USA – My Body No Choice: taking the fight for abortion rights to the stage

A new stage production tells the stories of women and their bodily autonomy, or lack thereof, as part of the fight to reverse the supreme court decision to restrict abortion

David Smith
Thu 27 Oct 2022

Theirs was a secret space. In the early 1970s, Molly Smith and her sister Bridget attended weekly women’s consciousness-raising sessions in a friend’s living room near Washington’s Catholic University. They read books such as Our Bodies, Ourselves, a groundbreaking text about women’s health and sexuality. Sitting on cushions, the circle of women listened to one another, laughed and cried and shared their deepest secrets.

“Women needed spaces where they could be open, where they could be uncompromising, where they could speak about the beginnings of their feminism, where they could speak about their stories around their bodies without shame,” Smith, now 70, recalls by phone. “A lot of women didn’t understand their bodies at all.


Abortion deleted from UK Government-organised international human rights statement

July 19th, 2022
Humanists UK

A UK Government-organised multinational statement committing to the fundamental rights of women and girls has been amended to remove references to ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ and ‘bodily autonomy’. The statement was issued by the UK as part of an intergovernmental conference it hosted in London on 5-6 July. A total of 22 countries signed the joint statement before it was amended. One – anti-abortion Malta – has first signed since. Humanists UK has expressed serious alarm at the changes. It is asking the UK Government for a full explanation, and if possible, a reversal.


UK – MP Danny Kruger says abortion comments were ‘misunderstood’

July 3, 2022

A Tory MP criticised for remarks about abortion says he was misunderstood. Wiltshire MP Danny Kruger was speaking in a Parliamentary debate about the US' abortion ban when he said he disagreed that pregnant women had an 'absolute right to bodily autonomy'.

In a new statement he said: "I do not wish to dictate what a woman should do with her own body, as has been claimed."


Forced Pregnancy Is Involuntary Servitude, Violates the 13th Amendment


“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.“
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The draft Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked this month gives America a glimpse into a dystopian future where the Constitution would offer no protection for women’s rights—including abortion rights—because they are not “deeply rooted in the country’s history and traditions.”


USA – When a Right Becomes a Privilege

The main difference between the women who will make it to an abortion provider in a post-Roe world and those who won’t? Money.

By Melissa Jeltsen, The Atlantic
May 15, 2022

When New York legalized abortion in 1970—three years before the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade—a shrewd entrepreneur named Martin Mitchell saw an opportunity. The 31-year-old Detroit-area man chartered a tiny private plane and began advertising frequent flights from Michigan, where elective abortion was illegal, to Niagara Falls, New York, where it was not. For $400, a woman got transportation, an abortion by a licensed doctor at a clinic near the airport, and lunch, before being flown home the same day.


The Elephant in the Womb: Unintended Pregnancies

22 APRIL 2022
Population Matters

This year’s State of the World Population (SWOP) report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) focuses on the worrying issue of unintended pregnancies. Still approximately half of all pregnancies today are unplanned and the number of affected women is increasing. Tackling this crisis is key to achieving a better future and should be an utmost priority. 

Since 2019, the annual unintended pregnancy rate fell from 79 to 64 unintended pregnancies for every 1,000 women of child-bearing age (15 to 49 years) – in other words, roughly 6% of the world’s women experience an unintended pregnancy each year, down from 8% in 2019. However, the report points out that due to population growth, the absolute number of affected women has increased by as much as 13% during this time period. This inconvenient truth also applies to the number of girls and women affected by other injustices, such as child marriage and unmet contraceptive needs, alongside many other development indicators, as shown in Population Matters’ 2019 report on population and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Faith and Access: The Conflict Inside Catholic Hospitals

Why should publicly funded hospitals get to limit access on religious grounds?

Feb. 23, 2022 / MARCH-APRIL 2022 issue, Walrus Magazine

IN THE FALL OF 2020, Susan Camm was among a small group of employees touring a brand new seventeen-storey tower at St. Michael’s Hospital, in downtown Toronto. She liked the large single-patient rooms—a hallmark of modern hospital design—and the big windows that filled the space with sunshine. But something caught her eye: a brass crucifix on the wall. “I had an almost visceral reaction,” she recalls.

Camm, who was then a clinical manager at the hospital, had come across crucifixes at St. Michael’s before. But most had been taken down over the years. What shocked her is that the Christian symbols were in brand new rooms. This wasn’t a decision someone had made decades ago; it was one made in 2020. Later, when she had the chance to enter a patient room alone, she dragged a stool over to the crucifix, stood up, and tried to pull the figure off the wall. Unlike the ones in older rooms, it wasn’t simply hanging on a nail. She would have needed a chisel to pry it off.


Abortion: Will the US Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade in 2022?

The court’s conservative majority appears ready to roll back abortion rights, setting up a contentious political battle.

By William Roberts
27 Dec 2021

Washington, DC – For decades, the conservative right in the United States has been campaigning to overturn the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v Wade, which affirms a woman’s right to have an abortion.

The movement, embraced by the Republican Party and fuelled by evangelical Christians, has pushed to elect conservative legislators at the state and federal levels, and advanced the placement of conservative justices on the US Supreme Court. Now, the anti-abortion rights forces in the US are on the verge of a significant legal victory.


Rwanda – Women’s rights are human rights: the right to autonomy and self-determination

By Brenda Mutoni
September 30, 2021

Worldwide, women enjoy 25% fewer legal rights than men. Millions of women around the world are not able to make decisions about their own bodies.

According to research published in September 2021 by UNFPA titled “My body is my own. Claiming the right to autonomy and self-determination”, just over half of women and girls in middle- and low-income countries have the right to decide for themselves whether they have sex, use contraception or seek medical care. In some sub-Saharan countries, the figure is even below 10%.


Anti-vaxxers using pro-choice slogans make me so angry

Slinging around phrases about body autonomy belittles the pro-choice debate and overlooks issues surrounding pregnancy and fertility

Eva Wiseman
Sun 15 Aug 2021

I am not an angry person, I get headaches instead. Rage is swallowed like a meatball and spreads fattily around my body, ensuring afternoons of snippy irritation and pounding temples. But when it comes, when I do manage to access my anger, the relief is stunning, and it happened this week when deleting photos from my very old phone.

Mine is a predictable photo album – a baby
transforms across a camera roll from limpid mole to Ian Hislop in leggings,
kittens simper beside screengrabs of news stories, pink cake, a very big plum.
It was the juxtaposition of three pictures that documented April though, that
pricked my fury. A photo taken from our car of one of the anti-vaccine marches that
shut down London sat beside a headline that pregnant people were finally being
offered the coronavirus vaccine, then a picture of my son’s first birthday