Women struggle to access abortion as pandemic adds to hurdles in Europe

By Catarina Demony
NOVEMBER 16, 2020

LISBON (Reuters) - Helplines across Europe have reported higher demand for their services as the coronavirus pandemic adds to the hurdles many women face to access abortion.

While abortion is legal in most of Europe, some women have struggled to get appointments in public health systems overwhelmed by the pandemic. Others could not escape abusive partners because of lockdowns, non-governmental organisations and some women who chose to have an abortion told Reuters.

Continued: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-europe-abortion/women-struggle-to-access-abortion-as-pandemic-adds-to-hurdles-in-europe-idUSKBN27W11P


As Polish abortion laws tighten women fear an impossible choice

Her baby could not possibly survive. Still they decided she should have it

Kasia Strek, Warsaw | Peter Conradi

Saturday November 07 2020

Sitting on a hard plastic seat in the corridor of the Bielanski Hospital in
north Warsaw last week, waiting for her abortion pill to take effect,
Malgorzata quietly recounted her struggle to get a termination for a foetal
abnomality in a country bitterly divided over the sanctity of unborn life.

While huge crowds have been on the streets to oppose a hardening of Poland’s already
strict abortion laws, Malgorzata has had to travel from hospital to hospital to
find one willing to help her.

It was six weeks ago, during the 12th week of her pregnancy, that the
34-year-old businesswoman learnt there was something wrong with the baby she
was carrying: it was too small, did not move much and there was an abnormality
in the jawbone.

Continued: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/as-polish-abortion-laws-tighten-women-fear-an-impossible-choice-fbhgvj6gk


Abortion Without Borders: a bold, feminist reply to Poland’s draconian laws

Meet the women across Europe who are resisting threats, both old and new, to reproductive rights in Poland.

Claudia Torrisi
28 September 2020

“It was the most incredible, amazing experience of my life,” the veteran women’s rights activist Mara Clarke told me. “It was totally insane. But also really wonderful. And proof that sisters and siblings can get shit done when they want to.”

In December 2019, three months before coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, a group of women from across Europe launched a bold, feminist response to Poland’s draconian anti-abortion laws: Abortion Without Borders.

Continued: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/abortion-without-borders-a-bold-feminist-reply-to-polands-draconian-laws/


COVID-19 created double barrier for Maltese women’s access to abortion

The shutdown from COVID-19 in Malta laid bare the barriers for women to have access to abortion services

23 July 2020
by Matthew Vella

The shutdown from COVID-19 in Malta laid bare the barriers for women to have access to abortion services, with more people reaching out to activists and charities and seeking medical abortion pills online.

Pro-choice activist Liza Caruana-Finkel, an independent researcher, said COVID-19 had highlighted the problems of a system in which pregnant people in Malta secretly travel for abortions abroad or secretly order abortion pills online.

Continued: https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/103666/covid19_created_double_barrier_for_maltese_womens_access_to_abortion#.XxmmGud7lPY


UK – Abortions are for everyone – it’s time for fully inclusive services

The idea that abortion is always a clear choice is far too simplistic and minimises the experiences of lots of those seeking abortion care

Annabel Sowemimo
July 5, 2020

A conversation on how we think about abortion access and how inclusive our services are is long over due. For far too long, the abortion movement has championed access for all those that require abortion care but with little acknowledgement of the wider structures that govern our reproductive health.

While it is estimated that a quarter of all pregnancies end in abortion – the idea that abortion is always a clear choice is far too simplistic and minimises the experiences of lots of those seeking abortion care. Recent Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) data revealed that black women are more likely to report a consecutive abortion compared to their white and Asian counterparts.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/abortion-inclusive-reproductive-rights-transgender-black-women-a9602181.html


Charities report rise in Maltese requests for abortion pills during lockdown

Charities report rise in Maltese requests for abortion pills during lockdown
Women in Malta, where abortion is banned, have been unable to travel abroad for terminations

Lucy Mansfield
Published on Fri 19 Jun 2020

Women in Malta seeking an abortion during the pandemic are being forced to procure their own miscarriage or keep an unwanted pregnancy, even when the child has a severe abnormality.

Overseas charities have reported large increases in requests for abortion pills from women in Malta during the pandemic. Women On Web, an online community based in the Netherlands, received 45 pill requests in March and 47 in April, up from 18 in February, with three women who requested abortion pills saying they had been raped by their partner during lockdown.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/19/charities-report-rise-in-maltese-requests-for-abortion-pills-during-lockdown


‘Like Ireland on steroids’: Malta’s abortion taboo leaves women in despair

'Like Ireland on steroids': Malta's abortion taboo leaves women in despair
Border closures have trapped women seeking safe terminations and exposed the plight of those who cannot afford to travel

Megan Clement and Bertrand Borg in Valetta
Thu 11 Jun 2020

The nurse who told Marija she was still pregnant thought she was giving her patient good news. She chided Marija, who was seven weeks along, for not starting her vitamins sooner and sent her home.

But Marija (not her real name) was devastated. Six days earlier, she had tried to terminate the pregnancy with abortion pills she ordered online. But she had experienced terrible morning sickness throughout her pregnancy, and had thrown up after taking the first of the two pills. She was worried the medication had not had time to work before she vomited. After taking the second pill and bleeding for a few days, she went to the hospital to find out if she had miscarried.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/11/like-ireland-on-steroids-maltas-abortion-taboo-leaves-women-in-despair


COVID-19 exposed how women continue to be ‘disproportionately affected in society’

COVID-19 exposed how women continue to be 'disproportionately affected in society'

Giulia Magri
Sunday, 31 May 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, both locally and on a global scale, how women continue to be disproportionately affected; whether with regard to violence, losing their jobs, or not gaining full accessibility to the contraceptive pill, women’s rights activist and lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

“In the ideal post-COVID-19 reality, authorities need to stop throwing the word equality around. Policymakers need to truly see how women are being affected and ensure that the required change takes place. We need to be practical and listen to one another if we genuinely want to reach equality. Women are suffering and I believe that sexual reproductive rights are an integral part of women’s rights and we need to acknowledge that.”

Continued: https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-05-31/local-news/COVID-19-exposed-how-women-continue-to-be-disproportionately-affected-in-society-6736223695


In Poland, Abortion Access Worsens Amid Pandemic

In Poland, Abortion Access Worsens Amid Pandemic
Abortions were already difficult to obtain and then came the coronavirus.

By Jessica Bateman, Marta Kasztelan
May 1, 2020

The woman was 21 weeks pregnant when she contacted Abortion Without Borders (AWB), a network of activist groups that advises Polish women on how to access safe terminations. Normally, it would have been relatively simple to book a flight to the United Kingdom, where she could legally access a second-trimester abortion. But the coronavirus outbreak changed everything.

“We got her an appointment, but travel was a different matter,” said Mara Clarke, the founder of Abortion Support Network (ASN), which is part of AWB and helps women obtain abortions overseas. Poland closed its borders and grounded all flights and cross-border public transportation on March 15, meaning the woman would have had to travel to the German border, cross it, and take a train to one of Berlin’s airports.

Continued: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/01/poland-abortion-access-worsens-coronavirus-pandemic/


UK – Anti-abortion groups using geo-fencing tech to target women inside clinics

Anti-abortion groups using geo-fencing tech to target women inside clinics
Targeted ads, fake websites, and digital dossiers form a range of technologies used by organisations opposed to abortions

By Michael Cogley, Technology Correspondent
21 April 2020

Anti-abortion groups are using “geo-fencing” technology to target ads towards women inside abortion clinics, a new report has found.

The technology creates a virtual boundary around an area that will trigger a response when a mobile phone enters or leaves an area.

Continued: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/04/21/anti-abortion-groups-using-geo-fencing-tech-target-women-inside/