Mara Malagodi, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law
November 10, 2021
Recent legal changes in a number of jurisdictions that have entirely decriminalised abortion are steeped in the language of gender constitutionalism and human rights – whether these changes have taken place via constitutional litigation or statutory reform. As a result, the campaigns for complete decriminalisation in other jurisdictions have now begun to engage in a pragmatic comparative law exercise to advance their cause. Activists deploy the legal arguments and strategies marshalled in those jurisdictions that have completely removed abortion from the purview of their criminal laws alongside domestic constitutional principles and international human rights standards. As such, we are witnessing a global cross-pollination of legal ideas anchored in substantive notions of gender equality and human dignity to challenge legal restrictions to women’s bodily autonomy.
Abortion is the only medical procedure that continues to be consistently treated as a crime around the world. Even those jurisdictions that have partially liberalised their legal regimes continue to criminalise abortion outside of the terms explicitly provided by law. Only a handful of jurisdictions such as China (1979 – excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Canada (1988), Northern Ireland (2019), New Zealand (2020), and Australia (2021), have entirely removed abortion from the purview of their penal laws. Canada did so via constitutional litigation, while the other jurisdictions via statutory reform.
Are illegal abortions in Hong Kong related to ‘class problem’?
High costs for private hospitals and stretched public health services blamed for women turning to black market or mainland to seek help over unwanted pregnancies
Saturday, 02 September, 2017
Increasing numbers of Hong Kong women are risking their lives by seeking illegal abortions at makeshift clinics in the city or on the mainland, an issue which a local lawmaker has condemned as a huge “class problem”.
Speaking to City Weekend after two women were jailed for carrying out illegal abortions in Hong Kong, Shiu Ka-chun, who represents the social welfare sector in the Legislative Council, said Hong Kong’s overburdened public hospitals meant not all pregnant women could get an abortion even if they were eligible. This forced them to resort to dangerous means out of desperation, he added.
Continued at source: South China Morning Post: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2109340/are-illegal-abortions-hong-kong-related-class
Jail for elderly abortion clinic operators
22 Aug 2017
Two elderly women were sentenced yesterday to jail terms of 10 and 17 months for operating an illegal abortion clinic.
Lo Wun-yi, 65, a Chinese medicine practitioner, and unemployed Li Shuk- fan, 75, were convicted of two counts of conspiracy to use an instrument with intent to procure a miscarriage.
Though sympathetic to their "traumatic and difficult" background, deputy High Court Judge Andrew Bruce, said the defendants' conduct amounted to "gross medical negligence."
Continued at source: The Standard: http://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=186535&sid=4
by Justin Heifetz
Nov 14 2016
Legal restrictions, overcrowded public hospitals, and steep private clinic prices often prevent young women in Hong Kong from terminating their pregnancies safely. For many, the only viable option is to cross the border into mainland China, where a host of other obstacles await them.
When Tina was 15 years old, she was on a break between classes at her high school in Hong Kong—just like any other day. As she sat with her friends at their desks, the skirt of her school uniform was suddenly drenched in blood. Her girlfriends pointed to the floor, where there was more blood under her seat. That morning, Tina had taken pills to terminate her second unwanted pregnancy—her boyfriend got them from an illegal clinic not far from her school. But no one told her what would happen next.
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