Africa: Essential Women’s Health Services at Risk Amid Covid-19

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.


Abortion for 10-year-old rape victim sparks near-riot in Brazil

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.


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.


Panama – Impact of COVID-19 on Unsafe Abortion

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.


COVID-19 exposed how women continue to be ‘disproportionately affected in society’

COVID-19 exposed how women continue to be 'disproportionately affected in society'

Giulia Magri
Sunday, 31 May 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, both locally and on a global scale, how women continue to be disproportionately affected; whether with regard to violence, losing their jobs, or not gaining full accessibility to the contraceptive pill, women’s rights activist and lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

“In the ideal post-COVID-19 reality, authorities need to stop throwing the word equality around. Policymakers need to truly see how women are being affected and ensure that the required change takes place. We need to be practical and listen to one another if we genuinely want to reach equality. Women are suffering and I believe that sexual reproductive rights are an integral part of women’s rights and we need to acknowledge that.”


India – How ‘Essential’ Abortion Services Are Inaccessible in the Lockdown

How ‘Essential’ Abortion Services Are Inaccessible in the Lockdown

Saakhi Chadha
Updated: 12/05/2020

A 19-year-old rape survivor in Mumbai found out she was pregnant right when India implemented its nationwide lockdown. She knew she had to get an abortion, but with no transport available and with many clinics shutting down their operations, she felt helpless and out of options.

“We went and picked her up and ensured she got the abortion at a public hospital. Forced sex is a critical issue in a lockdown and abortion services are required here and now,” Sangeeta Rege of the Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT), the NGO that intervened and arranged for the girl’s pass and travel, told Reuters.


Opinion: During COVID-19 crisis, lift barriers to reproductive health care — including abortion

Opinion: During COVID-19 crisis, lift barriers to reproductive health care — including abortion

By Anu Kumar
27 April 2020

As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, upending life as we know it, governments around the globe are facing massive challenges in containing the new coronavirus and protecting lives. But even in this time of crisis — in fact, especially in this time of crisis — pregnancy care, including abortion care, remains an essential health service.

Abortion is time-sensitive and cannot be significantly deferred without profound consequences for women and their families. While conservatives in the U.S. have pounced on the political “opportunity” that the coronavirus pandemic presents to advance their ideology, countries in the global south are struggling to meet all the needs of their citizens, including the need for safe abortion care.


USA – How Abortion Bans Will Cost Taxpayers Billions

How Abortion Bans Will Cost Taxpayers Billions

Zawn Villines
Thursday June 20, 2019

Abortion bans won’t just cost women their lives and their dreams. They will also cost taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare costs for unplanned pregnancies, welfare and other government benefits, litigation costs, and other expenses.

For Republicans who claim to be concerned about deficit and government waste, these harmful bans prove to be a colossal expense.


Canada – Without new abortion laws, there’s no way to seek justice for fetal homicide victims: Robyn Urback

Without new abortion laws, there's no way to seek justice for fetal homicide victims: Robyn Urback
A man was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife — but not the full-term fetus she was carrying

Robyn Urback · CBC News
Posted: May 06, 2019

It feels heinously unjust that Nicholas Baig will serve a "life" sentence in prison, with no chance of parole for 17 years, for murdering one person — not two. The Pickering, Ont., man killed his pregnant wife, Arianna Goberdhan, in April 2017.

Baig was physically and verbally abusive, a pathetic little man who said he wanted to be rid of his wife, yet couldn't tolerate her absence. About a month after they separated, when Goberdhan went to their home one evening, Baig stabbed her 17 times, killing her and her full-term fetus.


How Georgia and Other States’ ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bans Kill and Injure Women

How Georgia and Other States' 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bans Kill and Injure Women

Thursday March 21, 2019

States across the nation are increasingly pushing so-called “heartbeat bills.” These ban abortion as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat—usually around six weeks gestation. Georgia is the latest state to propose such legislation. If the bill passes, and it seems likely to do so, Georgia abortion clinics will be forced to subject women to medically unnecessary ultrasounds. If an ultrasound detects the presence of a heartbeat, a woman cannot undergo an abortion.

These bills are plainly unconstitutional, but that doesn’t mean much. Pro-choice activists who assert that the laws are illegal miss the larger point. To get a law declared unconstitutional, you need someone who has standing to sue and a lawyer who has the skills and resources necessary to do so. That requires time and money.


They Lost Argentina’s Abortion Vote, but Advocates Started a Movement

They Lost Argentina’s Abortion Vote, but Advocates Started a Movement

By Daniel Politi and Ernesto Londoño
Aug. 9, 2018

BUENOS AIRES — They narrowly lost the vote. But as supporters of a bill to legalize abortion in Argentina began to shake off a stinging defeat in the Senate on Thursday, they took consolation in having galvanized a reproductive-rights movement across Latin America and began to consider how to redirect their activism.

A coalition of young female lawmakers who stunned the political establishment by putting abortion rights at the top of the legislative agenda this year seemed to be on the verge of a historic victory with the bill. But intense lobbying by Catholic Church leaders and staunch opposition in conservative northern provinces persuaded enough senators to vote against it.