USA / Global – Second Trimester Taboo

Abortion pills are more important than ever, and safe far later than most people know

By Cecilia Nowell
Illustrations by Zhenya Oliinyk
Lux Magazine, June(?) issue

In a small Texas courtroom last spring, Erik Baptist, senior counsel for the conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom, insisted that the Food and Drug Administration had been reckless when it approved the abortion pill mifepristone for use before seven weeks of pregnancy in 2000, and then, in 2016, for up to 10 weeks.

The judge agreed, suspending the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, one of two pills used in the typical protocol for medication abortions in the U.S. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule this summer on whether to uphold the suspension or otherwise restrict the use of mifepristone.


Amnesty International launches new campaign on abortion rights
Amnesty International is launching a new campaign calling on people the world over to help make public support for abortion rights visible to all.

Amnesty International
June 24, 2024

Over the past 30 years, huge strides have been taken in the fight for the right to abortion, with laws changing for the better in more than 60 countries. However, there is still much to be achieved, while progress remains under threat.

From Argentina and Benin to Ireland and France, visionary human rights defenders have secured major advances in the formal recognition of abortion rights. The anti-Taliban women’s protests in Afghanistan, the #MahsaAmini protests in Iran and the #GreenWave protests in Latin America are evidence too of extraordinary activist courage in claiming sexual and reproductive rights.


How do we free abortion?

Bethany Rielly learns how feminist movements are organizing to put abortion back in the hands of the people – and keep it there.

17 June 2024
Bethany Rielly

In a narrow street deep in Barcelona’s Raval district is a building with an inconspicuous oval hole in its facade. Above the wooden door is the faint lettering ‘Casa d’Infants Orfes’ (House of Orphaned Infants). From the Middle Ages up to the 19th century, women would place their newborn babies in the wooden hatch and rotate it, allowing the anonymous and safe delivery of the child to the orphanage. This small window into the past is emblematic of a time when the social stigma of having an illegitimate child and extreme poverty forced many women to abandon their child in the dead of night. Today in the US, conservatives are promoting a modern-day equivalent: the ‘baby box’.

An insulated pull-out drawer installed at police and fire stations, these boxes allow desperate women to give up their babies anonymously without fear of prosecution. Introduced in the 1990s to prevent the most extreme cases of child abandonment, the religious Right are now pushing to expand these ‘safe haven’ laws as an alternative to abortion.


Abortion access expert talks about the U.S. position in the global abortion landscape

Rollback of abortion rights post-Dobbs makes U.S. a global outlier.

by Rachel Crumpler
June 5, 2024

Since the Dobbs decision in June 2022, nearly half of states in the United States — including North Carolina — have curtailed access to abortion by implementing increased restrictions.

The significant rollback in abortion legality throughout much of the country puts the United States in sharp contrast to the global trend of loosening abortion laws and increasing protections for abortion rights.


Post-Roe Era Tests Abortion Laws Worldwide

As abortion comes under fire in the United States, some countries have taken a stance toward expanding access

by Mariel Ferragamo
June 5, 2024

As nations around the world have expanded access to reproductive health services, the quality, accessibility, and safety of abortion care has improved, as has maternal health. International authorities have called abortion a crucial aspect of health care. 

Still, opposition to abortion remains strong in parts of the world, especially in the United States. When the United States overturned the right to abortion in 2022, the ruling rattled the nation. Yet the moment spoke to the country's paradoxical and pendulous history with abortion. Even though the United States permitted the practice for decades within its own borders, it has long restricted funding for abortion care abroad.


Proposed WHO Recognition of Center for Reproductive Rights Provokes Storm at WHO Executive Board

June 3, 2024
Elaine Ruth Fletcher

A  bitter debate over proposed WHO recognition of a non-profit center for reproductive health rights, erupted in full force at the WHO Executive Board on Monday – after a tumultuous week of the World Health Assembly where member states largely skirted the increasingly contentious issue of sexual and reproductive health rights.

The proposal by the WHO Secretariat the US-based Center for Reproductive Rights be designated as a non-state actor in “official relations” with WHO – drew fierce opposition from member state blocs of the Eastern Mediterranean and African region – with Qatar threatening to escalate the issue and potentially the criteria for admitting non-state actors into official relations to the World Health Assembly if the WHO recognition of official relations with the organization is approved by the EB.


Countries commit to recover lost progress in maternal, newborn & child survival

30 May 2024
World Health Organization

Alarmed by the stagnation of progress in reducing maternal and child mortality, countries today passed a critical Resolution at the World Health Assembly (WHA) committing to specific actions to prevent deaths of women, babies and children.

Annually, 287,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth, 4.9 million children die of largely preventable causes before their 5th birthday, and there are 1.9 million stillbirths. Most of these deaths are linked to preventable or treatable conditions, and can largely be averted with access to timely, high quality health care services. Progress in reducing maternal deaths has stalled since 2016, while survival gains for newborns and young children have lost pace.


How a Trump win could hurt abortion access around the world

Countries from Ethiopia to Nepal felt the pinch on reproductive health during Trump's first term. What would a second bring?

David Sherfinski
May 30, 2024

RICHMOND, Virginia - This year's election between President Joe Biden and his Republican opponent Donald Trump threatens to upend abortion access and reproductive health services far beyond the United States.

Anti-abortion advocates are already drawing up plans for Trump to reinstate and expand funding restrictions on overseas groups that critics say disrupted reproductive health services like access to contraception in countries from Kenya to Nepal during the former president's four-year term.


Melinda French Gates: The Enemies of Progress Play Offense. I Want to Help Even the Match.

May 28, 2024
By Melinda French Gates

Many years ago, I received this piece of advice: “Set your own agenda, or someone else will set it for you.” I’ve carried those words with me ever since.

That’s why, next week, I will leave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, of which I was a co-founder almost 25 years ago, to open a new chapter in my philanthropy. To begin, I am announcing $1 billion in new spending over the next two years for people and organizations working on behalf of women and families around the world, including on reproductive rights in the United States.


Preventing maternal and child mortality: upcoming WHO Resolution must galvanise action to tackle the unacceptable weight of preventable death

Ali Hajji Adam and Mekdes Daba
May 22 2024

Global progress on improving maternal, newborn, and child survival has stalled. Many regions of the world continue to experience persistently high rates of maternal and child mortality, and despite improvements between 2000 and 2015, progress is now stagnating.1 The combination of ongoing and new conflicts, climate change, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic create a perfect storm to drive back any gains that might have been made during the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era.

The global community is off track from our targets for reducing maternal mortality (SDG 3.1)2 and ending preventable deaths of newborns and children younger than 5 years (SDG 3.2).3 Globally, 287 000 women died from a maternal cause in 2020, averaging 223 deaths of mothers for each livebirth.1 For children younger than 5 years, 4·9 million died globally in 2022, 2·3 million of these in the first month of life.4 In addition, almost 1·9 million babies were stillborn in 2021.5 .