Ethiopia – Fertile Ground

Anti-abortion campaigners have their sights set on Ethiopia – a progressive outlier in a region marred by restrictions. Who’s behind the emboldened ‘pro-life’ movement and what’s at stake for women’s rights amid a myriad of other challenges? Bethany Rielly, Maxine Betteridge-Moes and Maya Misikir report from Addis Ababa.

New International
14 June 2024

‘Pray to end abortion in Ethiopia’ reads the bumper sticker on a taxi parked outside a family planning clinic in the bustling heart of Addis Ababa. Jarring but easily dismissed, it’s an old tactic which anti-abortion groups have used the world over.

According to staff at the clinic, the driver used to rent a room in a building across the road. He recruited a worker from a nearby cafe to recite Bible verses to service users at the clinic. Using toy foetuses as props, the duo would implore people to ‘choose life’. The building has since been demolished as part of a massive city-wide redevelopment project, but this seemingly small act of protest is linked to a much larger and sturdier movement taking hold in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa.

Continued: https://newint.org/interactives/2024/fertile-ground/index.html


We need to talk about how U.S. policy is sabotaging reproductive rights in Africa

A controversial US policy is jeopardizing family planning services and fueling a maternal health crisis in Ethiopia and Uganda.

By Annabel Rocha
May 20, 2024

The lack of reproductive health services in Uganda and Ethiopia leaves those experiencing unwanted pregnancies with few options, and poorer communities with even fewer. Only 13 to 16% of poor, married women in Uganda use modern contraception, according to Guttmacher, resulting in four in 10 births being unplanned. In Ethiopia, 4.5 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception, with 46% of the estimated 4.6 million pregnancies in the country unintended. To support family planning services, these governments rely on international and U.S. funding, which has devastating consequences for health initiatives when support is withdrawn.

Continued: https://www.reckon.news/family/2024/05/how-us-policy-is-sabotaging-reproductive-rights-in-africa.html


How the Overturning of Roe Is Causing a Ripple Effect in Ethiopia

The Dobbs ruling has emboldened anti-choice groups worldwide—but it has also inspired the global community to reassert the right to choose.

July 11, 2023
by ABEBE SHIBRU

Last month marked one year since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion nationwide. The decision dealt a devastating blow to reproductive rights in the U.S.—but the fallout has reverberated far beyond U.S. borders.

In Ethiopia, where I am from, abortion has been legal under a broad range of circumstances for 18 years, empowering women to take control of their futures and saving countless lives. I am so proud of the steps the government in Ethiopia has taken to expand access to abortion over the last two decades. Still, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the U.S. last year, these gains are looking increasingly vulnerable.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2023/07/11/ethiopia-abortion-roe-v-wade/


The Forgotten Tragedy Of Unsafe Abortion

Jun 29, 2023
By Amanda Seller, President MSI United States

In the half a century that Roe v. Wade protected the right to choose in the United States, the risks of unsafe abortion became a distant memory. But in countries that liberalized their abortion laws more recently, the deadly consequences of abortion restrictions are still recent. Their experiences are an important reminder that banning abortion endangers women’s lives.

MSI Reproductive Choices is one of the world’s largest providers of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including safe abortion and care after unsafe abortions. Three providers in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Nepal shared memories of the impact restrictive laws had on women in their countries.

Continued: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeseq/2023/06/29/the-forgotten-tragedy-of-unsafe-abortion/?sh=703c3c1a1ec7


Abortion Is Legal in Ethiopia. But Half of These Clinics Won’t Provide Them.

Oct. 18, 2022
By Anu Kumar (Ipas)
Graphics by Sara Chodosh

Abortion has been legal in Ethiopia under a broad range of circumstances for the past 17 years. Nevertheless, at the Shekebedo Health Center, abortions cannot be performed at all. The clinic, situated in a rural part of southwestern Ethiopia where quality health care is hard to access, is partially funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. This funding has stopped the clinic from offering abortions to Ethiopian women.

The U.S. law that has impeded Shekebedo from providing abortions, known as the Helms Amendment, was passed in 1973 during the backlash to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states — and which the current court overturned in June. Helms prohibits the federal government from using foreign aid to pay for “abortion as a method of family planning.”

Unlocked: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/10/17/opinion/helms-amendment-abortion-repeal.html?unlocked_article_code=mHvChNQ4UzOBW3MNBpu0qhgSJ3tcqpa-UNmGiBj2yy43pMKf99_p1ca620Z5rB5wlOZ8hN1dEzZurbnq9ZWZOgqO8RD2ZZeyzD8UfFwOmODM4q6tl0KI0TeXC84EqBwbRYmMmh_0dRsOZqE2ibH08tA33rulyiEfzpEBvDR1GKdhC1nOI8YOCOLdFgJFL1xEXkhD1YOAyP1lCZTt1IoAsBtwznC7WP7tPw_Q_Xm4zAsXyUS5x60HhQGAR6e6JnIarYLGot0BPfIfTTXvzHUqK0_YboSgl8OlttSWwFIhQJT24AsGUaWGQTdVvimylinlbBEXqF6A95wNkKhWx7azF82LE1FDNnX-cPU5TG3dyKp60p6Wt4fMpRc&smid=share-url


What Ethiopia can teach the US about abortion rights

Unsafe abortions once killed hundreds of Ethiopian women each year. Not any more.

Banchiamlack Dessalegn, Africa Director at MSI Reproductive Choices.
28 Sep 2022

As an Ethiopian American, I am disturbed that the United States is rolling back the reproductive rights of American women and girls, one state at a time. Unlike most Americans today, I grew up in a country where abortion bans once restricted reproductive autonomy and claimed many lives.

Now I believe that the same country – Ethiopia – can provide a valuable lesson for activists and providers looking to resurrect rights that were guaranteed through Roe v Wade until it was overturned by the US Supreme Court earlier this year.

Continued: https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/9/28/what-ethiopia-can-teach-america-about-abortion-rights


Ethiopia expanded access to abortions and it saved lives

By Sara Jerving
17 August 2022

As a medical student and then obstetrician-gynecologist resident at the turn of the millennium, Ethiopian Dr. Muir Kassa’s work was bleak. Across the country, delivery and gynecology rooms were overwhelmed with cases of women that had undergone unsafe abortions.

“Lots of women died at my hands because they attempted unsafe abortions at home, by using some unimaginable ways, like inserting umbrella wires. It becomes very difficult to save her once she already has these complications,” he said.

Continued: https://www.devex.com/news/ethiopia-expanded-access-to-abortions-and-it-saved-lives-103397


Abortion Providers From Around the World Share the Dangers of Practicing Under Bans

7/13/2022
by MSI REPRODUCTIVE CHOICES

Over the last 30 years, 59 countries have relaxed abortion restrictions. This includes 18 countries that have overturned complete bans on abortion. In stark contrast, with Roe v. Wade overturned, the U.S. joins the ranks of only three other countries to have restricted access in that time: Poland, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

So, while the news from the U.S. is cause for alarm, it also reminds us of how far we’ve come, and why we cannot turn back the clock in countries that have liberalized abortion. The following stories of abortion providers in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Nepal of life before their countries legalized abortion show the U.S. how restricting abortion rights can endanger women’s lives.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2022/07/13/abortion-providers-bans-maternal-mortality-women-die-nepal-ethiopia-cambodia/


Northern Ethiopia Crisis: Sexual and reproductive healthcare

By Julie Taft
20 January 2022

In the Northern Ethiopian regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar, an estimated 5.2 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, and an estimated 3.5 million people from these regions have been displaced after more than a year of conflict, which began in November 2020. Among them are an estimated 118,000 pregnant women and 1.3 million women of reproductive age, with those figures set to grow with the ongoing crisis.

The dynamics of the conflict in northern Ethiopia remain complex and fluid, but one thing remains clear: at the heart of this crisis are millions of people in need, particularly women and girls.

Continued: https://guardian.ng/opinion/ethiopian-tigray-crisis-sexual-and-reproductive-healthcare-as-a-core-need/


From ‘Conscientious Objection’ to ‘Conscientiously Committed’ – How OBGYNS can advocate for bodily autonomy in access to safe abortion

1 September 2021
FIGO - Advocating for Safe Abortion Project, Committee on Safe Abortion

In this FIGO Long Read, we provide a round-up of a recent roundtable discussion hosted by FIGO's Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP) and Committee on Safe Abortion. Together with partners, we explored the critical issue of conscientious objection and its impact on the availability of and access to legal and safe abortion services.

Quote by Laura Gil: Sadly ‘conscientious objection’ has become a widespread  barrier for many people to access the care that they need.   It is very common to hear that women or girls cannot get an abortion on time, got an unsafe abortion, or didn't get  one at all because of ‘conscientious objection‘ from  the available personnel.

Continued: https://www.figo.org/news/conscientious-objection-conscientiously-committed-how-obgyns-can-advocate-bodily-autonomy