The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the longstanding abortion ruling will have a chilling effect on reproductive healthcare provision in low income and middle income countries.
BMJ 2022; 378
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1844 (Published 11 August 2022)
Sally Howard, freelance journalist1, Geetanjali Krishna, freelance journalist
In 2018 a reproductive health organisation in Kenya found that anti-abortion advocates had put the address of its reproductive rights helpline on social media. “It was a veiled threat,” its programme manager, Mina Mwangi, tells The BMJ. “They wanted us to know that they knew how to get us.”
On 24 June 2022 the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected women’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.1 Sexual and reproductive health rights organisations across the world, including Mwangi’s, feared the effects of the overturning in terms of funding and potential attacks. “We are heightening our security because of how emboldened the opposition are,” Mwangi says, adding that she dreads a potential withdrawal of funds from US non-governmental organisations: her organisation receives over 50% of its funding from US donors.
Thursday, April 14, 2022
It usually begins with a chilling call, “Babe, we need to talk”. This is a clear signal that things are thick. After a period of careless fun with a ‘sponsor’, she misses her periods, then reality sets in.
Barely out of her teens and in the first or second year of college, she finds herself in an awkward situation: Should she procure an abortion or live with the stigma? Young, jobless and desperate, many university students prefer terminating the pregnancy.
April 12, 2022
Anthony Idowu Ajayi
The United Nations Population Fund recently released the 2022 State of World Population report. It highlights that almost half of all pregnancies between 2015 and 2019 were unintended. That amounts to roughly 121 million unintended pregnancies each year.
Unintended pregnancy is defined as pregnancy among women who were not planning to have any (more) children. This includes pregnancies that occurred earlier than desired. The report also says over 60% of unintended pregnancies end in abortion. And 45% of all abortions performed globally are unsafe. About 7 million women a year are hospitalised as a result.
November 7, 2021
Benin’s parliament has voted to legalise abortion in most circumstances. This is a groundbreaking move by the west African country given that 92% of women of reproductive age on the continent live in countries which have restrictions – some moderate, some severe – on abortions. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked reproductive health expert, Ramatou Ouedraogo, to unpack the significance of this ruling.
What does Benin’s new abortion law say?
Benin’s new abortion law, which amends a previous one, now states that:
Most of the 500,000 terminations are unsafe, prompting Ghetto Radio host Maji Maji to ask if abortion should be made legal in Kenya.
Published on 24 August 2021
Radio celebrity Julius Owino, known as Maji Maji, recently made a startling claim to start off a discussion about abortion in Kenya.
“500,000 abortions hizo uhappen Kenya [happen in Kenya] nationwide, according to statistics,” he said on Ghetto Radio.
March 30, 2021
Anthony Idowu Ajayi, Boniface Ushie, Caroline Kabiru
There has been tremendous growth in the number of studies on sexual and reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa in the past two decades. Notably, there has been an increase in research documenting what works in improving adolescents’ health and wellbeing.
However, the use of findings from these studies to inform the development of policies is low. For example, research shows that educating young people about their sexuality and giving them access to contraceptive methods has lifelong benefits. But few sub-Saharan African countries have enacted laws or policies that follow through on the evidence.
By Mohammed Yusuf
March 04, 2021
NAIROBI - Women's rights activists in Kenya have welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s order revoking the ban blocking U.S. funding to women’s health organizations that provide abortion or abortion-related services. Critics say the so-called gag rule left women uninformed about safe options to end a pregnancy.
Forty-five-year-old Najma Wangoi lost her sister in 2018 after she bought medicine from a drug store to induce an abortion and it led to her death.
Survey on Safe Abortion in Sierra Leone starts May
By Mabinty M. Kamara
21 March 2020
The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), an Independent Research Institution based in Kenya, in partnership with Statistics Sierra Leone, have announced that a proposed survey on safe abortion in Sierra Leone will start in May this year.
The revelation was made on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ conference held to discuss and understand common problems associated with abortion in the country.
Kenya split over campaign to give women the right to safe abortions
MP Esther Passaris says lives are being put at risk in a country where 40% of pregnancies are unplanned
Ginger Hervey in Nairobi
Tue 17 Mar 2020
The pills arrived with no instructions. Delivered on a Sunday to Joy’s home in Kayole, an informal settlement in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, by someone she didn’t know.
She had ordered them because she was pregnant, and didn’t want to be. At 19, she said, she couldn’t support a baby, and the father had stopped answering his phone after she told him. Desperate, she had asked an older friend, who said she knew someone who could help.
Statistics Sierra Leone to start survey on safe abortion
By Mabinty M. Kamara
16 March 2020
Statistics Sierra Leone, in Partnership with the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC), an independent research institution based in Kenya, is set to conduct a research on resources available to access safe abortion in Sierra Leone.
The research, according to Samuel Ansumana, Director of Communication and Information at Statistic Sierra Leone, falls under a four-year project “Challenging the Politics of Social Exclusion” (CPSE) project to be implemented in Sierra Leone.