Medical abortions are a global success story, and not one that will be easily derailed by the legislative backsliding in the US. Time, now, to close the access gaps, report Sally Howard and Geetanjali Krishna
BMJ 2022; 379
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2349 (Published 19 October 2022)
Sally Howard, Geetanjali Krishna
In 2021, a 20 year old woman in Hyderabad, India, discovered she was pregnant.
A well educated, city girl, she was nevertheless afraid of the stigma attached
to unmarried pregnancy and did not know if she could legally terminate the
pregnancy. Around the same time, another young couple living together in
Bengaluru were in a similar predicament.
“Both women were not ready for a child but completely clueless about the
options they had, and the gestation period up to which abortion is legally
allowed in India,” says Anusha Pilli, a doctor who practises privately in
Hyderabad. Pilli helped both women to get medical abortions before their first
The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the longstanding abortion ruling will have a chilling effect on reproductive healthcare provision in low income and middle income countries.
BMJ 2022; 378
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1844 (Published 11 August 2022)
Sally Howard, freelance journalist1, Geetanjali Krishna, freelance journalist
In 2018 a reproductive health organisation in Kenya found that anti-abortion advocates had put the address of its reproductive rights helpline on social media. “It was a veiled threat,” its programme manager, Mina Mwangi, tells The BMJ. “They wanted us to know that they knew how to get us.”
On 24 June 2022 the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected women’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.1 Sexual and reproductive health rights organisations across the world, including Mwangi’s, feared the effects of the overturning in terms of funding and potential attacks. “We are heightening our security because of how emboldened the opposition are,” Mwangi says, adding that she dreads a potential withdrawal of funds from US non-governmental organisations: her organisation receives over 50% of its funding from US donors.