From the Global Gag Rule to the Geneva Consensus, women’s bodies bear the brunt

The U.S. continues to attack the reproductive rights of women globally, resulting in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions

by Banchiamlack Dessalegn | Marie Stopes International
Thursday, 29 October 2020

With the U.S. presidential elections just days away, it is hard to miss the growing efforts of the Trump administration to roll back reproductive rights. From the expanded Global Gag Rule, to Amy Coney Barrett’s supreme court confirmation and last week’s Geneva Consensus Declaration, with the U.S. administration asking countries to sign “that there is no international right to abortion”, the fight for reproductive rights and gender equality is far from over. 

At MSI, as a global provider of contraception, safe abortion and post-abortion care, we have seen the consequences of these efforts first-hand, with women’s lives, health and futures put at risk.

Continued: https://news.trust.org/item/20201029173203-kwt4j


America must stop using international aid to export anti-abortion ideology

‘US policies have restricted access to comprehensive and often lifesaving, reproductive healthcare.’

Anu Kumar and Patty Skuster, Ipas
15 October 2020

At this moment in US political history, Americans have a chance to rid the United States of its contradictory, confusing, and ideologically driven approach to reproductive health around the world.

The United States is the largest donor to global health and humanitarian assistance. But for decades it has been a case study in contradictions when it comes to aid and foreign policy, and in no area is this more evident than reproductive health and rights, particularly abortion.

Continued: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/opinion/2020/10/15/US-abortion-sexual-reproductive-health-aid


Proposed changes to US Global Gag Rule threaten wider harm to women

Interview, 28 September 2020
Médecins Sans Frontières

The United States policy known as the Global Gag Rule has had a devastating impact on women’s access to sexual and reproductive healthcare since it was reinstated and greatly expanded by the Trump Administration more than three and a half years ago. The policy – which already forces health providers to choose between providing information to patients or receiving US funding – is now set to be expanded even further. Dr Manisha Kumar, head of Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) task force on safe abortion care, explains the risks facing women and girls.

Continued: https://www.msf.org/proposed-changes-us-anti-abortion-rule-threaten-wider-harm-women


USA – It’s past time to be rid of the legacy of Jesse Helms

by Anu Kumar and Serra Sippel
08/07/20

You’ve likely never heard of the Helms Amendment, or perhaps not until now that Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), along with Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee(D-Texas), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.), have introduced legislation to repeal it. But our guess is you’ve heard of the late North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms.

In 1973, Helms, an outspoken opponent of civil rights — really, he opposed rights for anyone not white, male, heterosexual, American and Christian — introduced the Helms Amendment. The policy prohibits any U.S. foreign assistance funds from being used for “the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.” As written, the Helms Amendment allows for the provision of abortion information and counseling in cases of rape, incest and if a woman’s life is in danger. But in effect, it has been interpreted as a total ban on abortion-related services and information in developing countries.

Continued: https://thehill.com/opinion/international/511037-its-past-time-to-be-rid-of-the-legacy-of-jesse-helms


Abortion rates don’t drop when the procedure is outlawed. But it does make it more dangerous

Though abortion restrictions are incredibly harmful and coercive in the U.S., they aren't a primary driver in the national decline in pregnancy terminations.

July 29, 2020
By Zara Ahmed, associate director of federal issues for the Guttmacher Institute

Anti-abortion advocates working to criminalize abortion in the United States and abroad will always be stymied by a crucial fact: People everywhere want, need and find ways to get abortions.

I observed this firsthand while working as a public health adviser in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and now new research from the Guttmacher Institute demonstrates just how misguided and dangerous it is to try to limit abortion access. The data shows that abortion rates are roughly the same in countries where abortion is broadly legal and in countries where it isn't. And abortion rates are actually four times higher in low-income countries where abortion is prohibited than in high-income countries where it is broadly legal.

Continued: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/abortion-rates-don-t-drop-when-procedure-outlawed-it-does-ncna1235174


African countries are trying to liberalize their abortion laws. Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ is making that difficult.

African countries are trying to liberalize their abortion laws. Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ is making that difficult.
Activists say the policy has forced some countries to take a step backward

Abigail Higgins
March 5, 2020

In 2016, churches in the small southeastern African country of Malawi did something surprising: They backed a law to expand abortion access.

At the time, Reverend Alex Benson Maulana, chair of the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), said that abortion was still a sin. But Malawi was also facing a crisis: In a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, 18 percent of those deaths were due to unsafe abortions.

Continued: https://www.thelily.com/african-countries-are-trying-to-liberalize-their-abortion-laws-trumps-global-gag-rule-is-making-that-difficult/


On Abortion Rights, 2020 Democrats Move Past ‘Safe, Legal and Rare’

On Abortion Rights, 2020 Democrats Move Past ‘Safe, Legal and Rare’
The Democratic presidential candidates don’t want to simply defend abortion rights. They want to go on offense.

New York Times
By Maggie Astor
Nov. 25, 2019

The Democratic presidential field has coalesced around an abortion rights agenda more far-reaching than anything past nominees have proposed, according to a New York Times survey of the campaigns. The positions reflect a hugely consequential shift on one of the country’s most politically divisive issues.

Every candidate The Times surveyed supports codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law, allowing Medicaid coverage of abortion by repealing the Hyde Amendment, and removing funding restrictions for organizations that provide abortion referrals. Almost all of them say they would nominate only judges who support abortion rights, an explicit pledge Democrats have long avoided.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/25/us/politics/abortion-laws-2020-democrats.html


2020 could see an end to safe, legal abortion anywhere in America

2020 could see an end to safe, legal abortion anywhere in America
It’s more crucial than ever to have a president in office who won’t just pay the usual lip service to women’s rights

Jill Filipovic
Mon 18 Nov 2019

If you care about the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices, 2020 is the year that matters.

It’s too late to do anything about the current makeup of the court – except, of course, for women and the people who love them to be very, very loud in our support of abortion rights, and signal that there will be a serious cost if the court overturns or scales back Roe.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/18/2020-could-see-an-end-to-safe-legal-abortion-anywhere-in-america


The impact of U.S.’s abortion policies on international diplomacy

The impact of U.S.’s abortion policies on international diplomacy

On August 29, 2019
WIIS Blog, Women Peace & Security
By Hannah Proctor, Research Fellow, WIIS Global

Throughout 2019, conservative states in the U.S. have been adopting increasingly restrictive abortion laws in an effort to undermine, and eventually abolish, the Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed the right to abortion based on the right to privacy. These laws and the mindsets that accompany them have far-reaching consequences that go beyond U.S. borders.

Historically, conservative U.S. administrations have relied on two main pieces of legislation to enforce their anti-abortion positions globally:

Continued: https://www.wiisglobal.org/the-impact-of-u-s-s-abortion-policies-on-international-diplomacy/


USA – Everything You Need to Know About the Helms Amendment’s Restriction on Abortion Funding

Everything You Need to Know About the Helms Amendment’s Restriction on Abortion Funding
Reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates say the Helms Amendment's ban on using foreign assistance funds for abortion deserves more attention.

Aug 23, 2019
Ally Boguhn

Abortion rights are a high-profile issue for Democrats on the 2020 presidential campaign trail. Candidates have stated their opposition to abortion funding restrictions like the Hyde Amendment and the Trump administration’s expanded global “gag rule.” But little attention has been paid in the race or the media to the Helms Amendment, a ban on foreign assistance funding for abortion.

Rewire.News asked the 2020 candidates about their stance on the anti-choice policy; ten thus far say they oppose it. The Helms Amendment—named for its sponsor, the late-Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC)—states, “No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.” The abortion funding ban was passed as part of the Foreign Assistance Act in 1973 in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion in the United States.

Continued: https://rewire.news/article/2019/08/23/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-helms-amendments-restriction-on-abortion-funding/