BY MICHELLE ONELLO, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
The Trump administration has been executing a coordinated attack on what it sees as a critical public health issue. Unfortunately, the offensive is not targeting the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected over six million people and claimed almost 200,000 lives in the US. Instead, the campaign has its sights set on women’s sexual health and reproductive rights, especially abortion. With the recent death of Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg threatening the fate of Roe v. Wade, the security of abortion rights has never been more precarious.
The administration’s brazen anti-abortion agenda includes not only well-publicized executive actions such as the expansions of the global and domestic gag rules, “conscience” exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, and the packing of courts with anti-abortion judges.
Both abortion advocates and opponents have used the COVID-19 crisis to further their policy goals.
Carrie N. Baker
Sep 21, 2020
The gendered dimensions of the political response to the COVID-19 crisis are manifesting clearly in efforts to close abortion clinics, as well as in campaigns led by doctors, lawyers, and reproductive rights advocates to expand access to telemedicine abortion during the pandemic and beyond.
Anti-abortion politicians in states across the country have used the COVID-19 pandemic to attempt to restrict abortion, arguing that abortion is not essential health care and that banning the procedure will conserve personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases. In March and April of 2020, 12 states tried to restrict abortion, including Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, among others. Legislators in Kentucky passed a bill to allow the state’s Attorney General to block abortion access during COVID-19, but the Kentucky governor vetoed the bill.
Changes to medical technology will change the politics of the country’s original culture war
Sep 19th 2020 edition
When women used to tell Susan Long (not her real name), a doctor in Washington state, that they wanted to terminate a pregnancy, she would refer them to an abortion clinic. Today, they need not even walk into her office: after an online consultation, she prescribes two pills, which she posts, along with instructions on how to take them several hours apart.
It is difficult to exaggerate the benefit for “innumerable” women of being able to have an abortion at home, without having to arrange a trip to a clinic, she says, describing some of them. The university student living with her conservative parents, hundreds of miles from the nearest abortion clinic. The woman whose violent husband is vehemently pro-life. Single mothers, strapped for cash and child care. Those whose frail health prevents them risking exposure to covid-19 at a doctor’s office.
It is safe and efficient for early terminations to take place at home
Sep 19th 2020
For most women deciding how or when to give birth, covid-19 has been a nightmare. Fertility treatments have paused, sexual-health clinics closed and partners been banned from delivery rooms. Yet the pandemic has brought one silver lining. It has shown a better way to carry out early-stage abortions.
Abortion is legal in most of the world, and relatively straightforward in most rich countries. But obstacles remain. They include compulsory waiting times and mandatory counselling. Perhaps the most common obstacle is that the first step in medical abortions (which involve drugs rather than surgery) must take place in clinics. Yet temporary measures set up during the pandemic suggest this is often unnecessary. These temporary measures should now become permanent.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 | NEWS
If you haven’t heard of Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng—known popularly as Dr T—you have somehow missed her ubiquitous presence on radio, TV, social media and numerous other platforms. She’s a medical doctor, sex expert and health activist. She’s a member of the South Africa Commission on Gender Equality and was recently appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. Dr. Mofokeng is also the author of A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure. She took time from her busy schedule to field some questions from Ipas.
Congratulations on your recent appointment as a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health—and for being the first woman from Africa named to that post. What excites you most about this new role?
The Trump administration could force abortion patients to have unnecessary surgeries.
By Ian Millhiser
Sep 9, 2020
Last June, Chief Justice John Roberts provided a brief reprieve to abortion providers — joining his liberal colleagues in striking down a Louisiana anti-abortion law. But that reprieve could be very short-lived: A case now before the justices could give them a vehicle to undercut the right to terminate a pregnancy. If the Trump administration gets its way in
Food and Drug Administration v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Supreme Court could force many patients seeking abortions to undergo unnecessary surgeries, despite the fact that those patients could safely terminate their pregnancy with medication — and that’s assuming that these individuals are able to find a doctor to perform the surgery in the first place.
Experts Condemn States’ Efforts to Restrict Access to Abortion Care
UN human rights experts have declared that efforts by U.S. states to restrict access to abortion care during the COVID-19 crisis are violations of human rights.
The UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls, together with the UN special rapporteur on right to health and the UN special rapporteur on violence against women, asserted in a statement that eight U.S. states—Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee—“with a long history of restrictive practices against abortion, seem to have been manipulating the crisis to severely restrict women’s reproductive rights.”
By Josefina Salomón & Christopher Alford
7 September 2020
For decades, women human rights defenders across Latin America have been fighting an uphill battle to ensure sexual and reproductive rights, including access to safe abortion, are a reality for all. Over the last five months that battle has turned into a war.
The figures have been shocking for a long time. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned them into a catastrophe, with a potential bleak future.
The pandemic has reinforced existing barriers for rural and regional women when it comes to termination services. There are fears some women could take matters into their own hands and attempt unsafe abortions.
September 6, 2020
BY EDEN GILLESPIE
Dr Catriona Melville, Deputy Medical Director at Marie Stopes, has been flying
into rural towns to provide termination services since the pandemic began.
She told The Feed that while abortion is an essential service, some patients in
Melbourne, who under lockdown, are in a precarious position with no abortion
clinics or specialists in their area.
Each year, millions of women in India find themselves with an unintended or an unwanted pregnancy for various reasons
September 5, 2020
In March 2020, Swati (name changed) decided to end her pregnancy after her partner refused to marry her and ended the relationship. By this time, she was 24 weeks pregnant and abortion, under India’s current laws, would have been a criminal offence. She moved the Madhya Pradesh High Court pleading that the pregnancy was affecting her mental health. If she gave birth, the child would “suffer the mental torture” throughout its life, she said.
The court refused to give permission. The state government had argued that there were no grounds for an abortion since the pregnancy was the outcome of a voluntary act and she was “very much aware of the consequence”. The court agreed with the government, adding that while there was always the possibility that the pregnant woman and her partner could resume their relationship, termination would be absolute.