Poor Access to Safe Abortions Is Killing South Asian Women

Even in countries where abortion is legal, access to safe abortions remains challenging

By Bansari Kamdar
June 15, 2021

One in every four maternal deaths around the world happens in South Asia. Lack of access to safe and legal abortions and contraceptives is a leading reason for the region’s high maternal mortality rate. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than half the abortions in South and Central Asia were safe.

In Bhutan, which has a 1.4 percent case fatality rate, one of the main reasons for maternal mortality is abortion complications. Section 146 of Bhutan’s Penal Code legalizes abortion only if it is to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy resulted from incest and rape or the mother is not of sound mental condition. Denied access to safe abortion, many Bhutanese women cross the border to neighboring India, where abortion, while legal on most grounds, remains dangerous.

Continued: https://thediplomat.com/2021/06/poor-access-to-safe-abortions-is-killing-south-asian-women/


‘A perilous future’: UK aid budget cuts will ‘cause’ 23,500 maternal deaths

Exclusive: Cuts will leave extra 6.5 million people unable to get contraception

Maya Oppenheim, Women’s Correspondent
June 7, 2021

The UK’s cuts to the aid budget will result in 23,500 women dying while pregnant, during childbirth or from unsafe abortions which go wrong, experts have warned.

MSI Reproductive Choices, a leading reproductive health charity, estimates the maternal deaths will be the result of cuts to its services, leaving an extra 6.5 million people in the most “marginalised, remote” areas not able to get the contraception they “desperately” require.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-aid-budget-cuts-maternal-deaths-b1861066.html


UK accused of ‘Trump tactics’ after ‘devastating’ £131m cut to family planning aid

Millions of the world’s poorest women and girls will ‘pay the price’ of the UK government reneging on its commitments, say aid workers

Kerry Cullinan
30 April 2021

The UK government has been accused of “using tactics reminiscent of the Trump era” after cutting millions in aid for family planning.

Boris Johnson’s government is set to slash its commitment to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) by 85% – from an expected contribution of £154m to just £23m – in an enormous blow for women and girls in the poorest countries where health services have already been decimated by COVID-19.

Continued: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/uk-accused-of-trump-tactics-after-devastating-131m-cut-to-family-planning-aid/


Abortion and the right to choice: Is MTP (Amendment) Act 2021 a breakthrough for India?

Gayatri Vinayak
Mon., April 5, 2021

Rajya Sabha recently passed a bill to allow abortions of up to 24 weeks for special categories of women, up from the existing 20 weeks gestation period.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2021, which amends the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, special categories of women, including victims of incest, rape victims, minors and differently-abled women, will be allowed to undergo abortion till 24 weeks.

Continued: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/abortion-and-the-right-to-choice-is-mtp-amendment-act-2021-a-breakthrough-for-india-112220154.html


The pandemic has caused as many as 1.4 million unintended pregnancies. Here’s how that impacts women’s lives.

Abigail Higgins, The Lily
Mar. 22, 2021

When the world ground to a halt a year ago, millions of women saw their contraceptive supplies dry up and their routes to replenish them cut off.

New research by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that 12 million women couldn’t get the family planning services they needed, leading to an estimated 1.4 million unintended pregnancies.

Continued: https://www.thelily.com/the-pandemic-has-caused-as-many-as-14-million-unintended-pregnancies-heres-how-that-impacts-womens-lives/


Southeast Asia – Less Contraception Use In A Pandemic?

Athira Nortajuddin
15 March 2021

Just last year when over half of humanity was confined to their homes due to COVID-19 preventive measures, Karex, a Malaysian contraceptives manufacturer predicted a global condom shortage as the pandemic shuttered factories and disrupted supply chains.

This came as Malaysia, one of the world’s top rubber producers and a major source of condoms, imposed a nationwide lockdown – known locally as the Movement Control Order (MCO). The MCO was implemented sometime in mid-March 2020 for several months.

Continued: https://theaseanpost.com/article/less-contraception-use-pandemic


How lawmakers made it nearly impossible to legalize abortion in Honduras

By Tatiana Arias, CNN
Sun January 31, 2021

(CNN)This week, lawmakers in Honduras changed the country's constitution to make it virtually impossible to legalize abortion in the future -- an extreme election-year move that critics warn will further endanger women's health.

On Thursday, the country's Congress ratified a January 21 amendment to constitutional Article 67, which now specifically prohibits any "interruption of life" to a fetus, "whose life must be respected from the moment of conception."

Continued: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/31/americas/honduras-abortion-ban-ratified-intl/index.html


Health Providers Worldwide Welcome Biden Reversal of Anti-Abortion Rule

By restoring funding cut off by his predecessor, President Biden ended four years of what abortion rights advocates called a concerted assault on women’s reproductive health in the developing world.

By Bhadra Sharma, Ruth Maclean, Oscar Lopez and Rick Gladstone
New York Times
Jan. 29, 2021

KATHMANDU, Nepal — When President Donald J. Trump scrapped tens of millions of dollars in aid to women’s health care providers around the world four years ago, the Family Planning Association of Nepal was forced to dismiss more than 200 people and close clinics in at least four parts of the country, one of Asia’s poorest.

Family planning education and birth-control distribution slowed or stopped in Nepal, which relies heavily on American financial assistance for public health programs. While abortion is legal in the country, the options for safe procedures were abruptly narrowed.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/world/asia/gag-rule-abortion.html


Biden starts rolling back Trump anti-abortion rules

Executive orders aim to put new administration's reproductive rights stamp on the global stage.

By ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN
01/28/2021

President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders on Thursday aimed at rolling back some of the Trump administration’s most far-reaching abortion restrictions, including one denying U.S. aid to health groups abroad that provide information about the procedure.

The actions will begin restoring federal support to abortion providers and organizations that offer abortion counseling while promoting the new administration's reproductive rights agenda on the global stage.

Continued:  https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/28/biden-trump-anti-abortion-rules-463347


Thailand Legalizes Early-Term Abortions but Keeps Other Restrictions

Women who end a pregnancy after 12 weeks could still face prison or fines. Abortion rights advocates say more change is needed.

By Muktita Suhartono and Mike Ives
Jan. 28, 2021

BANGKOK — Thailand’s Parliament has voted to make abortion legal in the first trimester, while keeping penalties in place for women who undergo it later in their pregnancies.

Lawmakers in the Senate voted 166 to 7 on Monday to amend a law that had imposed prison terms of up to three years for anyone having an abortion, and up to five years for those who perform one. The new version allows any woman to end a pregnancy in the first 12 weeks.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/28/world/asia/thailand-abortion-rights.html