Outcry in Poland over abortion law

Two Polish hospitals refused to terminate the pregnancy of an underage rape victim. The case has sparked controversy over the country's restrictive legislation, with women's rights activists insisting it must be eased.

Jacek Lepiarz
February 5, 2023

A scandal is raging in Polish politics and in the media, concering the shocking case of a 14-year-old rape victim. The girl, who is from the Podlaskie region in northeastern Poland and has mental disabilities, was raped by her own uncle and became pregnant as a result. She was unaware of her condition, but her aunt noticed it and tried to help her get an abortion.

Although the girl had written confirmation from the public prosecutor that she was pregnant as the result of a crime, which gave her the right to a legal abortion, two hospitals in the region refused to carry out the procedure. The province of Podlaskie on the Belarusian border is a bastion of the right-wing conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS), which has been in power in Poland since 2015.

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/poland-outcry-over-abortion-law/a-64586531

Polish health minister ‘appalled’ girl, 14, struggled to get abortion after rape

Doctors at several hospitals cited a conscience clause to avoid treating the teenager who has a mental disability

Agence France-Presse in Warsaw
Mon 30 Jan 2023

Poland’s health minister has weighed in on a high-profile rape case, saying it was “unacceptable” that a mentally disabled 14-year-old girl struggled to get a legal abortion.

The case, in which doctors at several hospitals used a conscience clause to avoid carrying out the procedure, has sparked renewed calls to ease the Catholic country’s abortion laws, which are among Europe’s most stringent.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/30/polish-health-minister-appalled-girl-14-struggled-to-get-abortion-after

India – Courts may ‘allow abortion beyond 24 weeks’ of pregnancy for sexual assault victims: Delhi HC

Single-judge bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma issued guidelines while hearing a petition by a 14-yr-old victim, seeking abortion in the 25th week of her pregnancy.

27 January, 2023

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued guidelines for abortion in cases of sexual assault, noting that a victim cannot be forced to give birth to a child as it would violate her right to live with dignity.

The judgment delivered by a single-judge bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma was uploaded Thursday on the Delhi HC website. The judge observed that crucial time is lost in the process of passing termination orders. It issued a slew of directions to investigating officers in cases of pregnancies exceeding 24 weeks.

Continued: https://theprint.in/judiciary/courts-may-allow-abortion-beyond-24-weeks-of-pregnancy-for-sexual-assault-victims-delhi-hc/1337845/  

Disabled 14-year-old rape victim refused abortion in Poland by hospitals in her province

JAN 25, 2023
Notes from Poland

A 14-year-old disabled girl who became pregnant as a result of rape was refused an abortion by hospitals in her province, forcing her to travel across the country to the capital, Warsaw, to obtain a termination.

While doctors in Poland are allowed to refuse to perform an abortion under a so-called “conscience clause”, hospitals are required to inform patients where they can obtain a legal termination. In this case it appears that did not happen.

Continued: https://notesfrompoland.com/2023/01/25/disabled-14-year-old-rape-victim-refused-abortion-in-poland-by-hospitals-in-her-province/

Nigeria – Probe abortion report, feminists urge FG

24th January 2023

By  Gbenga Oloniniran

Nigerian feminists have urged the Federal Government, through the National Human Rights Commission, to probe the forced abortions report allegedly perpetuated by the military in the northeastern part of Nigeria.

An international news agency, Reuters, had accused the Nigerian Army of running a programme where forceful abortions were carried out on female victims of Boko Haram/Islamic State in West African Province.

Continued: https://punchng.com/probe-abortion-report-feminists-urge-fg/

Teenage girls turn to rat poison as unsafe abortion ‘epidemic’ spirals

Abortion is illegal in Sierra Leone, forcing women to abort unwanted pregnancies via dangerous practices. The consequences can be fatal

By Tom Collins
13 December 2022

Fanella Bola lay against the perimeter walls of a hospital in Sierra Leone and cried at the thought of going through with her pregnancy. The 17-year-old had been turned away from almost every hospital in the capital city of Freetown, where abortion is illegal. 

As she dried her tears and prepared to trudge home, the schoolgirl was approached by a market woman who said there was another way.

Continued: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/women-and-girls/teenage-girls-turn-rat-poison-unsafe-abortion-epidemic-spirals/

Call to review procedures, laws, that ensure access to legal abortion by rape victims in Sudan

December 11 - 2022

A workshop focusing on legal abortion in Sudan has called for amendments to procedures and laws regarding rape victims’ rights to legal abortion, and suggests a raft of training courses for police, medical professionals, and members of the media, to increase awareness when dealing with victims of gender-based violence (GBV).

The two-day workshop, Legal Abortion Workshop, Reality, Challenges and Prospects, was organised in Khartoum last week by the Sima Centre for Training and Protection of Women and Children’s Rights, within the framework of the international 16-day campaign to combat GBV.

Continued: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/call-to-review-procedures-laws-that-ensure-access-to-legal-abortion-by-rape-victims-in-sudan

India – 13-year-old’s abortion: Teen admitted in hospital

Pankul Sharma & Tanmayee Tyagi
December 10, 2022

DEHRADUN: The 13-year old, 26-week pregnant rape survivor, for whom the HC had ordered to perform an immediate abortion, has been admitted to a government hospital and according to chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Manoj Upreti, “the process to comply with the court’s directions has started and the procedure will be performed in a day or two.”

The single bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Mishra, which heard the case on Wednesday had asked the CMO to act with urgency, provided there’s no danger to her life and sought an update on Friday.

Continued: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/13-year-olds-abortion-teen-admitted-in-hospital/articleshow/96122445.cms

USA – “In the end we will win”: The faces of the fight for abortion rights

The Supreme Court’s decision to end federal protections for abortion access didn’t just rewind the clock 50 years, it opened a Pandora’s box of confusing, potentially life-threatening legal complications. VF talks with five women on the front lines.

OCTOBER 12, 2022

Tattooed on Caitlin Bernard’s left foot is the image of a coat hanger and the words “Trust Women.” The 38-year-old Indiana-based ob-gyn got it years ago; it was intended as a reminder of life before Roe v. Wade. Bernard has long paired her medical career with advocacy. She was a plaintiff in an unsuccessful 2019 American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit to reverse Indiana’s near-total ban on second-trimester abortions. Post-Roe, Indiana became the first state to pass an abortion ban. Now, Bernard is girding for another legal fight—this time against Republican Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita, who she says maligned her practice as Bernard became a lightning rod in one of the most publicized cases after the Dobbs decision stripped federal abortion protections and turned the country into a patchwork of disparate laws.

Continued: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/10/the-fight-for-abortion-rights

‘Extraordinary moment’: the 1970s abortion case that changed French law

Issued on: 10/10/2022

Paris (AFP) – Five decades ago, a lawyer convinced a French court to acquit a teenage girl who illegally terminated her pregnancy after being raped, a landmark case that would pave the way for the right to abortion in France.

Marie-Claire Chevalier was 16 when a boy the same age attacked her and made her pregnant. Her mother, an employee of the Paris public transport authority, helped her find a backstreet abortion.

Continued; https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20221010-extraordinary-moment-the-1970s-abortion-case-that-changed-french-law