For immediate release, September 23nd, 2020
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Web, Women on Waves and AidAccess, has been chosen among the 100 most influential people of the world in 2020 by Time magazine.
Cecile Richards writes for Time 100: "In this moment of fear and uncertainty, Gomperts is a beacon of hope, standing up for the principle that safe abortion is a human right."
The full list of the Time most influential people of 2020 can be seen here: time.com/time100
Both abortion advocates and opponents have used the COVID-19 crisis to further their policy goals.
Carrie N. Baker
Sep 21, 2020
The gendered dimensions of the political response to the COVID-19 crisis are manifesting clearly in efforts to close abortion clinics, as well as in campaigns led by doctors, lawyers, and reproductive rights advocates to expand access to telemedicine abortion during the pandemic and beyond.
Anti-abortion politicians in states across the country have used the COVID-19 pandemic to attempt to restrict abortion, arguing that abortion is not essential health care and that banning the procedure will conserve personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases. In March and April of 2020, 12 states tried to restrict abortion, including Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, among others. Legislators in Kentucky passed a bill to allow the state’s Attorney General to block abortion access during COVID-19, but the Kentucky governor vetoed the bill.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 | NEWS
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?
by Marge Berer
26 August 2020
Telemedicine for abortion care is the use of communications technology to arrange an abortion in a clinical setting or self-managed by the woman at home with medical abortion pills and for follow-up after the abortion. For International Safe Abortion Day, 28 September 2020, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion (ICWRSA) is promoting the use of telemedicine to arrange and follow-up an abortion and to support women’s right to have an abortion at home in the first trimester of pregnancy with medical abortion pills if she so chooses.
This discussion paper provides a history of how the use of telemedicine
and self-managed abortion with abortion pills at home have developed.
Initially, in Brazil in the 1980s, women shared information about the use of
misoprostol informally. Then, feminist-run safe abortion information hotlines
were set up, starting in 2005, to provide women with the information they need
(and in some cases provide the pills) to have an abortion at home. There are
currently one or more such hotlines in at least 26 countries in all world
regions. More recently, health professionals began to use what is now called
telemedicine (or telehealth) for this same purpose. This paper is about telemedicine
and the conditions that make self-managed abortion safe, and gives examples of
abortion services that put telemedicine and self-managed abortion together. It
also covers the role pharmacies can and are playing in support of these
Abortion providers say self-managed abortions can give women more autonomy over their bodies, but access to this form of abortion remains limited in South Africa. Tiyese Jeranji looks at exactly what self-managed abortion entails.
By Tiyese Jeranji for Spotlight
24 August 2020
Though abortion has been legal in South Africa since 1996, many abortions still take place outside of formal health settings.
At a conference on abortion and reproductive justice in Makhanda in 2018, the Department of Social Development said between 52% and 58% of the estimated 260,000 abortions that take place in South Africa every year are illegal. The Guttmacher Institute (a research and policy organisation), estimates that 50% of abortions in South Africa take place in settings not regulated by the health sector.
With abortion services becoming available through telemedicine and self-managed abortions increasingly gaining traction globally, the relevance and legality of abortion law should be questioned as women demand reproductive justice, and feminists get organising.
By Marion Stevens
14 August 2020
Abortion has always been legal in South Africa, a fact which may surprise many people. The colonial government introduced Roman-Dutch law, which allowed abortions to take place under certain conditions.
The Abortion and Sterilisation Act 2 of 1975 reserved access to abortion for white women, while increasing control over black women’s bodies – all within a population control framework. Under this act, approximately 1,000 white women accessed abortion every year, while the number of black women seeking abortions was not even recorded.
One woman reveals the lengths she went to in order to receive an abortion when Texas clinics closed due to the pandemic.
As told to Anna Louie Sussman
Aug 10, 2020
Shortly after Esmarie* learned she was pregnant in mid-March, the city in South Central Texas where she lives started to shut down in response to the coronavirus. Her college classes went online and she lost shifts at the two restaurants where she works, leaving her barely able to afford groceries. She knew right away that she did not want to continue the pregnancy, but feared abortion clinics would soon be shut down, too. It would be another six weeks before she was able to resolve her pregnancy with a self-managed abortion using abortion pills, which, when used as directed, have a success rate of 95 percent and are an increasingly popular option during the pandemic (one study showed a 27 percent rise in requests across the U.S., and a 94 percent increase in demand in Texas). Esmarie, 19, told us about her experience obtaining an abortion during the pandemic.
The day I found out I was pregnant, I saw all over Facebook that Texas was going to be shutting down the clinics. I thought, I’m not going to be able to have this abortion. I thought that I didn't have a choice—I was going to have to just live with it. It was very scary because I couldn't tell anybody. I was trying to get as many hours of work as I could.
Aug. 8, 2020
By The Associated Press
ROME (AP) — Women in Italy can now use the abortion pill on an outpatient basis rather than be hospitalized to terminate a pregnancy.
Italy’s health minister, Roberto Speranza, announced the change in guidelines in a tweet Saturday. He said it was based on scientific evidence and was “an important step forward” in line with Italy’s 1978 law legalizing abortion.
Previously, women in Italy had to admitted to the hospital to take mifepristone, which terminates a pregnancy by causing the embryo to detach from the uterine wall.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
In 2018, Ipas Central America and Mexico (Ipas CAM) created an informational video in Spanish on how women can safely self-manage an abortion using misoprostol, a safe and effective drug readily available in most pharmacies in Mexico without a prescription. Staff started using the video to train Mexican pharmacy workers so they could advise and support women seeking abortion pills.
But they quickly realized that views of the video on their YouTube channel far outpaced the number of trainings they were doing. People searching the internet for information on abortion with pills were finding and watching their video (“Safe Abortion with Misoprostol”) by the thousands, and a robust discussion had also started in the comments section.
July 23, 2020
As some states rushed to restrict abortion amid the coronavirus pandemic, one new study has found an increased demand in self-managed abortions. Unsurprisingly, many of these requests are happening in states with more severe restrictions as well as more serious COVID-19 outbreaks.
The study, published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology journal, tracked requests for medication abortion by mail through data from Aid Access, an online medication abortion pill provider, during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic's spread and consequent lockdown measures in the U.S.