The pandemic shows a better way to handle abortion

It is safe and efficient for early terminations to take place at home

Sep 19th 2020
The Economist

For most women deciding how or when to give birth, covid-19 has been a nightmare. Fertility treatments have paused, sexual-health clinics closed and partners been banned from delivery rooms. Yet the pandemic has brought one silver lining. It has shown a better way to carry out early-stage abortions.

Abortion is legal in most of the world, and relatively straightforward in most rich countries. But obstacles remain. They include compulsory waiting times and mandatory counselling. Perhaps the most common obstacle is that the first step in medical abortions (which involve drugs rather than surgery) must take place in clinics. Yet temporary measures set up during the pandemic suggest this is often unnecessary. These temporary measures should now become permanent.


Brazilian doctors condemn new rules on abortion

Lise Alves, The Lancet

Experts say that the new rules for health workers will discourage access to health services and increase the risk of unsafe abortion. Lise Alves reports from São Paulo.

An ordinance passed by Brazil's Health Ministry at the end of August, 2020, related to abortion has led to widespread criticism by doctors. Under the new rules, medical staff must report rapes to police and health workers must offer the patient a chance to see the embryo or fetus via ultrasound before abortion.


COVID-19 lockdowns leading to a rise in violence against women and girls

COVID-19 lockdowns leading to a rise in violence against women and girls
The global COVID-19 pandemic in its indiscriminate spread has claimed loved ones before their time - once bustling cities and neighbourhoods now stand in ‘lock-down’.

14 May 2020
Jameen Kaur

While the spread of COVID-19 is indiscriminate, mounting evidence has revealed that COVID-19 has further compounded existing inequalities putting already marginalised women and girls, often with weaker access to political and economic power, at greater risk, not only to the coronavirus but also to the direct and indirect consequences of lock-down.

FIGO and our 132 National Member Societies commitment to promote women’s health and rights precedes the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the two are explicably linked. UN Women has reported a global rise in domestic violence cases and new evidence released by UNFPA reveals that for every 3 months the lockdown continues an additional 15 million cases of gender-based violence are expected, 13 million women will not be able to access modern contraceptives and there will be an estimate of 325,000 unintended pregnancies.


USA – Abortion during the Covid-19 Pandemic — Ensuring Access to an Essential Health Service

Abortion during the Covid-19 Pandemic — Ensuring Access to an Essential Health Service

Michelle J. Bayefsky, B.A., Deborah Bartz, M.D., M.P.H., and Katie L. Watson, J.D.
Perspective, NEJM
April 9, 2020
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2008006

Each year, nearly 1 million women choose to end a pregnancy in the United States, and about one quarter of American women will use abortion services by 45 years of age. Women’s ability to determine whether and when they have a child has profound consequences for their self-determination and for the economic, social, and political equality of women as a group. Because access to safe abortion care is time-sensitive and vitally important, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other reproductive health professional organizations issued an unequivocal statement on March 18, 2020, that they “do not support Covid-19 responses that cancel or delay abortion procedures.”

Despite ACOG’s position, governors in a number of states have called for a halt to abortion care throughout the Covid-19 epidemic. Governors in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Oklahoma have ordered or supported the cessation of both medication and surgical abortion, while governors in other states have directed that surgical abortion alone must stop.


Jamaica – Editorial | Whither abortion reform?

Editorial | Whither abortion reform?

Jamaica Gleaner
Monday | March 23, 2020

IT IS not clear whether Parliament’s Human Resources and Social Development Committee, which hasn’t had a sitting in recent months, has concluded its hearings on reforming the abortion law and, if it has, what it has recommended to legislators. Its chairman, Ronald Thwaites, will shed light on the matter, as well as informing the public how the committee intends to proceed.

Perchance they are not yet done deliberating, it is this newspaper’s hope that the committee will be inspired by last week’s developments on the matter in New Zealand, which finds its way in their report, and embraced by Jamaica’s legislators.


Thailand – End stigma of abortion

End stigma of abortion

published : 4 Mar 2020

Abortion has long been a highly stigmatised issue in Thailand given that it is considered "sinful" under Buddhist beliefs. Unsafe abortion at illegal clinics has remained an open secret for years.

However, calls for the legalisation of abortion have not been supported by lawmakers mostly due to religious concerns. Sadly, women and girls with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies have been deprived of their right to choose what they want to do with their bodies and their future.


The Guardian view on demography and politics: nationalist narratives must be challenged

The Guardian view on demography and politics: nationalist narratives must be challenged
Women’s autonomy and reproductive rights must be upheld as far-right ideas gain ground

Fri 6 Sep 2019
Guardian Editorial

The speech on Thursday by Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, praising the fertility of Hungarian women as a bulwark of Europe’s survival appealed to dangerous and atavistic myths. That isn’t a reason to ignore it. In fact it needs meeting head-on, for it marks a further irruption into mainstream politics across the rich world of “replacement theory”: the belief that the nature of Europe is threatened by demographic change. This fear has become central to politics in the United States and Australia, as well as many European countries, whether or not they have large immigrant populations themselves. It was one of the drivers of the result of the Brexit referendum, in which hostility towards European immigrants served as a cover for wider xenophobias.


Nepal – Editorial: Make regulations

Editorial: Make regulations
The Act is vague in that it does not explain the standards prescribed for non-governmental and private health institutions that can provide obstetric care

Published: August 28, 2019
The Himalayan Times

Mere passage of a law holds little meaning if the regulations, that is, the guidelines for executing the provisions in the law, are not formulated. This has been the case with the Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Right Act, whose provisions are facing difficulty in their implementation even a year after its endorsement by the Parliament for want of related regulations. In the absence of the regulations, many women are unable to enjoy their rights and seek compensation when their reproductive health rights are violated. Due to the delay in formulating the regulations, health institutions have no option but to keep working as per the old act. The law, among others, has given women the right to decide on when and how many children to have, and also the requirement of her consent on a prescribed format of a health institution should she want a safe abortion.


The Guardian view on abortion in Northern Ireland: standing up for women’s rights

The Guardian view on abortion in Northern Ireland: standing up for women’s rights
With devolution still on hold, the decision by a huge majority of MPs to vote in favour of equal marriage and abortion should be welcomed

Thu 11 Jul 2019

The law on abortion in Northern Ireland is an anomaly that should have been dealt with long ago. The near-total ban, dating back to 1861 and including abortion in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality, is among the most restrictive in the world. It is also an affront to the rights of women – as both the UK supreme court and a United Nations committee ruled separately last year.


Trump’s new rules on Title X and abortion referrals are absurd. How did judges miss that

Trump’s new rules on Title X and abortion referrals are absurd. How did judges miss that?

By The Times Editorial Board
Jun 29, 2019

When the Trump administration announced a new policy denying federal funding to any family planning care providers that dared even to refer a pregnant patient to an abortion provider, three federal district courts correctly concluded that the rule could endanger healthcare for millions of people and issued temporary injunctions preventing it from going into effect around the country. So it was a depressing step backward when, last week, a panel of 9th Circuit judges reversed those courts and lifted the injunctions.