Oct. 18, 2022
By Anu Kumar (Ipas)
Graphics by Sara Chodosh
Abortion has been legal in Ethiopia under a broad range of circumstances for the past 17 years. Nevertheless, at the Shekebedo Health Center, abortions cannot be performed at all. The clinic, situated in a rural part of southwestern Ethiopia where quality health care is hard to access, is partially funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. This funding has stopped the clinic from offering abortions to Ethiopian women.
The U.S. law that has impeded Shekebedo from providing abortions, known as the Helms Amendment, was passed in 1973 during the backlash to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states — and which the current court overturned in June. Helms prohibits the federal government from using foreign aid to pay for “abortion as a method of family planning.”
It’s imperative that advocates not limit their advocacy to the United States but expand it to countries around the world affected by US restrictions.
By Aruna Uprety, Nira Singh Shrestha, Astha Sharma, Giriraj Mani Pokharel and Sumesh Shiwakoty
Septe 23, 2022
The US Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade has sparked debate in the United States about how to protect reproductive freedom. President Biden proposed ending the Senate filibuster rule in order for Congress to pass legislation legalizing abortion rights, and he signed an executive order to “protect access to reproductive healthcare services.” In some states, legislators have enacted new laws that expanded abortion rights. However, what is missing in this debate is similar discourse and concrete actions by Democrats to protect reproductive rights not only in the United States but also in less-developed countries, which are directly affected by Republican attacks on US funding for reproductive health around the world.
BY STEPHANIE MUSHO
SEPTEMBER 7, 2022
For too long, sexual and reproductive rights in Kenya have operated in a vacuum. Despite the constitution providing for the “highest attainable standard” of reproductive health, legislators have failed to enact any legislation on the issue, shooting down a bill in 2014 and another in 2019. The outgoing administration of Uhuru Kenyatta has opposed the delivery of sex education and contraception to adolescent and failed to support teenage mothers.
This has contributed to several worrying statistics. Kenya has the world’s third highest teenage pregnancy rate. Nearly 100 girls in the country contract HIV each week. Over 2,600 women and girls die annually from complications arising from unsafe abortion.
7 SEPTEMBER 2022
By Stephanie Musho
Kenya's sexual health rights are beholden to US decisionmakers. New legislators must take back control.
For too long, sexual and reproductive rights in Kenya have operated in a vacuum. Despite the constitution providing for the "highest attainable standard" of reproductive health, legislators have failed to enact any legislation on the issue, shooting down a bill in 2014 and another in 2019. The outgoing administration of Uhuru Kenyatta has opposed the delivery of sex education and contraception to adolescent and failed to support teenage mothers.
Why Abortion Battles in America Won’t Halt Reform Abroad
By Nina Brooks, Minzee Kim, Elizabeth Heger Boyle, and Wesley Longhofer
June 16, 2022
Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court will release a ruling that is likely to overturn its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the case that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion. Reversing Roe would have profound implications for abortion access in the United States. Such a decision would also have ramifications abroad, particularly if a judicial ruling empowers future U.S. presidential administrations to push for restrictions on abortion in other parts of the world.
It is important, however, not to overstate U.S. influence on global abortion policy. The 1973 case was a landmark in allowing abortion access and served as an example to abortion advocates across the world. But in the 50 years since, the United States’ international messaging on abortion has been incoherent.
The US policies on abortion, whether we like it or not, significantly influence how seriously governments around the world take the issue of unsafe abortions.
19 May 2022
A leaked draft of a United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that gave women the constitutional right to abortion, recently put abortion rights once again on the global agenda.
As a human rights lawyer in Kenya, I too am watching the developments in Washington, DC with worry. This is not only because I feel for American women being forced to fight for their right to bodily autonomy, but also because case law in commonwealth jurisdictions such as Kenya is sometimes influenced by decisions taken in US courtrooms.
Why It’s Time to End This Bad Abortion Policy
the US Exports Abroad
Congress can take action right now to permanently repeal the harmful global gag
rule by passing funding bills for FY 2022.
Feb 4, 2022
Vanessa Geffrard, Rewire News
Under the glow of a cell phone flashlight, I watched as the clinician inserted
the last intrauterine device. It was past 8 p.m., and as night stretched out
before us, I reflected on a ten-plus-hour day spent helping well over 100 women
who had waited all day to get an IUD, birth control, or gynecological services
at a rural village health center.
It was July 2015, and I was in Nigeria for three weeks (and Kenya for one week)
as part of the Planned Parenthood Global Youth Ambassador Fellowship Program to
witness some of Planned Parenthood Global’s work expanding sexual and
reproductive health services in communities. Demand for these services—and a
clinic staff dedicated to delivering them—was clear. These women, many of them
with their children, had traveled some distance to spend hours waiting for
sexual and reproductive health care. To provide care to everyone present, the
clinicians skipped their lunches.
Examples from around the world show that restrictions can actually lead to more, not fewer, abortions.
By Neha Wadekar, a Nairobi-based journalist.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021
In a 5-4 decision late Wednesday night, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to block a Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks, which is before many women even know they’re pregnant. Known as Senate Bill 8, the law does not allow exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, making it the harshest abortion restriction in the country. The law sets the stage for a battle over the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, which states that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
Reduced abortion access in the United States could have catastrophic results. In countries around the world with limited or no access to safe, affordable abortion, people are either forced to keep unwanted pregnancies or dismembered or even killed by unsafe abortions each day.
by MARJORIE NEWMAN-WILLIAMS
Dr. Sukesh Sharma has worked as a gynecologist and surgeon for more than 40 years, providing services like safe abortion and tubal ligation to women in India. While he has seen progress in women’s reproductive healthcare since he started more than four decades ago—“At that time there were many untrained people doing abortions,” he said of his early career—he has also seen how U.S. politics have interfered with access to safe abortion and other services for Indian women.
Six times, Sharma has seen the global gag rule instated or repealed,
cutting off funding for his services and others, putting the lives of the women
he serves at risk.
July 12, 2021
It took five months for the Biden administration to make a substantive policy change to advance abortion rights. And even that change was buried in a 61-page regulation setting rules for 2022's Affordable Care Act enrollment.
The policy would reverse a Trump administration rule requiring insurers that cover abortion to send separate bills for that coverage. Abortion-rights opponents had hoped the extra paperwork would persuade insurers to stop offering the coverage.