Abortion, sexuality, global health and more: A chat with South Africa’s ‘Dr T’


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?

Continued: https://www.ipas.org/news/abortion-sexuality-global-health-and-more-a-chat-with-south-africas-dr-t/

Determined more than ever to end abortion stigma, inroads enters a new era of independence


Imagine a world without the stigma surrounding abortion. Abortion would be recognized as health care. People would not be deprived of their right to make their own reproductive decisions. Abortion providers would not be isolated or face physical threats on their lives.

A world free of abortion stigma is the vision driving the work of the International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma (inroads), a network and global community of practice that grew out of a 2013 meeting on abortion stigma co-convened by Ipas and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). Inroads was launched following that meeting, with Ipas serving as its host and providing operational support. Today inroads is a network of scholars, advocates, health providers and donors representing 1,500 members and 105 countries.

Continued: https://www.ipas.org/news/determined-more-than-ever-to-end-abortion-stigma-inroads-enters-a-new-era-of-independence/

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

by Anu Kumar and Serra Sippel

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

USA – Democrats introduce bill to repeal anti-abortion rule for US overseas aid

Critics of the Helms amendment, which currently prevents the use of aid to fund abortion services abroad, say it is ‘deeply rooted in racism’

Liz Ford

Wed 29 Jul

The first bill to repeal a US law preventing aid from funding abortion services
overseas was introduced to congress on Wednesday.

Democratic congressswoman Jan Schakowsky said the Helms amendment, a policy
introduced in 1973, was “deeply rooted in racism” and must be replaced to allow
US money to be used to support safe abortion services worldwide.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jul/29/democrats-introduce-bill-to-repeal-anti-abortion-rule-for-us-overseas-aid

Nigeria – Stakeholders call for more efforts on women’s sexual, reproductive health

By Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
July 26, 2020

Stakeholders at a Media Training for Journalists in Keffi, Nasarawa State, on Sunday called for collective efforts in promoting women’s sexual and reproductive health due to rising sexual violence in the country.

The ongoing three-day workshop on women’s sexual and reproductive health, organised by IPAS, an international NGO, is also aimed at studying the Global Gag Rule (GGR), and its implications and consequences on the health of the Nigerian woman.

Continued: https://naija247news.com/2020/07/26/stakeholders-call-for-more-efforts-on-womens-sexual-reproductive-health/#.Xx3Vf-d7lPY

India – The women who can’t get an abortion in lockdown

India's grinding national coronavirus lockdown complicated life for women trying to access safe abortions, and now cities are bringing back restrictions, reports Menaka Rao.

13 July 2020
Menaka Rao

In the last week of May, a 20-year old college-going woman in India's capital, Delhi, found out that she was pregnant.

The woman, Kiran, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, had already taken abortion pills on the advice of a friend who was a doctor. But they did not work and so, her only option was a surgical abortion.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-53345975

Canada announces support to Ipas to protect access to safe abortion and contraception during COVID-19 pandemic

Canada announces support to Ipas to protect access to safe abortion and contraception during COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The global coronavirus outbreak is a major threat to the health of women and girls globally and is anticipated to disproportionately affect low-resource settings where barriers to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care already existed. Today, the government of Canada affirmed that the failure to meet women’s and girls’ urgent SRH needs, including abortion, is a denial of basic rights to health, autonomy, and gender equality.

Through rapid funding from Global Affairs Canada, Ipas will work in select countries in the global south to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by:

Continued: https://www.ipas.org/news/2020/June/canada-announces-support-to-ipas-to-protect-access-to-safe-abortion-and-contraception-during-covid-19-pandemic

Feds sending foreign aid for abortion services

Feds sending foreign aid for abortion services

June 9, 2020
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Canada is dedicating $8.9 million in new international aid to ensure women and girls around the world have access to safe abortions and reproductive health services — money experts say will help maintain that access despite restrictions due to COVID-19.

International Development Minister Karina Gould said Tuesday that contraceptives, abortion services and reproductive health care have become more challenging to procure for women in many parts of the world and Canada wants to do its part to "step up."

Continued: https://www.toronto.com/news-story/10018168-feds-sending-foreign-aid-for-abortion-services/

Another Egregious Attack on Reproductive Health by Trump Administration

Another Egregious Attack on Reproductive Health by Trump Administration
Undermining access to reproductive health services during COVID-19 is cruel and detrimental to women’s health and well-being.

by Anu Kumar

The Trump Administration’s latest attempt to roll back reproductive rights and deny essential health care is yet another step toward realizing their extreme anti-rights agenda.

In a letter to the United Nations (U.N.), John Barsa, the acting administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has asked for all references to sexual and reproductive health to be removed from the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan (Global HRP).

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2020/05/26/another-egregious-attack-on-reproductive-health-by-trump-administration/

Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface

Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface
22 May 2020
Preface, by Marge Berer

Today’s newsletter includes five statements – by the Campaign, an international group of CSOs, and IAWG, IPPF and Ipas – all in response to demands by the US government on the UN and the World Health Organization to omit any language or policy related to abortion and sexual and reproductive health from the Covid-19 response. This issue was not at all the focus of the World Health Assembly (WHA) on 18-19 May, however, as Trump hoped them to be. Instead, the other issues raised in his three letters to the heads of WHO and the UN – got all the attention, as well as a few more.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/newsletter-22-may-2020?e=372dd34034