of abortion across Africa in line with the Maputo Protocol.

European Union 2016 budget requires medical care in humanitarian settings to include access to safe abortion.

Guyana Madam Justice Roxane George has interpreted the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995 to permit mid-level providers to deliver medical abortion for pregnancies not more than eight weeks.

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


Montreal woman who had late abortion says she made the right decision

Charlie Fidelman, Montreal Gazette
Published on: December 22, 2016

The Montreal woman who ended her pregnancy at 35 weeks says the experience was so painful that she will never speak about it in public again.

Reaction to her late-term abortion provoked dozens of comments on social media, some compassionate but many vitriolic, with some going so far as to call the woman a baby killer. Why not have the baby and put it up for adoption, demanded one Facebook commentator.

The woman, who asked that her name not be used to protect her identity, told the Montreal Gazette the decision to end her pregnancy was heartbreaking.

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Source: Montreal Gazette

UK: High-quality abortion services come at a price, so let’s pay it

by Ann Furedi
Abortion care charities now have to compete for contracts – and NHS cost-cutting means the cheapest service is almost always commissioned

Ann Furedi is chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service

Thursday 22 December 2016, The Guardian

Abortion today is an extremely safe, straightforward procedure, provided in a highly regulated environment. One in three women in the UK will have an abortion in her lifetime, funded by the NHS (except if she lives in Northern Ireland). This will usually take place within an NHS hospital or in a centre run by one of the independent charitable providers – the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) or Marie Stopes International (MSI). But just because it is safe doesn’t mean corners can be cut, or providers can pick and mix from rules and regulations, as was unearthed in the course of the care quality commission’s investigation of MSI.

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Source: The Guardian