Today in History: Arrest of Dr Willy Peers for performing 200 abortions

Sunday, 15 January 2023

On this day, in 1973, Doctor Willy Peers was arrested and prosecuted for performing over 200 abortions in Namur. The ensuing public outrage marked the beginning of a historic societal shift in favour of abortion in the country.

In 1973, Belgium was one of the last countries in Europe where voluntary interruption of pregnancy was still prohibited by law, due to the influence of the Catholic Church.

Continued: https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/352913/today-in-history-arrest-of-dr-willy-peers-for-performing-200-abortions


U.S. Anti-Abortion Activists Are Spreading Clinic Protests Around the World

The Texas-based group 40 Days for Life has brought its aggressive tactics to more than 1,000 cities in 65 countries.

Jessica Bateman
January 9, 2023

There were four or five protesters outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, the first time Dr. Greg Irwin saw them. He was driving to his job as a consultant radiologist when he noticed the group hoisting placards opposite the parking lot, close to the maternity unit. BEFORE I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB I KNEW YOU, one sign read, alongside a Bible reference. “Oh, my God,” Irwin thought. “It’s one of those American protests.”

After he parked in his usual spot, an older woman holding rosary beads smiled as he approached. “We’re holding a prayer vigil,” she explained, adding that they were offering “support and advice” to women. Irwin noticed their placards were branded with the logo of 40 Days for Life. When he googled the name later that night, he expected to find a local church organization. Instead, he discovered the shiny, high-budget website of a Texas-based group, emblazoned with pictures of men in sharp suits with dazzling white teeth. A counter in the corner ticked down the numbers of babies “saved” worldwide. Scrolling, he saw a map festooned with red pins, marking group locations all over the world. Irwin stared at his screen, bewildered. How could there be a connection between a group in Texas and the woman outside his hospital in Scotland?

Continued: https://newrepublic.com/article/169587/us-anti-abortion-activists-spreading-clinic-protests-around-world


Not one more’ woman can fall victim to Poland’s abortion laws

Women must be able to count on the EU to protect them — especially when their own governments are the ones endangering their lives.

BY ROBERT BIEDROŃ
DECEMBER 31, 2022
(Robert Biedroń is a member of the European Parliament and chair of the FEMM Committee on women’s rights and gender equality.)

During the Cold War, women from Western Europe would travel behind the Iron Curtain to access free and legal abortion services in Poland. However, the tables have since turned.

For the last 30 years, Polish women have been subject to increasingly restrictive abortion laws, culminating in the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling, which introduced a near-total abortion ban in 2020, leaving them with fewer sexual reproductive health rights than in fundamentalist states like Iran.

Continued: https://www.politico.eu/article/women-victim-poland-abortion-laws/


Protests in Malta as parliament debates abortion amendment

Reuters
Dec 4, 2022

VALLETTA - A large picture of an unborn baby was placed outside the office of Malta's prime minister on Sunday as demonstrators called on the government to halt plans to amend the country's strict anti-abortion laws.

The protest, the biggest in years, attracted several thousand people including Malta's top Catholic bishop and the leader of the conservative opposition, but was led by a former centre-left president, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.

Continued: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/large-demos-malta-parliament-debates-abortion-law-2022-12-04/


Women call for tougher EU stance on Poland’s abortion laws

At least six women have died in Poland after doctors refused to terminate their pregnancies due to the constitutional court’s ruling on abortions.

By Priyanka Shankar
Published On 18 Nov 2022

Brussels, Belgium – Fighting for justice and women’s rights in Poland has become an integral part of Barbara Skrobol’s life since September 22, 2021.

This was the day her sister-in-law, Izabela Sajbor, died of sepsis at a hospital in southern Poland after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy after finding foetal defects, due to Poland’s stringent abortion rules.

Continued: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/11/18/women-call-for-tougher-eu-stance-on-polands-abortion-laws


Abortion access and funding have always been a struggle in U.S. territories

Access to abortion in U.S. territories post-Dobbs is just as difficult as before, and those concerns aren’t even a discussion within the mainstream reproductive rights movement

by Cecille Joan Avila
November 7th, 2022

In June, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively eliminating the federal right to abortion, but in Guam, it’s been four years since the last surgical abortion provider retired, leaving the small island territory without anyone who can perform the procedure. Pregnant people seeking an abortion can either receive abortifacients by mail, or, if they are beyond the timeframe where it’s possible to have a medication abortion, they have to travel to Hawai‘i. That is only feasible if they have the means to—and many do not.

For many in U.S. territories, getting an abortion hasn’t just depended on the procedure being legal. People have had to rely on community networks and whatever resources were available to get or pay for an abortion. The common factor is that in U.S. territories, they need to know the right people to ask for assistance, information, and resources, which is ultimately an unsustainable way to access a key component of reproductive health.

Continued: https://prismreports.org/2022/11/07/abortion-access-us-territories-struggle/


For Churches, Abortion Politics Is a Double-Edged Sword

Ireland and Poland went in entirely opposite directions on abortion. Why?

By Amanda Taub
Sept. 21, 2022

For the past several years, as I have struggled to put the escalating tumult of global abortion politics into some sort of order inside my own mind, I have returned over and over to two events.

They happened in different countries, in different years. They produced opposite outcomes. And yet I could not shake the feeling that looking at them together might help me understand something important about the way the world works.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/21/world/europe/abortion-ireland-poland.html


Who wins the battle over Lagos abortion policy?

By CHINYERE OKOROAFOR
On Sep 19, 2022

The Lagos State abortion policy seeks to achieve safe termination of pregnancy within the ambits of the law. However, like many new policies, the initiative is mired in controversies, with opposition to it coming from many sides, including the Catholic Church. In this report, CHINYERE OKOROAFOR examines the issues.

On 28 June 2022, the Lagos State Government unveiled a 40-page policy document on safe termination of pregnancy. It was designed to reduce “preventable deaths” usually caused by unsafe abortion procedures. The policy is meant to guide medical practitioners and other stakeholders on when it is lawful or unlawful to terminate a pregnancy.

Continued: https://thenationonlineng.net/who-wins-the-battle-over-lagos-abortion-policy/


USA – The Catholic Church Is Bankrolling a Nationwide Assault on Women’s Rights

A majority of Catholics support a woman's right to choose, but dioceses are funding campaigns for state-level abortion bans across the country

BY TESSA STUART
SEPTEMBER 12, 2022

THERE WAS NO winner in last month’s vote on abortion rights in Kansas. Technically, nothing changed after voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure intended to strip abortion protections out of the state’s constitution. When the race was called on the evening of August 2, every Kansan retained the same set of rights they’d woken up with that morning. But there was a loser: the ballot initiative’s largest financial backer by a long shot, the Catholic Church, whose dioceses squandered millions of dollars on the failed effort.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City contributed $3.18 million, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, $652,355; $175,000 came from the Diocese of Salina; tens of thousands more from smaller churches scattered around the state. The Kansas Catholic Conference threw in $275,000. Together, the donations amounted to well over half of the Value Them Both Association’s total haul — an “absolutely stunning” amount of money, says Jamie Manson, the president of the advocacy group Catholics for Choice.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/catholic-church-roe-wade-abortion-kansas-michigan-1234589927/


Ireland’s Struggle for Abortion Rights Should Be an Inspiration for the US

Ireland’s Struggle for Abortion Rights Should Be an Inspiration for the US

BY SINÉAD KENNEDY
Aug 22, 2022

Irish pro-choice activists had to overcome a rigid constitutional ban on abortion that was in place for more than 30 years. They succeeded by putting mass mobilization and a confident assertion of the right to choose at the heart of their campaign.

In May 2018, the Irish electorate voted by a two-to-one majority to remove or “repeal” the prohibition on abortion, known as the Eighth Amendment, from the country’s constitution. While opinion polls had suggested that pro-choice campaigners would win, most predicted a nerve-rackingly close result; certainly no one anticipated the sheer scale of the victory and the support for abortion access found across every section of society, from young to old, urban to rural.

Continued: https://jacobin.com/2022/08/ireland-abortion-rights-repeal-campaign-us-roe