Insights into how the US abortion gag rule affects health services in Kenya

September 30, 2020
Boniface Ushie, Sara E Casey, Terry McGovern

The Mexico City Policy – often referred to as the “Global Gag Rule” – is a US government policy that requires non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are not based in the US and that receive US global health assistance to certify that they will not provide, refer for, counsel on, or advocate for abortion as a method of family planning. The rule also applies to any non-US funding that the organisation may receive.

The policy was rescinded by President Obama in 2009 but then reinstated and expanded by President Trump in 2017. While prior iterations applied only to family planning assistance (US$575 million in 2016), Trump’s new version extends the restrictions to nearly all US global health assistance – an estimated US$9.5 billion – which includes funding for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and maternal and child health. For example, it now means that an organisation that provides HIV care and treatment with US funding may not also provide safe abortion.


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.


Ghana – Reducing Unsafe Abortions, The Need For A More Comprehensive Services And Care For Women

By Afedzi Abdullah

Despite Ghana having relatively liberal laws on abortion, the procedure continues to be highly stigmatised, and as a result, many abortions are done illegally.

Consequently, the country is lacking accurate data on abortion incidence and unintended pregnancies which are very essential to planning reproductive health services.


Uganda – Global gag rule is cutting off funding for much needed health services

Global gag rule is cutting off funding for much needed health services

Thursday February 13 2020
By Moses Mulumba

For close to 15 years, I have been working as a health and human rights advocate, focusing on ensuring social justice in health systems for the most vulnerable.

Unsurprisingly, I have witnessed that women, mothers and young girls continue to be the major users of the health system. This is largely because of the critical maternal function they perform in society.


Secret abortions spike in Nigeria with Boko Haram chaos

Secret abortions spike in Nigeria with Boko Haram chaos

Chitra Nagarajan
October 14, 2019

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Kellu became pregnant after a Nigerian soldier offered her food and shelter in exchange for sex. But the destitute teenager - who lost her family when Boko Haram militants attacked her village two years earlier - did not want to have the baby.

After moving to a camp for displaced people in northeastern Borno state, where she relied on neighbours for food, 18-year-old Kellu wanted an abortion but did not know where to go - like a growing number of women since the Islamist insurgency began.


Botswana: Tshireletso Calls for Safe Abortion

Botswana: Tshireletso Calls for Safe Abortion

13 October 2019
Botswana Daily News (Gaborone)
By Collin Ntesang

Gaborone — The Assistant Minister of Local government and Rural Development, Ms Botlogile Tshireletso, has called for formulation of policies that could promote safe abortion.

Speaking at commemoration of the International Safe Abortion Day, Ms Tshireletso called on government to come up with initiatives that could promote access to safe and legal abortion, saying many women continued to lose their lives due to unsafe abortion.


Zimbabwe – Let’s break the silence on abortion and save lives

Let’s break the silence on abortion and save lives

08 Oct, 2019
Edinah Masiyiwa, Correspondent

The time to discuss unsafe abortions has never been more urgent in Zimbabwe, where nearly all abortions are clandestine and approximately 40 percent of these abortions result in complications such as severe bleeding, infection and even death.

Though the exact figures of women and girls who have died from unsafe abortions is not known, a study showed that abortions are the fifth leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in Zimbabwe.


Zimbabwe – Make post-abortion pills readily available

Make post-abortion pills readily available

Editorial Comment
21 September 2019

THERE is a glaring shortage of post-abortion pills across Zimbabwe.

Abortion is illegal in the country except in circumstances where the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, where there is serious risk the child to be born will suffer from a physical or mental defect or when the pregnancy is a result of rape.

More and more women are dying each year from untreated or inadequately treated abortion-related complications.


Zimbabwe in top maternal mortality rates

Zimbabwe in top maternal mortality rates

21 Sep, 2019
Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter

LESS than half of health facilities in Zimbabwe are fully equipped to handle pregnancy-related complications which include post-abortion care, a study has shown.

In 2016 alone, 66 800 unsafe abortions were carried out according to a recent study in the country, which translates to about 18 out of every 1 000 pregnancies.


Kenya – Standards Are Not Enough: Policy Implementation Remains Central

Standards Are Not Enough: Policy Implementation Remains Central

August 22, 2019
By Melvine P. Ouyo

In 2013, Kenya’s Ministry of Health made the devastating decision to withdraw the Standards and Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion. This caused a huge influx in untrained back street abortions, immense suffering, and the loss of countless lives. After six years of irreversible damage from this decision, Kenya’s High Court issued a clear ruling this summer: the government had violated the rights of Kenyan women and girls by withdrawing the Standards and Guidelines. It was a revolutionary moment for Kenyan communities.

The worldwide movement to give women freedom to choices first culminated at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. The conference brought diverse views of human rights, population, sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and sustainable development. It marked a global consensus that placed human dignity and human rights—including the right to plan a family—at the heart of development.