Some people who seek abortions can face prison time in more than 120 countries, analysis shows

In six countries, some abortion seekers can face life in prison, according to a global study of the penalization of abortion.

March 21, 2023
By Julianne McShane

Some people who seek or obtain abortions can face prison time in more than 120 countries, according to an analysis published Monday that sheds new light on international penalties for the procedure.

More than 90 countries have maximum penalties of up to five years of prison time for certain abortion-seekers, while 25 have sentences of between five and 10 years, according to the research, which relied on a World Health Organization database of abortion policies.


Gender equality isn’t possible without abortion and contraception

Access to reproductive health protects women and girls, uplifts them and allows them to prosper.

Banchiamlack Dessalegn, Africa Director at MSI Reproductive Choices
Published On 18 Mar 2023

It is Women’s History Month and the world is bursting with proclamations of support for gender equality and women’s rights. But too often, the general narrative celebrating historical progress on gender issues leaves out abortion and contraception, sidelining the fact that without them, gender equality would have been – and still is – impossible.

This year, millions of women and girls will be denied access to abortion, forced to carry unintended pregnancies to term or resort to unsafe termination. Abortion continues to be unjustly restricted across the world, most recently in the United States, where new state bans are being introduced with the Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the legal protection of abortion established in the 1970s.


#EmbraceEquity: Women’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian settings

March 8, 2023
Aude Langlois, Senior Communications and Marketing Coordinator, FIGO

To mark International Women’s Day 2023, FIGO is highlighting the need to embrace equity in women’s health care. Women and girls in crisis settings are at heightened risk of having limited access to essential health care – including sexual and reproductive health services. To defend the rights of women and girls in humanitarian contexts, it is essential to promote and protect the provision of health services.

The increased vulnerability of women and girls in humanitarian crises 
In crisis settings, women and girls face significant hardships when trying to access sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Chronic fragility and displacement among women and girls puts them at high risk of unwanted pregnancy by increasing their risks of sexual violence, transactional and coercive sex, human trafficking, and other forms of sexual exploitation and violence. 


UN urged to intervene over destruction of US abortion rights

Exclusive: letter from human rights groups says overturning of the constitutional right violates US’s obligations as a UN member state

Poppy Noor
Thu 2 Mar 2023

Top human rights organizations are calling on the United Nations to intervene over the destruction of abortion rights in the US.

In a letter shared in advance with the Guardian and sent on Thursday by nearly 200 organizations and experts, the authors detail how, since the overturning of the federal constitutional right to abortion in June 2022, some 22 million women and girls of reproductive age live in states where abortion access is now either banned or inaccessible.


Married Women Are Most Likely To Opt For Abortions In Developing Countries

Anuradha Varanasi
Feb 28, 2022

Access to safe abortions in low-income and middle-income countries is still a major struggle — thanks to socioeconomic factors, lack of skilled healthcare workers, and patriarchal norms that restrict women’s bodily autonomy, among other barriers. Globally, 45% of all abortions are unsafe and a whopping 97% of them take place in developing countries.

A new study published in the journal PLOS One has highlighted that married women were far more likely to undergo abortions in low-income and middle-income countries. Especially those who had more than four children or were above the age of 30 and highly educated.


A woman dies every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth: UN agencies

New data show major setbacks for maternal health in many parts of the world, highlighting stark disparities in healthcare access

23 February 2023
World Health Organization

Every two minutes, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth, according to the latest estimates released in a report by United Nations agencies today. This report, Trends in maternal mortality, reveals alarming setbacks for women’s health over recent years, as maternal deaths either increased or stagnated in nearly all regions of the world.

“While pregnancy should be a time of immense hope and a positive experience for all women, it is tragically still a shockingly dangerous experience for millions around the world who lack access to high quality, respectful health care,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “These new statistics reveal the urgent need to ensure every woman and girl has access to critical health services before, during and after childbirth, and that they can fully exercise their reproductive rights.”


141 million unintended pregnancies prevented in 2022 – report

The report said there is a steady rise in contraceptive use among women

26 January 2023

In 2022, over 141 million unintended pregnancies were prevented in low and lower-middle-income countries due to the use of contraception.

This is according to an analysis by Family Planning 2030, which released a report on Wednesday looking at their measurement of family planning uptake in 2022.


U.S. Anti-Abortion Activists Are Spreading Clinic Protests Around the World

The Texas-based group 40 Days for Life has brought its aggressive tactics to more than 1,000 cities in 65 countries.

Jessica Bateman
January 9, 2023

There were four or five protesters outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, the first time Dr. Greg Irwin saw them. He was driving to his job as a consultant radiologist when he noticed the group hoisting placards opposite the parking lot, close to the maternity unit. BEFORE I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB I KNEW YOU, one sign read, alongside a Bible reference. “Oh, my God,” Irwin thought. “It’s one of those American protests.”

After he parked in his usual spot, an older woman holding rosary beads smiled as he approached. “We’re holding a prayer vigil,” she explained, adding that they were offering “support and advice” to women. Irwin noticed their placards were branded with the logo of 40 Days for Life. When he googled the name later that night, he expected to find a local church organization. Instead, he discovered the shiny, high-budget website of a Texas-based group, emblazoned with pictures of men in sharp suits with dazzling white teeth. A counter in the corner ticked down the numbers of babies “saved” worldwide. Scrolling, he saw a map festooned with red pins, marking group locations all over the world. Irwin stared at his screen, bewildered. How could there be a connection between a group in Texas and the woman outside his hospital in Scotland?


The fight for women’s rights is a fight against authoritarianism

Ma, Women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch
Jan 2, 2023

We know progress is never linear, and defence of human rights can be a difficult task. Women’s rights gains, however, are particularly fragile. Often disguised in concepts that are presented as harmless, such as the protection of the family and children, or the protection of societal traditions, governments limit women’s autonomy, as if these restrictions were not politically motivated and did not amount to human-rights violations.

Examples of egregious restrictions on women’s rights are not hard to find. The Chinese government’s population policies treat women as “wombs” subject to forced abortions or forced pregnancies depending on the “needs” of the country; Iran’s morality police have brutally enforced compulsory hijab laws on women; Qatar criminalizes extramarital sex where pregnancy acts as evidence against women; Russia and Turkey are deliberately walking back protections against domestic violence; in Afghanistan, the Taliban are once again denying women and girls education, work and most basic freedoms.


For most of history, we haven’t had abortion laws, and we don’t need them now

Let's leave abortion out of the legal system entirely, writes contributor Ainsley Hawthorn

Ainsley Hawthorn · for CBC News
Dec 28, 2022

According to a new study from Angus Reid, three out of five Canadians believe Canada needs a law to guarantee access to abortion.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world without any abortion law on the books. Instead, abortion is treated like other medical procedures and regulated by provincial and territorial health authorities.