OCTOBER 20, 2020
Katie realized she was pregnant during the first week of April 2020. She decided pretty quickly that she wanted to terminate the pregnancy. She already had two kids, and she’d just been diagnosed with high blood pressure. The condition was still uncontrolled, which made her pregnancy high-risk. But it was just weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. She was in full lockdown, and she wasn’t sure if she could get an abortion.
"I was Googling abortions," she tells Refinery29. "My biggest thing was not wanting to actually go to a place." Besides being afraid of catching the virus, the nearest clinic to Katie was six hours away from her home in New Mexico, and she wasn’t sure how she’d find the time to get there.
Across the globe, travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders and shifting health care priorities have combined to make abortion an even more difficult procedure to obtain.
As hospitals around the globe direct their attention and resources toward helping COVID-19 patients, other medical needs are, inevitably, getting less attention. One of those is women's reproductive health and access, in particular, to abortion, as evidenced in a recent study by the advocacy group Marie Stopes International. In a recent report, the organization noted that between January and June, in 37 countries, nearly two million fewer women received abortions than in the same period last year.
• Travel restrictions and bans have had an impact as well, limiting options for women in places ranging from the United States to Poland, as they are unable to access abortions in other states or countries where it is considered an essential procedure.
Alexandra Thompson, Yahoo Style UK
Oct. 8, 2020
Experts hope the relaxation of at-home abortion services amid the coronavirus pandemic will continue in England once the outbreak has passed.
Abortion is one of the most common procedures among women of a reproductive age.
Opinion by Rachel Rebouché
Oct. 5, 2020
A newly configured Supreme Court featuring a Justice Amy Coney Barrett need not overturn Roe v. Wade to gut abortion rights. The court stands poised to permit states and the federal government unfettered discretion to restrict abortion on the thinnest of justifications. The most immediate example is before the court now and could have repercussions for policies aimed at curbing the covid-19 pandemic.
Since approving medication abortion 20 years ago, the Food and Drug Administration has required in-person delivery of the first drug, mifepristone, that precipitates a nonsurgical abortion. In July, the federal district court in Maryland suspended the in-person requirement during the pandemic, ruling that the FDA’s restriction was unnecessary, given the safety and efficacy of medication abortion, and that it endangered patients who should otherwise minimize contact with providers.
After 20 years in the U.S., medication abortion is finally widely accessible through telehealth. But a looming Supreme Court ruling could change all that.
BY RUTH READER
In April of this year, when some of Minnesota’s already few abortion clinics started to close because of the pandemic, a new organization popped up with a novel idea: It would bring abortion services to Minnesotans using a mobile clinic. Called Just The Pill, its goal was to connect the state’s most rural corners with medication abortion care, a two-pill regimen that can end a pregnancy.
In the past, it’s been hard for sexual health groups to get medication abortion to people in remote areas. The Food and Drug Administration restricts one of the medications, mifepristone, in several ways. Patients must take the pill at a clinic, for example. On top of that, states have their own rules that can further encumber access. However, the medical data overwhelmingly shows the abortion pill is safe, even to take at home alone. Health experts say politics—not data—are informing these rules.
1 October 2020
Jameen Kaur, Advocating for Safe Abortion Project, FIGO
28 September 2020: on the 100th anniversary of the first law to legalise access to abortion, FIGO stands in solidarity with the international safe abortion campaign calls to strengthen access to telemedicine/self-managed abortion.
In recent months Alexandra Kollontai’s name has been shared within the reproductive rights community. It was Kollontai’s visionary leadership that led to Russia being the first country in the world to legalise abortion in 1920.
by CARRIE N. BAKER
For years, pharmacies outside the U.S. have been shipping abortion pills to American women wanting to end their pregnancies. But now, for the first time, a U.S.-based pharmacy—Honeybee Health—is distributing abortion pills directly to patients within the country by mail, now legal because of a recent federal court ruling.
“This is a momentous achievement for Americans, particularly for women of color and others who historically faced barriers to reproductive healthcare that are made even worse by COVID-19,” said Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, co-founder, co-CEO and lead pharmacist of Honeybee Health.
Twenty years after medication abortion was approved in the U.S., patients are still jumping through hoops to access it.
By Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost US
Twenty years ago today, the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, a drug used to terminate early pregnancies that held the promise of revolutionizing abortion care in the U.S.
Colloquially called the abortion pill, mifepristone is taken in combination with another drug, misoprostol, and allows patients under 10 weeks pregnant to have an abortion in the privacy of their home, instead of inside an abortion clinic. Reproductive rights activists lobbying for the drug envisioned a future where women could have the pills prescribed by their primary physician and dispensed at their local pharmacy, transforming abortion into just another part of normal health care.
28 SEP 2020
By Lisa Juanola, KIT SRHR Advisor and Irene de Vries, KIT Advisor on SRHR, Maternal and Newborn Care.
Internationally, the fight for the right to safe and legal abortion is ongoing. The Netherlands is blessed with liberal laws and good access to safe abortion care, meaning it often serves as an example. The Netherlands is also a leading country when it comes to women’s rights and reproductive health. However, things could be even better and more women-friendly. What does The Netherlands have to offer in the global fight for safe and legal abortion, and what can we learn from international developments in this field?
As an evaluation shows, the Dutch ‘Termination of Pregnancy Act’ is working well. The number of terminations is stable at around 8.6 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 45, and The Netherlands has one of the lowest rates of abortion in the world.
By Miriam Berger
September 26, 2020
Argentina’s president was expected to propose a landmark law to decriminalize abortion, setting a new standard for Latin America. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. The release date was delayed, indefinitely.
Ruth Zurbriggen, a reproductive rights activist with the group Socorristas en Red, felt “pain and rage.” But the group’s work continued — efforts, she said, made even more pressing as the pandemic took center stage.