Roe v Wade: How its scrapping will affect women worldwide

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: (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.


Under attack, global sexual health ‘can’t rely on US’

by SciDev.Net
July 25, 2022

Religious campaigns and political interference could threaten hard-won reproductive health rights in the global South in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision on abortion, health advocates fear.

Cross-border solidarity and coordination will be needed to face down the growing global threat to reproductive rights, health and policy experts have told SciDev.Net.


Under attack, global sexual health ‘can’t rely on US’

July 20, 2022
By: Fiona Broom

Religious campaigns and political interference could threaten hard-won reproductive health rights in the global South in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision on abortion, health advocates fear.

Cross-border solidarity and coordination will be needed to face down the growing global threat to reproductive rights, health and policy experts have told SciDev.Net.


Celebrations before new challenges after Colombia legalizes abortion

February 22, 2022
By Irene Escudero, La Prensa Latina

Bogotá, Feb 22 (EFE).- The emotion of the Colombian Constitutional Court’s historic decision to decriminalize abortion up to 24 weeks continued Tuesday with celebrations of those who pushed for the change, along with the realization of the challenges that lie ahead.

Again in front of the headquarters of the court in Bogotá, but this time without the nerves accumulated during the more than 500 days spent waiting for the decision, more than 100 young women, with their characteristic green scarves, chanted: “It’s legal, it’s legal, abortion in Colombia is legal.”


Why abortion should be treated as an essential health service in humanitarian emergencies

Nelly Staderini, Doctors Without Borders
February 10, 2022

According to data from the World Health Organization, each year there are seven million hospitalizations due to complications related to unsafe abortion methods. For this reason, access to voluntary termination of pregnancy in humanitarian contexts should be considered a matter of public health, although unfortunately this is not how it is usually interpreted. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) knows first-hand the consequences of unsafe abortion. I personally know of numerous cases of women who have died trying to use sticks, pins, or hangers to terminate a pregnancy. Others ingest soap or laundry detergent, and some are poisoned by herbs or medications that are not indicated for this purpose.

We usually work in contexts where it is very common to receive women who have tried to have an abortion in a medical consultation, although they also go to the emergency services. This fact has a huge impact on our staff. Regardless of the reasons a person may have for terminating a pregnancy, the medical consequences of an unsafe abortion are always the same.


Nepal – Moving mountains: The women scaling new heights to deliver safe abortion care

Abortion pills are already saving lives in Nepal – and represent a potential health revolution for women worldwide

By Jennifer Rigby and Simon Townsley
14 January 2022

Every morning, Pragati Soti Khanal packs her huge grey and blue rucksack, ready to trek through Nepal’s famous mountains.

But she is not packing crampons and climbing ropes. Instead, in go scales, vast bottles of hand sanitiser, assorted medical instruments and a plastic box filled with pill packets.


How a Young Woman’s Death Led Me to Fight for Sexual and Reproductive Health Care for All

Dr. Melusi Dhlamini shares why he is an activist for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

By Dr Melusi Dhlamini
December 10, 2021

Dr. Melusi Dhlamini is a sexual and reproductive health care provider in South Africa and was named as one of the Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans in 2020.

I was born in the small rural town of Sannieshof, South Africa, in February 1988. I spent most of my early life, until the year I matriculated, between my birth town and Rustenburg.

Raised by my mother and aunt, I became a social justice activist whose values are rooted in intersectional feminism and what it aims to achieve. My activism is underpinned by a desire for gender equality and a world in which your gender and its various expressions; race; and social and economic standing do not negatively affect you. And I carry this into my work every day as a sexual and reproductive health care provider.


Putting patients first

Médecins Sans Frontières
18 November 2021

Every year, 25 million people worldwide end their pregnancies with unsafe abortions, and 22,800 of them die from the consequences. Despite these grim figures, abortion is often not treated like the essential health care service it is. Here, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) midwife Nelly Staderini discusses how MSF has incorporated safe abortion into a standard package of health services.

The following Q&A was translated and adapted from an interview with Staderini by the French podcast Programme B.


My abortion story: For International Safe Abortion Day, 15 women share their experiences

SEP 28, 2021
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Abortion is a common experience—people of all ages, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions decide to end their pregnancies for various reasons. Yet in many places across the globe, people who have abortions face harmful stereotypes, blame, and social stigma.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides safe abortion care and also treats people for the consequences of unsafe abortion, a leading cause of maternal mortality. In 2020, MSF teams provided more than 30,000 safe abortions in our health care facilities around the world. When our teams talk to people who are deciding to have an abortion, we often hear their personal stories. To mark International Safe Abortion Day, September 28, we want to help break abortion stigma by sharing some first-person stories from women in the places where MSF works. We hear from women all over the world—from Colombia to Democratic Republic of Congo, Greece to India—including students, midwives, and people with and without children.


How MSF is empowering women through self-care

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
Mar 12 2021

For many women and girls in New Zealand, the means to initiate self-care is readily available, with sufficient access to contraception, family planning resources and professional advice.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as, "the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health and cope with illness and disability, with or without the support of a health-care provider."