On International Safe Abortion Day, women demand access to abortion through strong public health systems

On September 28, health and women’s rights activists are mobilizing to demand universal access to safe abortion and an end to the persecution of reproductive justice advocates

September 28, 2023
by Peoples Health Dispatch

On September 28, health and women’s rights activists worldwide commemorate International Safe Abortion Day, warning against the persisting disparities in access to sexual and reproductive health services in different countries. Numerous international treaties and declarations, such as the 1993 Vienna Declaration, advocate for the universal guarantee of access to safe abortion, and international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) actively promote this cause, yet countless women continue to face barriers when seeking this essential health care service.

As part of a global call to action, this year, activists are rallying for the universal decriminalization of abortion, improved access to high-quality post-abortion care, the inclusion of medical abortion pills on national essential medicines lists, and an end to the persecution of reproductive justice advocates, among other objectives.

Continued: https://peoplesdispatch.org/2023/09/28/on-international-safe-abortion-day-women-demand-access-to-abortion-through-strong-public-health-systems/

Widening access to quality abortion care from the grassroots up

Testimonies of how access to quality abortion make a difference in the lives of women and girls

28 September 2023
World Health Organization

This year, International Safe Abortion Day profiles the unstoppable movement that is shaped by the diverse sexual and reproductive health community around the world, dedicated to protecting and promoting access to abortion care that is safe, affordable, timely and dignified.

In a series of captivating stories, the World Health Organization together with  IBP Network highlights some important key players in this abortion care movement: local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs). In many parts of the world, these organizations are successfully translating WHO’s research and evidence-based recommendations into concrete actions that support women and girls’ agency and right to health.   

Continued: https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/widening-access-to-quality-abortion-care-from-the-grassroots-up

Liberia’s New Health Law Among Most Liberal in Africa for Abortion

--- But faces hurdle in Senate

Sep 1, 2023

When Teta graduated from high school in 2015, she had big plans: attend college and become a medical doctor. But when the then-17-year-old discovered she was pregnant, that bright future was cast into doubt.

The father of the unborn child, her boyfriend of four years, denied the baby was his. Afraid of the shame and disgrace that would come with being an unwed teenage mother, Teta sought an abortion.

“I was scared and confused,” said Teta. “I had no plans of becoming a mother at age seventeen, my family and everybody looked up to me.”

Continued: https://www.liberianobserver.com/liberia-liberias-new-health-law-among-most-liberal-africa-abortion

New mobile phone app helps healthcare workers provide comprehensive abortion care

7 August 2023
World Health Organization

Healthcare workers have the right to access the most up-to-date evidence-based information, to help them provide comprehensive abortion care. In recognition of this, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction (HRP) launched a new “digital decision support tool” or app, available on  Apple and Google Play, to support caregivers in the process of decision-making, and using the WHO Abortion care guideline, to provide comprehensive abortion care.

This app takes the individual characteristics of patients and generates patient-specific assessments or recommendations, which can then be given to healthcare providers to consider. The tool guides the healthcare worker through assessing abortion-seekers for possible risks, and also gives them checklists and further context to help them in managing cases. It helps to minimize possible mistakes in abortion provision, and even schedules individualized post-abortion follow-ups and referrals.

Continued; https://www.who.int/news/item/07-08-2023-new-mobile-phone-app-helps-healthcare-workers-provide-comprehensive-abortion-care

Delhi-based abortion pill manufacturer makes its way around the globe despite failing in quality test

Nonprofit DKT International distributes medicines made in India to women around the world. Some of those drugs are now finding their way into the US through unauthorized online channels.

03 Aug 2023
Edited By Mansi Jaswal

Medication abortions are one of the preferred methods for ending pregnancy around the world in contrast to surgical, according to the World Health Organization. Over the past 30 years, more than 60 countries have liberalised their abortion laws and India is among them. All women, including those not married, could get an abortion for up to 24 weeks in India.

Debates around abortion rights have become more prominent nowadays but the medications and how safe they are, have taken a back seat.

Continued: https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/delhibased-abortion-pill-manufacturer-synokem-sells-medicine-to-dkt-international-gates-foundation-11691031202113.html

Bridging The Digital Gender Divide For SRHR In Africa

July 17, 2023
Divya Mathew, Policy and Advocacy Director, Women Deliver and Dona Anyona, Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager, Amref Health Africa

Women and girls must be given priority in designing, developing and applying digital solutions, to bring about sustainable and effective gender-transformative solutions in health.

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is an essential human right and development issue that has a direct impact on the lives and well-being of women and girls across the world. This right is enshrined in various international and regional human rights instruments, including national laws that require innovation and collective action to empower women and girls. Now, more than ever, it is important that the sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and girls are protected and that they have continued access to high quality and affordable healthcare.

Continued: https://www.forbesafrica.com/brand-voice/2023/07/17/bridging-the-digital-gender-divide-for-srhr-in-africa/

USA – People are using abortion medication later in their pregnancies. Here’s what that means.

The regimen is common and considered safe after 10 weeks, but the delays are cause for concern.

By Anna North 
Jun 18, 2023

A patient takes one medication, mifepristone, which stops the pregnancy from developing, followed one to two days later by another medication, misoprostol, which induces contractions that empty the uterus. The regimen, approved for abortions in the US since 2000, is effective and very safe, according to physicians and researchers, with a low incidence of serious side effects, and it’s the most common method of abortion in the US. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the first 70 days, or 10 weeks, of pregnancy, though the World Health Organization recommends medication abortion for up to 12 weeks.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, however, nothing about abortion is simple anymore. With near-total abortion bans in place in more than a dozen states and gestational limits in several others, the procedure is growing harder to access by the day. Meanwhile, a federal court case is casting further doubt on the future of mifepristone’s availability in the US.

Continued: https://www.vox.com/23755658/abortion-pill-second-trimester-mifepristone-misoprostol

New clinical handbook launched to support quality abortion care

World Health Organization
12 June 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) today released a new handbook for health workers to help them deliver quality abortion services for women and girls. The publication provides detailed clinical advice to support implementation of WHO’s consolidated guidance on abortion care, published in 2022.

Clinical services relating to abortion include not only the procedure itself, but also the provision of information and counselling, pain management and post-abortion care, including contraception. In line with WHO’s updated recommendations, the Clinical practice handbook for quality abortion care additionally provides expanded guidance on how health workers can support self-management approaches, and telemedicine, where this is available.

Continued: https://www.who.int/news/item/12-06-2023-new-clinical-handbook-launched-to-support-quality-abortion-care

Mifepristone Is Under Legal Threat. The Other Abortion Pill Could Be Next

APRIL 25, 2023

The abortion pill mifepristone has been on uncertain legal ground ever since a Texas judge ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval more than two decades ago should be suspended. After the Department of Justice appealed the decision and requested that the Supreme Court step in, the high court decided that mifepristone should remain available while courts continue to decide its legal fate in a potentially lengthy appeals process.

With one abortion pill in legal limbo, experts are now worried about possible threats to the other one: misoprostol. The drug is FDA approved to treat ulcers and, when used with mifepristone, to induce abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. Taking the pills together is more effective and linked to fewer side effects than using misoprostol alone. In many parts of the world, however, doctors use misoprostol alone for abortions. Health-care providers can still use misoprostol on its own for abortions or to manage miscarriages in what’s called “off-label” use, a common practice that allows them to prescribe any approved drug for purposes other than those for which they are indicated.

Continued: https://time.com/6274075/abortion-pill-misoprostol-legal-threat/

Safe havens? As some nations restrict access, a look at Europe’s abortion limits

Joanna YORK

As US states and nations such as Poland move towards restricting access to abortions, parts of Europe are seen as something of a safe haven for those looking to terminate pregnancies. However, a look at legislation across the continent shows vast discrepancies and how – even if the procedure is often legal – access to abortion is restricted by hurdles ranging from mandatory counselling to a lack of doctors willing to perform the procedure.

More than 95% of women in Europe live in countries that allow some access to abortion. Some 39 European countries have legalised abortion on request, albeit with some restrictions. Six countries have strict limits in place although only three (Andorra, Malta and San Marino) do not allow abortion at all.

Continued: https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20230419-safe-havens-as-some-nations-restrict-access-a-look-at-europe-s-limits-on-abortion