‘Umbuntu: I am because we are’ – East, Central and Southern Africa OBGYNs come together to inspire and be inspired

24 November 2022
Chira Zerbo, FIGO.  Project Assistant, Advocating for Safe Abortion Project

In October 2022, the first Community of Practice (COP) – a partnership between the East, Central, and Southern Africa College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ECSACOG) and FIGO’s Advocating for Safe Abortion Project – was hosted in Rwanda.

The COP is comprised of sexual reproductive health champions from 10 national OBGYN societies – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique – that came together to leverage their clinical expertise and resources to address the scale of unsafe abortion in the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa region.

Continued: https://www.figo.org/news/east-central-and-southern-africa-obgyns-inspire


Poland’s de facto abortion ban risks lives, says MEP

By Clara Bauer-Babef and Eleonora Vasques | EURACTIV.com
Nov 18, 2022

While technically allowed in some cases, abortion in Poland may as well be forbidden, putting women’s lives at risk, said Robert Biedron, EU lawmaker and leader of the Polish opposition party Nowa Lewica on Thursday (17 November).

Two years ago, Poland’s constitutional court approved a highly-restrictive new law that de facto banned abortion. Only 107 legal abortions were performed in 2021, approximately 90% less than in previous years, according to figures published by the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

Continued: https://www.euractiv.com/section/health-consumers/news/polands-de-facto-abortion-ban-risks-lives-says-mep/


Updated family planning guide promotes empowerment, health and wellbeing – WHO

Wider access to self-administered contraceptives and the use of digital technologies by providers are just two of the tangible measures outlined in the latest edition of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance on family planning.

15 November 2022

WHO’s updated landmark Family Planning Handbook, launched on Tuesday, informs health workers on protecting access to family planning services during emergencies, and provides policy makers with the most current information on contraceptive options.

“Family planning promotes self-actualization, empowerment, as well as health and wellbeing, and reduces maternal and infant deaths through the prevention of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion”, said Pascale Allotey, WHO’s Director for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. 

Continued: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/11/1130592


How the US scrapping of Roe v Wade threatens the global medical abortion revolution

Medical abortions are a global success story, and not one that will be easily derailed by the legislative backsliding in the US. Time, now, to close the access gaps, report Sally Howard and Geetanjali Krishna

BMJ 2022; 379
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2349 (Published 19 October 2022)

Sally Howard, Geetanjali Krishna

In 2021, a 20 year old woman in Hyderabad, India, discovered she was pregnant.
A well educated, city girl, she was nevertheless afraid of the stigma attached
to unmarried pregnancy and did not know if she could legally terminate the
pregnancy. Around the same time, another young couple living together in
Bengaluru were in a similar predicament.

“Both women were not ready for a child but completely clueless about the
options they had, and the gestation period up to which abortion is legally
allowed in India,” says Anusha Pilli, a doctor who practises privately in
Hyderabad. Pilli helped both women to get medical abortions before their first
trimesters ended.

Continued: https://www.bmj.com/content/379/bmj.o2349


Abortion in Kenya and Benin: medical safety isn’t enough – women and girls need to feel safe socially too

September 27, 2022
Ramatou Ouedraogo, Grace Kimemia, Jonna Both

Safe abortion and post abortion care are essential health services. But until the publication of the 2022 World Health Organization (WHO) abortion care guidelines there was a narrow definition of abortion safety. In previous WHO guidelines, medical safety was the guiding principle of safe abortion. Safety, according the WHO, referred to abortion carried out using the recommended methods, by a person with the necessary skills or in an environment that conformed to minimal medical standards, or both.

However, research shows that many girls and young women do not search for medical safety when seeking abortion care. They prioritise “social safety”. This is the case regardless of whether they live in settings with restrictive or more liberal laws. Women’s priority is avoiding prosecution and social stigma.

Continued: https://theconversation.com/abortion-in-kenya-and-benin-medical-safety-isnt-enough-women-and-girls-need-to-feel-safe-socially-too-189151


Republican abortion bans restrict women’s access to other essential medicine

Many pharmacies and physicians are forced to deny patients access to drugs, such as methotrexate, that can be used to help induce an abortion

Maya Yang
Mon 26 Sep 2022

A few weeks after the supreme court’s 24 June decision to overturn the nationwide abortion rights established by Roe v Wade, the pharmacy chain Walgreens sent Annie England Noblin a message, informing her that her monthly prescription of methotrexate was held up.     

Noblin, a 40-year-old college instructor in rural Missouri, never had trouble getting her monthly prescription of methotrexate for her rheumatoid arthritis. So she went to her local Walgreens to figure out why, standing in line with other customers as she waited for an explanation.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/26/us-abortion-bans-restrict-access-essential-medications


Philippines: Rights groups fear rollback of reproductive care
Many fear that the US move to overturn Roe v. Wade could curb tenuous rights gains in the Philippines. Abortion policies in the country are some of the most restrictive in the world.

Aug 11, 2022
Ana P. Santos

Women's rights advocates in the Philippines fear that the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States could also reverse precarious gains in reproductive and sexual health rights in the Southeast Asian country. The US ruling, which was made in 1973 and overturned in June, guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion.

Many believe that the United States' approach to reproductive health care could set the stage for the Philippines.

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/philippines-rights-groups-fear-rollback-of-reproductive-care/a-62781467


Roe v Wade: How its scrapping will affect women worldwide

The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the longstanding abortion ruling will have a chilling effect on reproductive healthcare provision in low income and middle income countries.

BMJ 2022; 378
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1844 (Published 11 August 2022)
Sally Howard, freelance journalist1,  Geetanjali Krishna, freelance journalist

In 2018 a reproductive health organisation in Kenya found that anti-abortion advocates had put the address of its reproductive rights helpline on social media. “It was a veiled threat,” its programme manager, Mina Mwangi, tells The BMJ. “They wanted us to know that they knew how to get us.”

On 24 June 2022 the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected women’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.1 Sexual and reproductive health rights organisations across the world, including Mwangi’s, feared the effects of the overturning in terms of funding and potential attacks. “We are heightening our security because of how emboldened the opposition are,” Mwangi says, adding that she dreads a potential withdrawal of funds from US non-governmental organisations: her organisation receives over 50% of its funding from US donors.

Continued: https://www.bmj.com/content/378/bmj.o1844


Volunteer networks in Mexico aid at-home abortions without involving doctors or clinics. They’re coming to Texas.

Before abortion was legal in parts of Mexico, an extensive “accompaniment” system grew to help women safely terminate pregnancies on their own. Its organizers are now moving abortion-inducing medication across the border and helping replicate the system in the United States.

BY ALEXA URA AND GRETA DÍAZ GONZÁLEZ VÁZQUEZ
AUG. 4, 2022

MONTERREY, Mexico — Hi, I’m four weeks pregnant. Eight weeks. Six weeks.

The stream of pings and messages through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp reach Sandra Cardona Alanís at her home in this mountainous region of northern Mexico. She is an acompañante and a founder of Necesito Abortar México, a volunteer network that has helped thousands of people across Mexico access abortion, usually at home, by providing medication and support.

Continued: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/08/04/texas-abortion-mexico-volunteer-networks/


Let’s Talk About Misoprostol—the Original Abortion Pill

7/28/2022
by CAITLIN GERDTS, RUVANI JAYAWEERA and CARRIE N. BAKER
The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has paved the way for more than half of U.S. states to outlaw abortion. As we look to the future of abortion in the U.S., we can learn from the experiences of people in countries with restrictive abortion laws who have managed to find safe, effective ways to have abortions by using the original abortion pill: misoprostol.

In the 1980s, Brazilians discovered that an ulcer medication, misoprostol, could induce a miscarriage by causing contractions of the uterus to expel a pregnancy. Across Latin America, women and other people who can become pregnant began to use misoprostol to manage their own abortions. Infection, hemorrhaging and death from unsafe abortion declined precipitously.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2022/07/28/misoprostol-abortion-pill/