The island nation is the only country in the EU in which termination is still illegal under any circumstances, forcing women to have the procedure abroad or else risk prosecution. But women’s rights groups are pushing for change
by Rachel Cooke
Sun 19 Jun 2022
Elle doesn’t find it easy to talk about her
abortion, not because she regrets it – she would do the same again without any
hesitation – but because the memory of the terrible, almost overwhelming, fear
and isolation she experienced at the time still makes her feel so angry. “I’m
privileged,” she says, twisting the ring on her index finger. “I could afford
to travel. But what about those less fortunate than me? I know of a woman who
felt so desperate when she found out she was pregnant again, she put her three
children in front of some cartoons on the TV, and went straight upstairs to the
bathroom to begin launching herself from the toilet on to the floor in the hope
of inducing a miscarriage.” She’s fighting tears now. “That woman almost killed
herself. What about her? Does anyone want to hear her story?”
“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.
Justyna Wydrzyńska, who gave a woman experiencing domestic violence miscarriage-inducing pills, could be jailed for three years
Mon 28 Mar 2022
The first pro-choice activist to be charged in Poland for breaking the country’s strict abortion law by providing miscarriage-inducing tablets to a pregnant woman is due to face trial next week.
Justyna Wydrzyńska, from the Polish group Aborcyjny Dream Team (ADT), is charged with illegally aiding an abortion and faces up to three years in prison if she is found guilty.
Hyde binds the seemingly separable issues of pregnancy, domestic abuse, poverty, and the global pandemic
By KYLIE CHEUNG
PUBLISHED AUGUST 28, 2021
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a historic budget that didn't include the Hyde Amendment, a budget rider that's severely restricted coverage of abortion care by withholding federal funding since 1976. Of course, the gift of hindsight shows us celebrations of this monumental moment proved slightly premature, when it was quietly undone with a single stroke on Aug. 10.
By a narrow margin, determined as ever to deny us good things, the US Senate adopted an amendment to restore Hyde to the budget, and usher in yet another year of abortion care being all but banned for those who are struggling financially. Today, despite the relative quietness and feelings of helplessness attached to this loss for reproductive justice, we're closer than ever to eliminating Hyde, and there's too much at stake — especially for many victims of domestic abuse — to give up now.
29 June 2021
Patricia Figuera Ochoa, Communications Officer, SPOG
In Panama, the fundamental and basic rights of women and girls – such as education, work and political participation – continue to be violated. These violations extend to rights in sexual and reproductive health, which should allow women and girls to access services such as prenatal control, contraception and, in specific cases and as permitted by Panamanian law, safe and legal abortion services. The scale of violence against women, adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality in Panama undoubtedly reflects the existence of a public health problem, which has been exacerbated dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to gynecologist and obstetrician Ruth De León, former president of the Panamanian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SPOG) and Focal Point of the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP), SPOG remains concerned about the potential risks that the pandemic poses to women. Although care services are open, restrictions could continue to be a trigger for gender-based, domestic and sexual violence, which can cause unplanned pregnancies, as well as possible induced abortions. These, when performed in unsafe environments, could result in the death of the woman or girl.
by Andrea Carden
Saturday, May 15th 2021
The suspect who fired shots at a woman outside a women's clinic Saturday hid in the trunk of her car when she drove to the clinic, according to police.
Officers had responded to reports of shots fired outside of Alamo Women's Reproductive Center Saturday morning.
Years of campaigning for women’s rights and against domestic violence have paid off and other countries in the region could now follow suit, Lucinda Elliott writes
Wednesday January 06 2021
Graça, a 24-year-old Brazilian medical student, is booked on a flight to Argentina this week to have an abortion. Nearly ten weeks pregnant, she has secured a procedure in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, more than 1,800 miles away from Minas Gerais state university, where she is studying for a degree.
For Graça, neither supporting a baby nor having a legal termination is a viable option in Brazil, where the draconian abortion law dates back to 1940. She is on a scholarship and to make some money for the journey she has been baking and selling cupcakes.
By JOHN LAZAME TINDANBIL
Oct 4, 2020
Bolgatanga, Ghana — The COVID-19 pandemic is setting back important progress on women’s health across Africa. There are many reasons for this, including lockdown restrictions which are keeping women at home, concerns about catching the virus, and the closure of women’s health services. These problems are not simple ones, but they to be acknowledged and addressed.
In my own country, Ghana, where my organisation runs safe abortion and family planning services in the north of the country, we saw a sharp drop in the number of women accessing our services from April to August 2020, compared to the same period last year.
A near-riot in front of a hospital in the northeastern town of Recife in mid-August sent shock waves across Brazil. Inside, a 10-year-old rape victim was having an abortion.
Aug 31 , 2020, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Conservative religious groups and right-wing politicians connected to the more radical evangelical churches gathered in front of the hospital and attempted to break in to stop the abortion.
The case of Menina (Portuguese for "girl") as she became known because her identity cannot be disclosed, came to light after the Minister for Women, Family and Human Rights, Damares Alves, herself a pastor of a Pentecostal church, sent representatives to meet with the girl's family trying to convince her to keep the baby.
Dr Ruth De Leon, Sociedad Panameña de Obstetricia y Ginecología (SPOG) shares how the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in higher levels of unintended pregnancies in Panama, and as a result places a woman at a greater risk to unsafe abortion and maternal death.
13 July 2020
Dr Ruth de Leon
The Panamanian government implemented preventative measures in January 2020, to ensure that access to and the supply of health care remained strong in order to manage COVID-19. Such measures included suspending elective surgeries, visits and external consultations both in the public and private spheres to free-up slots, in addition to suspending vacations for health workers in the public sector as well as making more beds and resources available within the public and private health sector.
Four days after the first case was confirmed in Panama, on March 13, 2020, a curfew occurred, which started out being flexible, of only 8 hours (from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am), but since then there has been a 24-hour curfew.