The amendments in the MTP Act bill are flawed| Analysis
A woman’s right to reproductive freedom remains subordinated to the medical and legal regime
Feb 28, 2020
The Union Cabinet’s approval of the Amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971, in January, sets the stage for a small though belated step forward. In a country where unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal mortality, taking a toll of 13 lives each day, the law and the health system will need to do much more than the proposed MTP Amendments Bill, 2020.
It is a welcome amendment that the bill inter alia proposes to place an unmarried woman and her partner at par with a married woman and her husband, in securing abortion due to contraceptive failure. Jurisprudentially, this carries forward the rationale of the law against domestic violence which makes no distinction between the rights and protections available to a woman, whether in marriage or a live-in relationship. This recognition of women’s sexual agency will encourage access to safe abortion facilities as the stigma is erased.
This Southern State Just Repealed Decades of Abortion Restrictions
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expected to sign a bill overturning several anti-abortion laws. That's good news for people across the South.
by Amelia Harnish
Feb 28 2020
When Rachel Scruggs, 25, found out she was pregnant last fall, she knew immediately she would need an abortion. Just weeks prior, she had extricated herself from an emotionally abusive relationship, and she already had a 5-year-old son to look after. Scruggs, who works as a waitress in Manassas, Virginia, took the day off and found a ride to the nearest abortion provider in Falls Church.
At her appointment, Scruggs learned she was seven weeks along, meaning she could have a medication abortion using the drug Mifeprex. Although major medical groups agree that medication abortion can be safely prescribed by midlevel providers like nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants and administered at home, Virginia law requires that a physician prescribe it and and FDA rules mandate that it be administered in the office.
The Next Big Abortion Case Comes Down to John Roberts
By Irin Carmon, The Intelligencer
Feb. 28, 2020
Almost four years ago, I sat on a cable-news set waiting for the Supreme Court to hand down a ruling on a Texas abortion law that, reputable medical organizations agreed, amounted to a bogus justification for shutting down abortion clinics. The live feed was trained on candidate Hillary Clinton’s Cincinnati rally, featuring Elizabeth Warren, who had just endorsed her.
Alike in blonde bobs and jewel tones, if not much else, the two raised their clasped hands to the sky in a show of party unity and the hint of an all-female ticket, or at least a future in which reproductive autonomy, along with everything else, didn’t depend on the whims of a tiny number of white men. The particular man we were waiting on that day was Justice Anthony Kennedy. Minutes later, the networks cut away to announce that his vote in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt would keep the clinics open, ruling that the Texas law placed an unconstitutional burden on women.
More teenage girls attempt unsafe abortion in Sunyani West Municipality
Friday 28th February, 2020
By Dennis Peprah, GNA
Odumase (B/R), Feb. 28, GNA – Twenty cases of unsafe abortion were reported in the Sunyani West Municipality of the Bono Region in 2019 says the Municipal Health Directorate.
The cases were reported at Chiraa, Fiapre, Odumase and Nsoatre among girls between 12 and 18 years, but no death was recorded.
The Real Challenges of Exercising the Right to an Abortion—and What You Can Do About It
by Carole Joffe and David S. Cohen
For almost half a century, every American woman has had the constitutional right to an abortion.
But—as U.C. San Francisco sociologist Carole Joffe and Drexel law professor David S. Cohen show in their new book, Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America—the reality of exercising one’s reproductive rights is riddled with hurdles designed by anti-abortion activists and politicians.
Abortion Clinics Are Getting Nickel-and-Dimed Out of Business
From legal battles to securing vendors to getting the walls painted, every budget line is a struggle.
By Cynthia Koons and Rebecca Greenfield
February 27, 2020
Amy Hagstrom Miller, owner of Whole Woman’s Health in Austin, has faced many existential threats to her business. When Texas passed a law in 2013 requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, she was forced to close the clinic. She fought the measure all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 2016, she prevailed. By a 5–3 decision, the court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that the law wasn’t medically justified. There’s an iconic photo of Hagstrom Miller descending the Supreme Court steps afterward, fist raised, smile radiant. Nine months later, she reopened her clinic.
It looked like a happy ending. But a year later the Austin clinic was on the brink again.
No, abortion providers aren’t craven opportunists. They care for their patients.
A Louisiana case before the Supreme Court could quietly stifle Roe v. Wade litigation.
By David S. Cohen and Carole Joffe
Feb. 26, 2020
In its first Trump-era abortion case, the Supreme Court will be considering a sneaky issue next week that could, without much fanfare, drastically curtail abortion rights litigation — and, ultimately, access to abortion. This issue has nothing to do with the constitutionality of abortion and everything to do with what the court thinks about abortion providers: Are they caring medical professionals, or are they craven opportunists?
In June Medical v. Russo, Louisiana is arguing that abortion providers don’t have the best interests of their patients in mind and therefore shouldn’t have standing to bring lawsuits on their behalf. That’s simply not true.
Win or Lose, Trump’s Policies on Women’s Health Inflict Damage
February 25, 2020
by Barbara Crossette
Whether or not Donald Trump will be re-elected president on Nov. 3, a tough debate is likely to begin soon in the United States Congress over the national budget for the unpredictable year ahead. Reproductive health issues rank high on the agenda for women’s rights advocates.
Trump’s proposed budget would continue to restrict funds for reproductive health sharply, including family planning, to suit the antichoice crowd that is apparently considered an important vote bank. These funds, moreover, would be limited to bilateral aid to allies and other supportive nations. These “friends of Trump” are expected to be active in the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women, beginning on March 9 at the United Nations in New York. They include Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, some diplomats say.
Deadly secrets and rise of abortion in marriages
A significant number of women who procure abortion for the first time are likely to do it again
By KINUTHIA MBURU
Feb 25, 2020
Evelyn Wambui (not her real name) had her career and family life all planned out. She wanted to have three children and a stable career by the age of 36. Everything had gone according to plan by the time she gave birth to her third born in February 2018. She had a good career as a human resource manager at an insurance firm in Nairobi. She was also married with two children aged eight and five years. Six months after the birth of her third born, Evelyn started taking birth control pills. “Pills were my most favourable option at the time. I was not ready to use an intrauterine coil. I had also ruled out the Jadelle levonorgestrel implant because of previous heavy menses and constant spotting,” she says.
Having taken her pills faithfully, Evelyn was shocked when she started to miss her periods last year. It started in August, a year after she started taking the pills. “I was not alarmed at first. I had taken my pills well and there was no way I could have been pregnant,” she says. But she knew something was wrong when she missed her periods for the second month in a row. “I became very anxious. I wanted to take a test, but I was afraid. I decided to wait it out for another month,” she adds.
Canada must boost foreign aid for feminist agenda to have sustained impact, experts say
Michelle Carbert, Ottawa
Feb 25, 2020
International development experts say the federal government must boost its foreign-aid spending toward the UN target if it wants its feminist agenda to have a meaningful and sustained impact.
The government unveiled its feminist international assistance policy in 2017 as a cornerstone of its foreign agenda. The policy, which focuses on improving the lives of women and girls around the world, came at a critical time for the sexual- and reproductive-health and rights sector. In January of that year, President Donald Trump reinstated the global gag order prohibiting U.S. government financial support for international organizations that provide abortions or give abortion advice, leaving a US$600-million global funding gap.