Brazil’s Supreme Court to vote on decriminalising abortion

Sept 22, 2023

By Katy Watson, BBC News, South America

Brazil's Supreme Court has started voting on whether to decriminalise abortion. However, the session was quickly postponed after a minister called for the vote to take place in person instead of via video - and no new date has yet been set.

Currently, abortion is only allowed in three cases: that of rape, risk to the woman's life and anencephaly - when the foetus has an undeveloped brain. If the Supreme Court votes in favour, abortion will be decriminalised up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.


Australia – These women were told their babies would not survive – but Catholic-run public hospitals refused to provide abortions

Both Jennifer and Amy were devastated when their wanted pregnancies were deemed unviable, but they were forced to go elsewhere when Catholic-run public hospitals would not terminate

by Donna Lu
Tue 5 Sep 2023

When Jennifer* fell pregnant for the first time in August 2019, there was no indication that anything was amiss. But the Melbourne-based healthcare worker was given bad news at her 12-week ultrasound scan: her foetus had a severe genetic condition.

“They detected a severe abnormality in the baby, which I already knew was a girl, so I’d already gotten a bit excited about having a daughter,” Jennifer recalls. “They said … essentially you could choose to bring the baby to term and give birth to her but if you do, she’ll be placed into palliative care immediately, so we’re recommending that you strongly consider a medical termination.”


Australia – ‘I was shocked’: Catholic-run public hospitals refuse to provide birth control and abortion

Publicly funded Catholic hospitals across Australia are using the cover of religion to opt out of providing reproductive care – and experts say it has created a ‘postcode lottery’ for access to services

by Donna Lu and Melissa Davey
Mon 21 Aug 2023

When Sarah*, a Melbourne mother, was pregnant with her second child, her GP gave her a surprising warning: if she had any serious complications, concerns about the viability of the pregnancy or believed she might be miscarrying, she should go to the Royal Women’s hospital rather than the Mercy Hospital for Women, where she was planning to deliver the baby.

The reason, the GP told her, was that the Mercy – a public hospital in Melbourne’s north-east – would not assist in terminating a pregnancy due to its Catholic affiliation.


Improved levels of care for teen mothers in Thailand

Teen mothers in Thailand are now receiving postpartum treatments and less stigmatisation.

By Danielle Summer

For years, thousands of teens have been forced to feel shame or guilt after conceiving an unplanned pregnancy under the age of 18. But in 2023, pregnant teens and adolescent mothers are getting valuable support in Thailand.

Although in 2020, abortion was decriminalised in Thailand, many women and girls continue to be denied the service by medical professionals. Due to objections from medical staff and a lack of affordable and convenient access to abortions, many women are forced to take matters into their own hands.


USA – ‘Conscience’ bills let medical providers opt out of providing a wide range of care

Carly Graf, KFF Health News
July 31, 2023

A new Montana law will provide sweeping legal protections to health care practitioners who refuse to prescribe marijuana or participate in procedures and treatments such as abortion, medically assisted death, gender-affirming care, or others that run afoul of their ethical, moral, or religious beliefs or principles.

The law, which goes into effect in October, will gut patients’ ability to take legal action if they believe they didn’t receive proper care due to a conscientious objection by a provider or an institution, such as a hospital.


USA – Abortion Denied: Reproductive Injustice Behind Bars

"[This situation] should make you wonder whether we, as a society, should be incarcerating pregnant people in the first place.”

July 28, 2023

K.Winston didn’t know she was pregnant when she entered the Cuyahoga County Jail. The intake process required a test for tuberculosis, one that typically involves injecting a fluid beneath the skin. Winston is allergic to that fluid, so jail staff planned to X-ray her instead.

First, they gave her a pregnancy test. Then, they told her, “We can’t do the test because you’re pregnant. You can go back to your [housing unit],” she said.


The Pain and Promise of Europe’s Abortion Laws

The continent’s abortion laws are a patchwork of progress and setbacks. And for many, accessing the right care at the right time is still a lottery.

JUN 22, 2023

ON MAY 26, 2018, Irish women spilled onto the streets to celebrate a historic win for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. The staunchly Catholic country had overwhelmingly voted to scrap the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, under which abortion was essentially illegal—one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world.

Five years on, the mood has sobered. Under the new laws, those seeking an abortion have to undergo a mandatory waiting period, adhere to strict time limits, and contend with a lack of providers. From 2019 to 2021, 775 people made use of their right to travel freely between the United Kingdom and Ireland to head to Britain to access abortion services. In 2020, despite the pandemic, nearly 200 people still traveled across the Irish Sea to get abortion care in the UK. The Abortion Support Network (ASN), a charity that helps people in Europe access abortion through telemedicine or by supporting travel, says every three days they hear from someone in Ireland looking for help.


Spain’s new abortion law has difficult realities to address

How regional inequality, poor planning and conscientious objections have affected abortion rights in Castilla y León

Elena Ledda
9 June 2023

When Blanca* decided she wanted an abortion, she was told she'd have to travel almost three hours to find Spain’s nearest health centre with free provision. Out of desperation she ended up paying 400 euros at a private clinic, where she was offered only a local anaesthetic.

Her experience is just one example of the grim reality for women and pregnant people that a progressive new law is hoping to address.


Abortion now on the table of Finnish government talks

By Pekka Vanttinen |
Jun 1, 2023

The Christian Democrats are pushing for the right of healthcare workers to refuse to carry out abortions amid the now five-week-long government talks, Hufvudstadsbladet reported on Thursday.

The Christian Democrats, currently in government talks with the National Coalition Party, the Finns Party and the Swedish People’s Party, would like to see the right to be included in the programme, reported HBL. The Christian Democrats refused to deny or confirm the news.


USA – The Weldon Amendment: A Poison Pill Rider for Abortion Access

National Women’s Law Center
May 30, 2023

A health care provider’s personal beliefs should never dictate health care. Yet a federal law known as the Weldon Amendment allows personal beliefs, not patient health and the standard of care, to determine the care a patient receives.

The Weldon Amendment is a rider that has been attached to the annual Labor-HHS appropriations bill in Congress since 2005. Although it is written to prohibit any entity subject to the rider from “discriminat[ing]” against certain health care entities – including hospitals, health insurance plans, doctors, and nurses – that refuse to provide, cover, pay for, or refer for abortion, it really allows health care providers to discriminate against patients by denying them the care they need. There are no provisions in the Weldon Amendment to protect patient access to abortion services.