First it was Covid. Now abortion bans and anti-LGBTQ laws are complicating business travel.

Some corporate travel planners and HR leaders are quietly working to address a growing set of risks to employees as post-pandemic business trips pick up.

Oct. 22, 2023
By Harriet Baskas

Business travel is clawing its way back to 2019 levels as Covid-19 concerns largely recede. But as tighter abortion restrictions and anti-LGBTQ laws proliferate, some employers and event organizers are weighing a new set of threats to employees’ safety outside the office.

Dozens of states have slashed abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and more than 180 bills restricting LGBTQ rights are advancing in statehouses nationwide. Many such moves have drawn criticism on political and civil rights grounds, with companies and event organizers threatening state boycotts akin to the one that led North Carolina to scrap its 2016 anti-transgender bathroom law.


New Zealand – Student Reports “Outrageous” Abortion Experience

Hospital apologises for how she “felt” she was treated

Saturday 23rd April 2022
by Keegan Wells and Fox Meyer

A student trying to get an abortion has criticised Dunedin Hospital for a “disgusting” and “disrespectful” experience. She is currently undergoing her third procedure for the same pregnancy, which she believed could’ve been avoided if information was presented differently.

A few weeks ago, Grace* woke up feeling pretty ill. She got tested for Covid, but that came back negative, so she decided to take a pregnancy test. It was positive. A few hours later, her doctor back home called her to inform her that her Covid test was actually positive, too: a nightmare test result scenario.


Polish Woman Faces Jail Time for Sending Pregnant Domestic Violence Victim Abortion Pills

“I had my abortion at 12 weeks and I have also been in an abusive relationship,” the activist said. “Helping her was my first human response.”

By Kylie Cheung
March 28, 2022

More than a year after Poland enacted a near-total abortion ban, the first Polish abortion rights activist to be charged with breaking the law will stand trial this week. Justyna Wydrzyńska, an organizer at Poland’s Abortion Dream Team (ADT), gave a pregnant woman experiencing domestic violence medication abortion pills in February 2020, and now faces up to three years in jail.

Notably, even before Poland’s abortion ban took effect in January 2021, laws dating back to the 1990s prohibited “aiding an abortion,” an ADT spokesperson told The Guardian, and these laws have primarily targeted abortion providers, because for years, surgical abortions were the only option available to people seeking abortion. Since Polish law criminalizes abortion providers but not patients, ADT evaded criminalization by referring people seeking abortion care to international groups that mailed medication abortion pills. But at the onset of the covid pandemic in early 2020, this was no longer an option when Poland’s postal service suspended international packages.


UK – House of Lords votes for at-home abortion provision

Humanists UK
Thursday 17 Mar 2022

During last night’s late night sitting in the House of Lords, running beyond 2am, peers voted to allow women to continue to access abortion services at home. Prior to Covid, women were required to attend a clinic in person to access abortion pills. But since then, they have been able to receive the pills by post. The UK Government recently announced it intended to withdraw this service in England from August, but the Lords have now voted in favour of keeping it. Humanists UK, which has repeatedly called on the Government to make these measures permanent, said it was delighted by the news. It has urged the Commons to not overturn the Lords’ vote.

The vote happened during the Report Stage of the Government’s Health and Care Bill. The abortion amendment, tabled by Conservative Peer Baroness Sugg, was passed by 75 votes to 35. Humanists UK briefed peers in support of the amendment. Three members of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) spoke for it, with many more voting in favour.


Zambia – Bitter Brew: Pandemic Spurs Unsafe Abortions

The coronavirus has exacerbated the hurdles faced by Zambian women with unwanted pregnancies.

By Prudence Phiri
February 27, 2022

RUFUNSA, ZAMBIA — The concoction was dark and sludgy, a blend of berries, roots and leaves. The moon serving as a beacon, Chikondi carried the mixture back to her mud-brick hut in a white, 2-liter container and slid it under her bed. She had arranged to be alone that night, sending her two daughters, ages 9 and 12, to their grandmother’s under the pretext of helping with fieldwork. At cockcrow, she would take her first sip.

Chikondi was three months pregnant with a baby she could not afford. The 29-year-old lives in Rufunsa, a small village east of Lusaka, the capital, amid an expanse of maize fields and mud homes with grass-thatched roofs. Her boyfriend of three years was unemployed and not ready to be a father. She had long supported her girls with an assortment of farming jobs, such as preparing fields and planting crops, but the coronavirus pandemic had made even those scarce.


Medication abortion now makes up the majority of US abortions, study shows, as states push to restrict it

By Tierney Sneed, CNN
Thu February 24, 2022

(CNN)More than half of US abortions in 2020 were conducted using medication, according to new data assembled by a reproductive rights think tank that marked a notable inflection point in the method's growing popularity amid new efforts to limit access to the pills.

Use of medication abortion, in which patients use a two-pill regime to end their pregnancies, has been increasing steadily since the method was approved in 2000. However, the Covid-19 pandemic -- and how it made patients more comfortable with telehealth while a facilitating a loosening of federal regulations around the pills' use -- may have increased the method's prevalence.


Medication Abortion Now Accounts for More Than Half of All US Abortions

Rachel K. Jones, Elizabeth Nash, Lauren Cross, Jesse Philbin, Marielle Kirstein
Guttmacher Institute
First published online: February 24, 2022

In 2000, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mifepristone as a method of abortion. Taken along with misoprostol, the two-drug combination is known as medication abortion or the “abortion pill.” New research from the Guttmacher Institute shows that 20 years after its introduction, medication abortion accounted for more than half of all abortions in the United States.

Specifically, preliminary data from the Guttmacher Institute’s periodic census of all known abortion providers show that in 2020, medication abortion accounted for 54% of US abortions. That year is the first time medication abortion crossed the threshold to become the majority of all abortions and it is a significant jump from 39% in 2017, when Guttmacher last reported these data. This 54% estimate is based on preliminary findings from ongoing data collection; final estimates will be released in late 2022 and the proportion for medication abortion use is not expected to fall below 50%.


UK – No10 ‘culture clash’ over DIY abortion pills

Sajid Javid's plans to end controversial 'pills by post' policy introduced during the Covid pandemic could be made permanent

By Gabriella Swerling and Edward Malnick, The Telegraph
19 February 2022

The temporary ‘DIY abortion’ system could be made permanent, The Telegraph can disclose, amid a “culture clash” of beliefs in Government.

No10 aides are understood to be pushing to continue the ‘pills by post’ system introduced during the pandemic, which allows women in the first nine weeks and six days of pregnancy to be sent two abortion tablets after a telephone or video consultation.


USA – Abortion Pills Are Very Safe and Effective, yet Government Rules Still Hinder Access

If the U.S. Supreme Court fails to uphold abortion rights this spring, more restrictions are likely

By Claudia Wallis | Scientific American
March 2022 Issue

Ever since it was approved in 2000 as an abortion pill, mifepristone has been regulated as if it were a dangerous substance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration required doctors to be specially certified to prescribe it. Patients had to sign an agreement confirming that they had been counseled on its risks. Most onerously, the pill had to be given in person in an approved clinical setting—even though a second drug used to complete the abortion, misoprostol, could be taken at home. In addition, 17 U.S. states have passed laws requiring an ultrasound scan before mifepristone can be prescribed. Yet decades of study have shown that the medication is safe and that those restrictions are needless, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical groups. The rules have more to do with politics and ideology than with science.


Telemedicine services for improving safe abortion accessibility in India: Need of the hour

February 12, 2022
Debanjana Choudhuri, gender and climate justice specialist.

The spread of novel coronavirus has convulsed every aspect of life all over the world. With life coming to a standstill due to repeated lockdowns, the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of not only our society, but also of our healthcare system. India is one of the nations, which has been severely impacted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Crucial measures, such as imposition of lockdowns, were taken to contain the spread of the virus, however, the decreased mobility also resulted in higher incidences of intimate partner violence, changes in migrant living patterns, delay in accessing other healthcare services including contraceptive and safe abortion care and potential changes to decisions about parenting.

Contrariwise, telemedicine was a silver-lining during this period, and it revolutionised access to healthcare services worldwide. India too acknowledged the credibility and viability of these services by introducing telemedicine guidelines. Today, from covid tests to other screenings telemedicine in India, is flourishing each day in every sphere. But is it the same for safe abortion services? Sadly, the answer is NO! Although India recognised the essentiality of contraception and safe abortion services, the telemedicine guidelines reflected otherwise, as it still does not include abortion under its purview.