The World Is Lifting Abortion Restrictions. Why Is the U.S. Moving Against the Tide?

Dec. 2, 2021
By Mary Fitzgerald

Ms. Fitzgerald is the director of expression at the Open Society Foundations and former editor in chief of the global news site openDemocracy.

The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case currently before the Supreme Court which focuses on the question of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, is unlikely to hinge on global data or the finer points of international law. And yet a growing cadre of briefing papers, political accords and court filings are co-opting the language of international human rights groups to argue against the basic rights and freedoms that most Americans have enjoyed for decades.

These arguments are worth addressing. They tell us worrisome things both about the health of American democracy and about what could happen if the court reverses Roe v. Wade next year.


In Kenya, abortion focus obscures legislation towards safe reproductive healthcare services

Tagged “the abortion bill”, the Reproductive Healthcare bill of 2019 is, in fact a comprehensive document

Written by Laila Le Guen
Posted 30 March 2021

Reproductive rights in Kenya is an intimate and emotive topic where hard lines have been drawn on both sides. Pro- and anti-abortion campaigners keep cycling through episodes of heightened attention when high-profile cases arise and passions continue to run high. Meanwhile, the country registers numbers of unsafe abortions that are among the highest in Africa. Maternal mortality is high at about 6,000 deaths per year, 17 per cent of them from complications of unsafe abortion.

Limited legal recourse to access termination of pregnancy is a potential compromise that remains contested, leaving the two camps with a status quo that seems hard to shake off. What's at stake on both ends of this fiercely debated issue?


Women in Kenya Are Using Knitting Needles to End Their Pregnancies. Blame Donald Trump.

The president has given fringe anti-abortion groups unprecedented influence.

OCTOBER 8, 2020

On a rainy morning in May 2019, Dr. John Nyamu was attending to patients on the cluttered first floor of an office building in downtown Nairobi when he heard raucous shouts from down the street. A caravan of protesters was winding toward him, a few hundred people teeming in the streets, bellowing through loudspeakers, and stopping traffic.

As the crowd reached his building, Nyamu, a well-known gynecologist who performs abortions in a private clinic, peered through his window at the protesters below to make out what they were saying. It turns out they were targeting him. “Abortion is murder! Abortion must go! Nyamu must go!” Some held signs with photos of mutilated fetuses. Others clutched baby-size cardboard coffins with crosses on them.


At U.N., Trump Administration Professes ‘No International Right To An Abortion’

At U.N., Trump Administration Professes 'No International Right To An Abortion'

September 23, 2019
Sarah McCammon

The Trump administration is calling on U.N. member nations to oppose efforts to promote access to abortion internationally, a move immediately criticized by reproductive rights groups seeking greater access to the services globally.

At a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke on behalf of the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries stating that abortion is not an international human right.


An Update on Abortion Pills From the World Health Organization Undermines How the U.S. Regulates Them

An Update on Abortion Pills From the World Health Organization Undermines How the U.S. Regulates Them
The update may make mifepristone and misoprostol more readily available worldwide. But in the U.S., not much is expected to change.

Francie Diep
Jul 15, 2019

Abortion pills should be widely available and affordable, and don't need to be dispensed by highly trained specialists or in specialty facilities, according to a World Health Organization update published last week.

Abortions induced by taking pills are the safest type available. The recommended regimen is two pills, containing the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. The pills work best on early stage pregnancies, around 10 weeks' gestation or less. The WHO has considered mifepristone and misoprostol "essential medicines" since 2005, but in the recent update, WHO experts decided that they had enough scientific evidence to strike the caveat saying the medications require "close medical supervision."