From Emergency Room to Prison: Health Care Providers Are Most Likely To Report Pregnant People

What new research into the criminalization of self-managed abortions hints about a post-Dobbs world.

Nov 20, 2023

In 2013, an Indiana woman showed up at an emergency room suffering from severe vaginal hemorrhaging. At first, Purvi Patel denied she had been pregnant. But, eventually, Patel told doctors she had a stillbirth. The hospital staff did not believe her. So, her doctor—a member of the anti-abortion American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists—called the cops.  

As a new report shows, Patel isn’t alone: Even before the fall of Roe, women were reported by doctors to law enforcement for conducting self-managed abortions, or SMAs. While only one state, Nevada, outright criminalizes SMAs, health care workers still reported pregnant people to law enforcement all across the country. And in a post-Dobbs world, experts worry this criminalization could get worse. 


Abortion is decriminalized in Mexico, but the social and cultural stigma remains

Mexico's Supreme Court decriminalized abortion nationwide in September, but reproductive rights advocates grapple with the challenge of “social decriminalization.”

Nov. 2, 2023
By Isabela Espadas Barros Leal

MEXICO CITY — Every recovery room at Fundación ILE, an abortion clinic in Mexico City’s Roma Sur neighborhood, is equipped with a small bed, blankets, sanitary pads and a turquoise journal.

The journals are filled with letters written by women minutes after having had abortions.

Some of them detail the reasons they chose to undergo the procedure. Others have messages of encouragement for the next women who will be in their position.


UK – Abortion and sexual health are still top ‘taboo’ women’s health issues, study finds

Menstruation, menopause, and mental health are other topics that women consider to be "private matters", the research found.

Sun, Oct 8, 2023

Abortion, sexual health, and menstruation are still the top “taboo” subjects surrounding women’s health, according to research. The study of 5,022 women found 29 percent believe there are stigmas around discussing menopause, while a quarter (24 percent) feel the same way about mental health.

This figure rises to 34 percent among 18-34s – but decreases to 13 percent in respondents over 55.


Uganda – Abortion-associated stigma affecting access to Post-Abortion Care – MOH

The Independent
September 30, 2023

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | While the government has put in place medical care services to support mothers who need post-abortion care in all healthcare centers, the Ministry of Health reveals that many of them still die due to complications without seeking help.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Dr. Charles Olaro, the Director of Curative Services in the Health Ministry revealed that despite awareness efforts about the availability of such services that help women battling complications post-abortion, many still end up in the medical ward even when they turn up to hospitals because they provide wrong information to health workers.


Imprisoned for abortion: Many Rwandan women are now free but stigma remains

September 2, 2023
Sarah McCammon

On the day she was attacked, Akimanizanye Florentine had been trying to earn money to help get through a difficult time at home.

Akimanizanye, who goes by Florentine, was in her late teens then, living in northern Rwanda. She says her family had been struggling after her father had died


Canada – How pro-life bias is limiting reproductive healthcare access in rural Ontario

Right-to-life groups are increasing stigma and barriers to preventing and eliminating pregnancies

By Mary Baxter
August 2, 2023

After the condom broke, Amanda’s* boyfriend hurried to the drugstore to get the morning-after pill. Anxiety eddied as Amanda waited for him to return. The teenage couple had experienced pregnancy scares before but had never resorted to emergency contraception. A baby couldn’t be in the picture yet, Amanda knew.

In 2018, Amanda was 19 years old. The teen from Chatham-Kent, a rural municipality in southwestern Ontario, had dropped out of high school in Grade 11. They struggled with mental health and lived with their parents. They were unemployed. Their boyfriend, the same age, hit them.


New toolkit released to tackle stigma experienced by abortion care providers

14 Jun 2023

Today the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RCOG) Making Abortion Safe programme (MAS) has released a new toolkit. The toolkit summarises the evidence base and identifies current practices and resources that could help reduce and manage the stigma which recent research undertaken by the MAS programme (RCOG 2021, unpublished) indicates is experienced globally by those working in abortion care.

The Making Abortion Safe programme is a multi-country advocacy programme, led by the RCOG, and delivered in partnership with healthcare professionals in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan, which aims to improve women and girls’ access to quality and safe abortion, post abortion care and/or post abortion contraception, by addressing the barriers they face in these countries and beyond. A core component of this work has been to research the stigma experienced by healthcare professionals working in abortion care and to increase awareness of the need for, and ways in which organisations can tackle this issue.


Asian Americans do not have access to abortion information, survey finds

Nearly half of respondents said they did not know where to access the medication if they needed it

Mary Yang
Wed 31 May 2023

Asian Americans do not have adequate access to information about how to obtain an abortion, according to a new report.

Cultural stigmas against conversations about sexual and reproductive health and a lack of in-language information on abortion has stifled knowledge of abortion care among Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, researchers found.


Australia – Women share difficulties and stigma around accessing abortion care with Senate inquiry

By political reporter Georgia Hitch
Feb 25, 2023

Feeling shamed and judged, travelling hundreds of kilometres and ending up significantly out of pocket: these are some of the issues raised by women in their own words with abortion access in Australia.

The stories were gathered by Monash University as part of an ongoing research project into what barriers, or enablers, there are for people seeking abortions.


India has a liberal abortion law — then why are unsafe abortions so rampant?

An adult abortion seeker doesn’t need a husband or partner’s permission to get an abortion, and can terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks. And yet, 67% of the abortions in the country are unsafe.

Sukanya Shaji

When Dr Suchitra Dalvie was a trainee back in 1995, she was assisting in the surgery of a woman who had internal injuries following an abortion. “She had sepsis due to sticks being inserted in her uterus for termination of pregnancy,” Dr Suchitra, a gynaecologist who is now the Coordinator at the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership tells TNM. This is neither an isolated incident nor have things changed much in the last 25 years. “While such cases may be rarer in cities now, they are very much present in rural and semi rural areas due to lack of access to safe abortion services”, she says. Some studies estimate that at least eight women die in India due to an unsafe abortion every single day — 67% of abortions in the country between 2007 and 2011 are believed to have been unsafe. “Young women aged 15–19 were at the highest risk of dying from an abortion-related complication,” according to the United Nations Population Fund’s State of World Population Report 2022.

All this in a country that has one of the most liberal on-paper abortion laws in the world.